Other people start out as housing and food source.
Then they basically provide the same thing, only with more apparent labor.
Then they're masters, sometimes kind ones, sometimes bewildering ones, sometimes cruel.
And they are also playmates. And rivals.
They're too close and need to get away.
They're too far away; please don't leave!
They teach us. They teach us some things that make sense and some things that are very, very wrong.
They hurt us.
They soothe us.
They ignore us.
Others leave. Some come back. Others never come back.
Peers, entertainment, necessary collaborators, enemies, brutalizers, allies....
What are others for?
Themselves? Sure, we believe it sometimes. We know that their interests are theirs. But sometimes it's so hard to extend to them our own desire for autonomy and we want to see them in some manipulative, Stirnerite way. They are for me and my interest.
But let's be honest. It's so hard for us to even get to a point where we can be earnestly egoist. Most of the time we don't know where they end and we begin. Most of the time we have no idea when to please others or revolt or stand alone or accept the wisdom of others. When do we accept logic or agree and when do we knuckle under?
I'd say most people don't know the difference between agreement and acquiescence. And that's a real problem.
I interact with others and the more "professional" the interaction, the better. All the rules. And if I know you very well, then good, too. I can be honest. And then between them is a vast sea of individual interactions in which I have neither title nor familiarity and I freeze. My work has made me very good at talking to anyone, so long as I do not offer too much of myself. The disintegration of my marriage has made me very, very scared, however. Every interaction brings peril if I say anything about my personal life. I don't know who to trust, I don't know what to say, how much is oversharing, how much will bring quiet resentment. In short, I've had four and a half months of education that have told me not to be so open, not to be forthcoming. I've had multiple instances where I have learned that others will use your information against you, even if you speak freely and with no distress.
So what are others for? I want to play and talk and speak boldly and be very open, very blunt, and very forgiving with others. But I am learning that I must regard every other as a potential threat. The thought sickens me, is foreign to me, but there it is. Right now I am realizing that threats come from all directions. It is a lonely thing to realize. It drives me a little mad, which is to say deeper into my mind, farther away from tangible experience. I am out of touch with my instincts to associate and trust. In my current environment, those impulses appear rather stupid.
What are others for? I don't know. I look forward to the time when I interact with new people. Now I operate in isolation. My greatest goal is to continue until the danger has passed. It feels autistic. I don't know if it's healthy or if it's necessary.
Maybe the question I really want to ask is "What am I for?" Because there are times right now I feel like an empty skin, a husk, a hull of a man.
I believe you have entered the long, dark tea-time of the soul. I hope you emerge with a robust apetite for dinner.ReplyDelete