The Carer’s Manifesto

1.  I’m a Carer

Why should anyone care nowadays, of course, is a question hardly answerable by anyone.  There is much too much to be distracted by, and why not?  Why not just allow oneself the mindless pleasure of being mindless, the comfortable comfort of being comfortable, the lazy unwinding everlasting shindig of evil television, handheld gadgets, and central air conditioning?  Why not?  We all just make a bee-line from the womb to the grave anyway (who was it…Twain?…who said life might as well be a pregnant woman squatting over an open grave, and that glimpse of light the dropping infant would get a sense of on its fall…well, that is life) so why bother with all this drudgery of learning things about political candidates, or taking sunshiny walks in historic landmarks, or vacuuming your living room?  Why, in essence, should anyone care?  Well, smarter men and women than I have tried answering that one in various ways, none of which have ever really satisfied anyone, so far be it from me to really make a serious attempt at it.  As far as I can tell, the best argument on the side of caring is simply that it is there to be done.  One can either care or not care (do or not do).  Once the essential brevity of our own individual existences has been established (once you have answered the question: do you have faith in the unseen?), there is only one decision to make during our lives: do you care, or do you not care?  I choose to care because it is the only decision that seems interesting to me, and a life of boredom seems like the only way to waste anything.  I want to be interested, hence I decide to care.  But, you may ask, why should I care whether or not you choose to care?  Because the less people that care, the less interesting existence is to those of us who do care.  Less interesting stuff is made, less interesting things are discussed, more people look at us Carers like we are pompous frauds.  (how to tell if you are a Non-Carer is discussed later in this Manifesto).  I simply wish for more people to care, to be interested, to remain engaged, for the selfish reason that it will make my life more interesting.  This little glimmer of light that we get, this brief moment of actualization, this spontaneous intelligence reaches out for us from across vast distances of chance and ridiculous chaos.  I don’t argue against using this opportunity to engage in frivolous entertainment or carnal satisfactions; really, anything at all that you could do boils down to being frivolous entertainment or carnal satisfactions.  But once you become a Carer, your interests and hobbies become automatically elevated, given more pressing meaning by the mere act of your caring, of seeing things in a larger perspective, of your desire to function as a more Advanced person.  Your desire to be interested is the only thing that I find interesting.

2.  The All-In Doctrine

There is no doubt in my mind that the only pure and true way to play baseball—even at the professional level—is for all nine fielded players to draw their positions for that day’s game out of the hat.  Every player needs to be able to be passably good at each position and prepared to play it that day.  Likewise, each player needs to bat.  That’s right.  If the concept of every team using a designated hitter is one end of baseball’s “political spectrum”, then my philosophy—what I will call the “All-In Doctrine”—is the is the other end of the spectrum (I’m sure this philosophy already exists, so please tell me if it does and if it has a name).  There are sports where both teams constantly play offense and defense (basketball, hockey, pretty much all field sports such as soccer, field hockey, etc) and then there’s American Football–a sport where offense and defense happen separately and by completely different squads of a team.  Baseball is largely unique (maybe Cricket?) in that offense and defense happen separately, but by the same fielded players.  This, to my mind, is the element of baseball that makes it truly the best sport.  (when I say “baseball”, I am also referring to “softball”, or any other form of this game, regardless of gender or age group)  All the players are supposed to be able to play all of the game, and it is, in essence, two different games.  Now the game has become so hi-tech, so specialized, that we have pitchers who can only pitch, outfielders who have no idea how to play first base.  Catchers can never run.  Middle-relievers never get a chance to bat, and closers can’t throw more than 30 pitches.  Right-fielders are signed because they can hit home runs.  Designated hitters never have to field at all.  These people aren’t playing baseball.  They’re playing a part of it.  Is this what is wrong with our country, our society, right now?  No.  You know what IS wrong with it?  Nothing.  Everyone’s just really fucking boring.

3.  The Gaping Maw

Memory is inherently sad and this is one of the basic tenets of being alive.  Remembering sad events is sad by nature and the memory of positive events creates a sadness by the virtue of the happy event being over.  This does not mean that any being with a memory must by automatic virtue be sad, but it is more like a sadness residue; memory leaves sadness on us like hard water stains on a clear drinking glass.  We don’t always see it or feel it.  It lurks.

Some memory creates a gaping maw in the fabric of the universe.  Of this I am certain.  We each have them.  A few for each of us.  Memories so laden with a dismal, hopeless sadness that, when we dare to contemplate upon them, the weight of them is so heavy it pulls through space-time like the dense remnant of a supernova star.  We are each of us blessed and cursed with these powerful moments.  Most of them come from childhood, no matter how happy your childhood was: the child’s psyche is so open to experiencing pure joy and pure sadness that we can’t help but get short glimpses of each as we grow.  As adults the memories of the pure emotions are like black holes we are fortunate to ever escape from.

In second or third grade my class was told to draw pictures of moments when we were happiest.  I drew a somewhat complicated picture of my mother gardening in the backyard while I played in a kiddie pool and our Cocker Spaniel, Cocoa, looked on.  I drew one conspicuous, large tear dropping from my eye.  I had picked up the idea, somewhere, that grown-ups sometimes cried because they were happy, although as a child I had only experienced the sad kind of crying.  I assumed my teacher would understand, since she was a grown-up, that it was a tear of happiness.

A little while later, my mother attended a parent-teacher conference, and afterward she asked me why I had drawn the tear.  My teacher had discreetly asked my mother what was going on at home that I would depict my home life in this manner.  As young as I was, I immediately grasped the colossal nature of the miscommunication and was deeply saddened  by causing my mother even one cursory moment of embarrassment or regret.  As an adult, a simple reading of this event seems too far removed to be consequential.  My mother claims to not even remember it.  But in the few moments of my life which I have allowed myself to dwell on it, the memory causes such an abyss within me that I fear I may never climb out of it.  And if you think that this event is a long time ago, that little shock-blonde Seth is not still drawing that picture right this instant, that the parent-teacher conference isn’t still as fresh in the air as the breath of a goddamned spring dandelion, then you don’t understand time or memory, or really, any damned thing at all.

4.  After the Unconditional Love for Nuclear Family, the Only Pure Love is Unrequited Romantic Obsession

There is nothing I want in the world more than you—there never has been and there never will be.  I want you more than anything you have ever wanted, multiplied times two.  There is virtue in this, more virtue than anything earned, or worked for, or denied oneself.  Even when the woman in question changes, even when your face is different, your smells brand new, your address a mystery, the play remains the same: to chase, to love, to never give up. It’s like this:  Sunday morning. I awaken fresh as a daisy.  The world lies before me, unconquered, unsullied, virgin as the Arctic zones.  I swallow a little coffee froth and taurine to drive away the last leaden fumes of inertia.  I will go directly to your home, ring the bell, and walk in.  Here I am, take me—or stab me to death.  Stab the heart, stab the brain, stab the lungs, the kidneys, the guts in general, the eyes, the ears.  If even one organ be left alive, you are doomed—doomed to be mine, forever, in this world and the next and all the worlds to come, if there be any.  I’m a desperado of love, a scalper, a slayer.  I’m insatiable.  I eat old buttons off your shirts, hairpins, your lipstick remnants from napkins, anything and everything you call yours.  Show me your father, with his kites, his race horses, his free passes for the opera: I will eat them all, swallow them alive.  Where is the chair you sit in, your favorite comb, your toothbrush, your nail file?  Trot them out so that I may devour them at one gulp.  You have a sister more beautiful than yourself, you say.  Show her to me—I want to lick the flesh from her bones.  I believe in so many things for you.  I believe.  I believe in cadmium, in chrome nickel, the oxides and the mercurochromes, in waterfowls and water cress, in epileptic seizures, in bubonic plagues, in planetary conjunctions, in chicken-tracks and stick throwing, in revolutions, in stock crashes, in wars, in earthquakes, cyclones.  I believe, I believe.  I believe because not to believe is to become as lead, to lie prone and rigid, forever inert, to waste away.  I write you mad dashed-off letters.  I write the maddest letters ever penned.  I have said to myself over and over that if a man, a sincere and desperate man like myself, loves a woman with all his heart, if he is ready to cut off his ears and mail them to her, if he will take his heart’s blood and pump it out on paper, saturate her with his need and longing, besiege her everlastingly, she cannot possibly refuse him.  The homeliest man, the weakest man, the most undeserving man must triumph if he is willing to surrender his last drop of blood.  No woman can hold out against the gift of absolute love.  Such is the purest quest of love known to all of humankind.

5.  Why it’s OK to Hate the Mainstream

There are some hipsters who hate everything that’s mainstream in our culture just because they want to appear to be counter-culture.  They don’t want to admit that anything “the masses” are enjoying could be at all worth their time or have any artistic merit.  I know that, to some people, I appear to be one such hipster.  The people that see me this way are idiots.

I quite obviously enjoy plenty of mainstream things.  I’m passionate about “LOST”, Kurt Vonnegut (hey hipsters: he’s mainstream, deal with it), I purchase every comic book film adaptation on DVD regardless of how horrible it is.  We can enjoy some of the things produced by the mainstream and still hate it.

The “mainstream” consists of product designed solely to appeal to the largest amount of people in order to make money.  There is fundamentally nothing wrong with designing product to make money.  That’s how more product gets made.  But when product is designed to fool you into thinking it’s art, and is tweaked and coddled by corporate entities until they are certain it will be liked by as many people as possible, it might still be enjoyable product, but it is just product.  It was not made by people with fires in their bellies and an intense desire to communicate their humanity to an unseen audience.  Almost every single song on the radio is an example of this.  I don’t hate it just because it’s mainstream or because everyone else likes it.  I hate it because it’s been designed to fool me into thinking it has a genuine human spark.  I don’t like huge companies thinking they can fool me.  I don’t like shitty artists thinking I’ll give them my money because twenty people more talented than them helped them make an effective product.  I will not be their chump.  I will not be their bewildered herd.

Great art does get made “in the mainstream”.  Like I said, it’s not all bad.  But if you start thinking about the things you like, I think you’ll find it’s easy to tell which ones have you fooled and which ones are genuine.  It’s OK to hate the phoney ones.  It doesn’t make you a pompous hipster.  It makes you not a stooge.  It’s the beginning of being a Carer.

6.  Sunlight

Did you know it takes sunlight 8.3 minutes to reach the Earth from the sun?  Is it just me, or does this seem longer than you expected?  It is traveling at the speed of light and still takes eight minutes to get here.  But did you know, once it is generated inside the sun’s core, it takes each individual particle of light over a hundred thousand years (100,000!) to escape from the sun’s surface?  It’s true.  And after spending a hundred thousand years to get out of the sun, some of that light travels roughly eight minutes and expires here on the surface of this planet.  Makes you think.

7.  Gliding

It is nearly impossible, of course, to enjoy life on what I would call an elemental scale; that is, enjoyed the way a human might enjoy life if it weren’t for modern technology, democracy, the Euro, and all that.  But when I hear someone say something like, “You have got to ride a motorcycle; you haven’t lived until you have!” I wonder what they think happened before 1910.  I wonder if they pity every single human being who ever lived before the invention of the internal combustion engine.  Certainly, much of our modern life and our enjoyment of it is derived from our technological advances; even my bicycle is manufactured from modern synthetic materials and shipped here from China on a terrifyingly enormous boat.  But it is important, in our quietest moments and during our sweetest triumphs, to remember we are flesh and bone crawling over the skin of this planet.  At any moment we can be swept away from all of our plastic and nylon and into our most basic animal selves: scared out of our minds of an advancing fireball, hungrily devouring the food we need for fuel, running in out of a drenching rain.  When I’m riding my bike, I often like to stand on the pedals while coasting downhill and chuckle aloud about what my ancient forebears might think, or even George Washington, about this hairless ape gliding through the world aboard such an alien artifact.

8.  What if You’re Not a Carer?

Maybe you don’t care.  I guess that’s OK.  Maybe the world to you is just a place where the streets have always been paved and been named, where the vaccines were plopped down alongside Noah’s flood, where people whose names you don’t know have always just made beautiful things you don’t understand, in countries you know nothing about.  That’s OK.  Maybe to you the world is just a place with airports and beaches, calendars and alarm clocks, and that’s all it will ever be to you.  Maybe to you the world is just a place where you’re trying to keep yourself fed, stay ahead of the curve just a little bit, like you’re always walking fast across the hot coals.  That’s OK.  You’re human, after all.  It just means you’re not a Carer.  And while it means you’ll never know much about Louis Pasteur, it also means you know next to nothing about what is buried deep inside yourself, and even less about what’s beating the heart of the person next to you.


11 Responses to “The Carer’s Manifesto”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    Well, I’m putting a pin in this. I’m about to go to sleep. I read/listened to the words but will watch the video tomorrow with a fresh mind. Feel free to text remind me if you don’t see a full comment by tomorrow evening.

    I think we can make it official to alert everyone to stop writing though. Seth did it. There’s no reason to continue this endeavor. Let’s find new ways to express ourselves.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      haha yeah, there’s a lot here. If somebody else had written it, I’m not even sure where I’d start to comment. No rush sir.

      • sethdellinger Says:

        The video is just the words over video of construction. I just wanted to present the material multiple ways.

  2. I, too, will have comments forthcoming….

    • wow i don’t know where to start either. this is great. and challenging.

      i guess first, let’s discuss things in the mainstream that you feel are designed to “fool” you….can you give an example?

      • sethdellinger Says:

        Wl, for instance, just about any top 40 band, like Nickelback. That’s why so many people hate Nickelback but they can’t really put their finger on why they hate them. Because they’re not BAD songs. But they’re obviously product, but people want them to be art. They sense that disconnect but aren’t sure what’s going on.

  3. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    I like your idea of baseball players randomly assigned a field position for the game. In your perfect world would you include the pitching position? And if not, is that hypocritical? Yes pitching is a horse of a different color that needs a different kind of training as opposed to the shortstop fielding and throwing to first, but one could make the argument that hitting is a horse of a different color too. Pitchers mostly work on pitching during practice which is part of the reason they all suck at hitting. It’s a fine art to be able to effectively pitch at the major league level. So is hitting. Do you really want David Ortiz playing Center Field for your team?! I love me the DH rule.

    I get the integrity and tradition of why people would dislike the DH rule, but like any tradition that erodes away over time it becomes a matter of practicality. The AL started the DH rule as a means of survival. They found a solution to a problem they were having. Now with the talk of instant replay in baseball it makes all the sense in the world in terms of practicality. No one wants a team to win or lose a game because an umpire, who is only human, makes a bad call.

    I didn’t mean to type so much about baseball which is not at all what you wrote about. Frankly I hate when people do that to me!

    I’ve said it before that you really seem to put words to things that seem, at least to me, unspoken. I identify with many of the examples and circumstances you wrote about but never thought to make them a thing. Sure there are some things you care about that I couldn’t give a hoot about and vice versa, but the passion and care is there. I’m sure you sometimes stop to think you might be crazy to care so much about something that most of society deems so mundane. Don’t you just want to shake the people that are just like, “Meh” to certain things. You just want to shake them and shout, “How do you not care about this?! Examples xyz why you should!”.

    Chapter 4 must enrage a lot of people. The females in your life for not being the recipients of that chapter and me for knowing I’ll never be able to write anything like that with any talent! Ladies, if Seth ever writes you or tells you something like this, please blow him. I mean really, how could you not. I don’t care if you just got out of a dental appointment or you just saw him eating a hot dog covered in onions and pickles, you blow like you’re fuckin’ Dizzy Gillespie! Too far?

    Keep up the good work. Blogland needs you.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      Now my reply to your reply will be waiting a bit…

      • sethdellinger Says:

        Oh I definitely expected someone to latch onto the baseball part. That’s a big part of why I included it. Part of the reason it’s here is to show an example of how I have an opinion on nearly everything, but the other reason is to give a point of comment. The rest of the ideas are huge, but not necessarily easy to approach.

        Yes, I think every player should be able to pitch. Now, this is a theory that I have that exists only in the theoretical realm. I in no way suggest this is how it should begin to be done. I understand the practical limitations involved here. I’m just presenting my idealized version of the sport. But I continue to and will always disagree with you about the DH. I understand what you’re point of view is, but I think shitty-hitting pitchers is an interesting part of the game. Just because a part of the game is weak or flawed doesn’t mean it has to be fixed. Baseball is an amzing game, with it’s flaws intact.

        I’ll address the rest of your comment later, I’m just freakin braindead lately!

        • sethdellinger Says:

          haha half an hour after posting this,I’m soaking in the bathtub reading this week’s Sports Illustrated (that’s right. I soak in the bathtub) and there’s an article about sports stories that sports writers need to stop writing about because it’s become useless or boring. I quote: Why the Designated Hitter Should be Dumped. Or not. As with the Democrats and the Republicans, you’re on one side or the other. No chapter on the pros and cons will change your position.

          So true. We’ll never change each other’s minds on this than we could talk a Republican into being a decent human being.

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