I remember when I would devour war movies like pringles - even fantasize about being in the shit. Sure it would be horrible, sure, sure, but what a fucking thrill! This thrill-craving extended to any kind of violence or carnage as long as I was safely away from it. There was something stylistic about the kinetic energy of steel on flesh, blood splatter, bullets, smoke, destruction of any kind, that turned my crank. The same way chemicals do today - that same stubborn obsession that laughs at reason and rationality.
I went through a paradigm shift in the last ten years - without expending any conscious effort to bring it about, or even realizing that it happened until recently. It involved an expansion of empathy, and a deepening of knowledge, about suffering, about the human condition, about the different ways people think and feel. A lot of that “knowledge” I knew before, and I had reason enough to know that suffering is a consequence of that thrilling carnage, but feeling it is another matter. This empathy was a downer quite often. It soured my enjoyment of movies and 3D shooters and everything I used to live for, because I would be forced to identify suffering that I would feel no obligation to before, when I had the ability to be distant. It took the fun out of my passions, and after a few years, it completely killed the craving for them.
Today, I heard some sad stories at my NA meeting. The woman who was jonesying to leave the hospital room where her dad was dying, so she could get out and use, so she could numb the grief for at least ten seconds, and go from there... The guy who gave up his wife and kids - I know these people. And even now, when they tell their horrible stories which I can relate to, with just a smidgen of extrapolation, I still feel the thrill of that destructive power, combustion of chemicals, flooding of neurotransmitters, stark consequences good and bad, kinetic energy!
But lately, more and more, I feel the dark and bitter tragedy of it all. The ratio changes a little more each day, on the whole. But the dynamics are so spiky and serrated and sea-sawing between insanity and sobriety. And there’s so many stumbles and step backwards for every little patch of ground gained. I can only hope that this new paradigm mirrors the last one, where I graduated from half-hearted aims at mass murder. I did say “half-hearted” mind you - whoever might take that the wrong way. But “half-hearted” is far too close for comfort, coming from a later, more-seasoned vantage. But Christ, not nearly enough, cause there's so far to go, so little peace of mind, and sometimes I splinter chips of skull into my brain trying to get past a blockage - when the whole time, the blockage is on its merry way out of my head on its own terms. That's as spiritual as I get these days.