The infinite well of Self-Esteem

Me and my therapist spoke in no small terms about ‘innate value’ and ‘inner dignity’. We talked about the value of self-love, how to cultivate it, how it was prerequisite for the love of another. We assumed that it was something already there, an axiom of the soul.

But I was never fully convinced that there was a source of worth inherently in us. If there was, how could my adult life be plagued with collapses of self-value? I do not believe that with enough ‘practice’ we could ‘self-love’ ourselves back into a place of worth. Nor do I believe it to be true that we need to love ourselves before we can be loved by another.

What others might call ‘inherent value’ I see in a much more nihilistic light, namely normative (or society-given) value. Nature has no inherent value but for the survival of species; cooperating or competing for life. We are no different to any other species, we are the children of nature.

If I had a font of hidden energy and self-value, why is it absent after a lifetime of searching? Perhaps my therapist was just trying to be nice!

A cursory observation of society will demonstrate that people seek to be valued by others. This may be through their position in society – how many people do you see taking pride in their work or striving to get ‘to the top’?

It may be through belonging to a community or ritual place of worship – how many towns do you know of without a church?

It may be in the form of finding a loving partner – how many people do you know who take pride in their relationships? I saw at least five couples publicly demonstrate their affections for each other on my walk through town yesterday.

It shows that we are indeed empty on the inside and in constant need of others; that it is not enough to be with ourselves. Indeed, it is precisely this need for others that drives us forward and allows society to happen. Our emptiness is our driving force and a vital part of who we are.

Despite this gaping void of emptiness and valuelessness within, there is a silver lining.

Every cloud… –

I believe it to be true that low self-esteem can create a downward spiral. The less you value yourself, the less others will value you. This prevents you from turning the tide and rising into a better place. Charity and pity does not feed esteem, nor will people lying to make you feel better. As we are dependent on those around us for esteem, we always have to factor others into our ‘equation of esteem’. This means there can be obstacles to gaining esteem –  coercive group-think and conformity, the presence of ‘alpha males’ who feed off others, prejudice against race / class / gender / and so on, the fear of crowds and groups, to name but a few. When you are low on esteem, these challenges feel insurmountable.

Yet there is nothing that can stop you developing a creative talent. On the way to work, during a lunch break, when you wake up in the middle of  the night – there is always time to develop a skill. No one can give you this talent and no one can anyone take it away. Some people might be privileged by having an earlier start but nothing can stop you from beginning your journey whenever you want.

For myself this saving grace was performance. I don’t need people to believe in me anymore to be a good performer. I don’t need people to tell me I am a skilled musician or actor. It does help to be supported, but I can get by in the hardest environment and know that I can stick it out. The development of performing talents has reached critical mass – there is no turning it back now.

This is what the article title means by an infinite well of self-esteem. It might not always feel right to perform, but when the opportunity and the will align, it is up to one person and one person alone to succeed. Myself.

This does not mean that becoming a craft should be idealized. I do believe that we need to be loved, cared for, checked-in with others, to belong, in order to be fully healthy. A course of CBT or psychotherapy solely working on self-esteem will probably be necessary to make any major gains.

However the infinite well is a factor that can always get you out of the downward spiral.

I have low self-esteem. I do not want to be around other people, so my self-esteem gets even lower. The lower it gets, the less chance anyone is going to want to be around me, so I become more isolated. The more isolated I become, the more I am depressed and therefore anxious. The anxiety prevents me from trying out new situations or talking to new people. It prevents me from taking even the smallest step forward. The lack of inner-value means that no one wants take me on, women are repulsed by the sight of weakness and neediness. Relationships are destroyed by my imbalance and vulnerability. Therefore there is never anyone there to offer a hand up and help me onto my feet.

The key to turning things around is precisely the isolation. Whilst it is not a good thing, it does allow space to develop oneself. It might be boring, emotionally harmful in the long run, repetitive, tedious – but it won’t be forever. If you can train yourself whilst in that place, even just a little bit every day, you can reach a stage where you have a powerful foundation of self-confidence and self-belief. And whats more it will be grounded in empiricism, not the platitudes of a therapist!

There is so much that can be done alone. Playing and composing music, learning how to code websites, creative writing, gardening, growing, cooking, video-blogging.

Skills that can be brought into a social context, such as playing an instrument or community cooking, are especially of value here. They enable someone with low self-esteem to have an ace up their sleeve in competitive social situations or in the predatory capitalist workplace.

Final Mentorly Wisdom –

No one can take away your creative talent, but then no one can give it to you. It is something that must be earned. It requires immense focus and patience. This is precisely what makes it worthwhile, it is truly yours. In the absence of a saviour-figure who will likely never come to rescue you, in the absence of the one-true-love who only exists in faerie tales, creative mastery is the most guaranteed way to turn the tables on low self-worth.

It is not the whole picture, because a person needs to be loved and to belong. But it is a start.

Low Self-Esteem

How much depression and anxiety comes back to low self-esteem?

A vision of the self as being a totality of worthless components.

Reaching back into personal history it is not hard to pinpoint pivotal moments that fed in to this condition.

But awareness does not seem to alter anything. Do we need other people to confirm the truth of ourselves?

The causes –

Rejection has been a constant theme of this blog – from work, from love & relationships, from social groups, from friendships, from all smanner of spaces. These doors seem closed and barred, they seldom ever register as possibilities.

Rejection does not necessarily cause low self-esteem. But what rejection can do is feed into narratives of broken esteem, confirming core-beliefs of dejection and sadness.

Whether it is one rejection or a thousand, does it make a difference? Rejection (real or perceived) sets a spark which travels down into the depths of the soul and ignites trapped feelings, negative self-views, internalized abuse and so on.

Dealing with these fundamental core inadequacies seems like the primary way forward; it is not the specific instances of failure or rejection that caused fundamental self-esteem problems, but the self-esteem problems that magnify those feelings. Or worse, the low self-esteem that seeks to confirm itself, perceiving failure and being overly harsh on the self to create a downward spiral.

Perspective –

Is a counter-point it should be noted that exile, rejection and failure are always hard. The Pythagorean cults of ancient Greece were destroyed by vengeful people who were once cast out. Exile and isolation is painful for humanity. Under no circumstances is an overly competitive framework where we must fight with each other ever going to have a happy ending for the majority of people.

It should be noted that low self-esteem is not just a problem in an individual. It is endemic to a society which exalts some people and puts other down. Is this simply the dark side of our social species?

 

Sexually In/Active

There seems to be a power that people gain when they are sexually active. What is it?

A unique brand of social approval and protection. A sense of achieved liberty in, what is supposedly, a liberated society.

Seemingly, ‘sexual energy’ meaningfully expressed can increase the lives of those involved. And it is, in platitudes at least, something everyone can find if they look hard enough.

The trouble is, people who are given sexual power and attention seldom recognize their privileges. What cannot be universalized, is universalized. Desirability is as tied in to class, status, economics, race, and so forth, as any other privilege or oppression.

What if you can only be inactive? Attractiveness is not equal, nor is confidence or mental well being; essential to having a sexuality.

The energy still exists, even in frustration. Yet energy must have some expression. Could it be that frustration is a font of energy which can be channeled anywhere, a constant motive to forward motion? This may be the saving grace of a lonely savant.

To be inactive in our ‘liberated’ society is seen as repression or a poorly made choice. But some people do not have a choice.

The need to be constantly active, or perceived as successful, is itself an oppression.

Why can’t consensual sexuality between adults be treated as value-neutral, rather than an ideal propped over and above our lives?

To cast off chains of actual repression is essential, but to replace it with competition and status anxiety is throwing out the bathwater, the baby and the bath.

Completing the Circle

Why did I keep on dreaming of a childhood home, always at night, garden overgrown like a wild jungle. Why did I keep on dreaming of the past?

It was not the past. It was the future.

The circle must be completed and every point along its line must be passed through. As sentient beings move in circles, the past is to be lived and relived, to become the future again, then the past again.

Getting stuck is extremely easy – life is hard in this age, time for reflection is scarce. Discovering the true self is not encouraged – such empowered people do not follow orders or build craven systems, so we are separated from ourselves. And even if we were encouraged to find our true selves, the journey would be a terrifying one many would not want to make.

Depression, feeling lost, isolated, purposeless, insomniac and anxious – all this comes from stopping at a point, a failure to complete the circle. No wonder it never goes away if you never try to move on! Until movement returns, the soul is truncated, growth is violently retarded, the lesson is not learned.

The soul will always rebel, it cannot be silenced for long.

You may love where you are today and love who are with today. But this may not hold true in a year, or two, or ten. Places you thought horrible may again become sanctuaries, and safe havens may become pits of boredom. People you thought safe may become dangerous, people you thought you hated may bring tears to your eyes when they pass away. Emotions that you avoided may become more relevant than you thought; the darkness you feared a guide back to the path you must return to. Things change and shift because this is the nature of life itself. There is no solid ground to stand on forever.

The circle must be completed.

Of course we cannot see into the future, nor predict what it will bring! Life is a labyrinth which must be explored and traversed, not a puzzle to be pieced together by a mind from without.

I know where my soul is calling me – back to the source.

But why would a traumatized soul want to return? Because through adult eyes it can see anew, re-evaluate events, cast off chains of dread and haunting shadows, allow healing forces to enter the soul. With adult strength it can endure past endurance, face demons and scatter them before it. Prepare itself for the next challenge – for the quest is never complete and a strictly happy ending is never achieved. But at least there is always movement and change, as the seasons do change.

There is no use lamenting, where you are is where you are. Sometimes it is necessary to go on detours, to spend years in one place, to suffer for some greater goal, or to run off and go crazy. All that matters is that the circle is completed. Forgiving ourselves for not always being perfect or doing what is best for us is essential – we are finite and mortal modes of nature, rather than the little gods we are expected to be.

My rational mind could not make sense of that obsession with the past. Why was it always night time? Why was the garden always overgrown? The subconscious (where the truth of your self and its relation with the world truly lies) knew long before the surface-mind which direction it had to go. Such dreams seemed irrelevant or historical only because the part of the mind above water, above the mist and shadows, was living only its present and not its place in the whole. It was afraid even, of that whole. And maybe rightly so, because at one point it had to be. But where will it lead now?

All you have to do is complete the circle and you can find out.

 

 

A toast to perfect health

Entropic machines which build and fall apart
Multi-layered trauma catchers which never let go
Wounded angels torn apart by nature
(Who still swear fealty like loyal children)
Moss clinging to life upon a window sill
Trees reaching blindly up to the sun
Fucked-up seasons, spiked circles
Running roughshod over the universe
Sacks of broken nerves pulsating
Ghosts afraid of their own reflection
Stark poets inebriated by their own hubris
Futile voyagers on the hopeless rock
Misunderstanding their own dreams
(If they dream at all)
The saddest joke evolution ever played
The souls even Christ gave up on.

Here is a toast to perfect health.

 

I am waiting for you

I am waiting for you at the roots of a black mountain

At the axis of eternity where no falling stones may strike us.

I am waiting to hear of your tales in that voice:

Read me the letters sent by desperate princes from far places

Tell me where you wiped daemonic blood from you sword

And say if you found love so I can know if it is real.

Regail with battles won and lament the times you were routed

Tell of the spells you have seen cast from wizened claws

The beasts whose breath has panted on your neck

The artefacts which pulsed with power in cavernous shrines

The thousand-temple processions and the songs they sung.

Expound wild theories of the cosmos, or just speak in axioms

Say what we should do, counsel where humanity should go

Deplore idealism as you do, balance the scales as you can

Remind me of why I am alive, why we are alive.

 

I am waiting as I have been long waiting, and I will wait more

Yet I have done nothing, nothing but waiting and waiting.

I have created nothing with these fingers but brittle shapes

Sired no children in these lands and planted no great trees

I have just watched the hands of a clock pass, hidden from myself,

Seen decay turn to death, lost all purpose in a moment

Given up and given up and given up until my hands became empty

Of all but callouses and scars.

 

For as long as I remember things felt as if  they were slipping away,

At best and at worst things were unreal, illusive deception.

So know this, whilst I waited long, I know nothing, fathom nothing,

I have nothing to say, I can only hear.

I have achieved nothing and built nothing

Raised nothing and mustered nothing

As ephemeral as a pass of the sun or a moment of inspiration

But inspired no one!

You will have nothing to learn, except perhaps how a life can flash by

How a phoenix can fall back into the embers

Or a sycamore seed can miss the soil.

 

I am waiting here, in the node of oblivion, at dark gates

And I will wait til you come here to spar with me again

Lips crooked, swords drawn.

The world is in pain, so we are in pain

The first time the Great Anxiety hit I thought I was done for. The second time, I opened myself up to it and let myself listen.

Why are you here? Where do you want me to go? What do you want me to do?

We need, in the schema or narrative of our life, the illusion of control. We need to feel like there is somewhere to go, something to achieve, something to move into, something to resolve. I question, with the power of emotion and the nature of life, how true that control is.

Be healthy, be well, look after yourself – if only these things were ‘internals’ and not ‘externals’! The body gets ill, nights are sleepless, seemingly ‘random’ emotions spring upon us.

The fixation on yoga and mindfulness and healthy eating (and other such things) is a reflex which is misfiring. You can try to be healthy, but I doubt you cannot succeed. These disciplines are useful for taking the edge off life, but to seek to evade anxiety is to eventually be run down and caught by it.

I have strapped anxiety to my back and made it into a pair of dark wings!

The world is in pain, so we are in pain. There is no hiding from that fact and no resolution within just yourself. What I am, what we all are, is an ego running round and round the grooves of a vinyl record. We want the song to play forever, but it cannot. Eventually, even the best kept record will decay, a stray hand will knock the needle, the electricity will cut out. Chaos will ensue – and from chaos we will be forced to realize again that we must make a mammoth effort to heal the world-pain.

Not that even this will succeed, for the nature of life is pain and struggle. Even with all the advance of technology and civilization, we are still in pain. As of writing this, thousand of brave and colourful activists are blocking the streets of London to bring climate catastrophe and ecological collapse to the fore. They are right in doing so. But all we can do is unmake the damage caused by our ignorance – there is no pristine nature to return to, and even with biodiversity and the climate future assured we would only be taking the edge off reality.

For the very act of trying to fortify ourselves, like the very act of trying to attain perfect health, is what makes us less secure and doomed to failure respectively. The more we want a stable groove the greater the shock when chaos strikes. For the nature of the world contains sparks of chaos, chance and misfortune! Even though I think life is worth living and things will generally be manageable and worth it, chaos will strike. If you try to negate chaos and the flowing forms of the world then you will always be anxious. The perfect-health people will someday decay and die, as will we all.

We can accept that capitalism is trashing the world and has to be stopped. But we should not imagine a utopia to follow it. This is the only way to avert disappointment.

For now, the supreme pain and anxiety inside of me is here and I will let it be. My own life could be good or ill, it would not make a difference. I am not just ‘my own life’, I am the world. The deep emotions of hurt are not random, they are the background noise of reality as a living being itself.

There is no escape. Those who seem like they have escaped it with their capitalist masks will someday be injured at work, or suffer for their happy pills, or just have a good old epiphany of the doomed nature of the isolated ego. Then it will all catch up with them and hit like a tidal wave. No one is beyond it, everyone has whiskers and deeper senses, not just the ‘enlightened’

At least when we are aware of the struggle and suffering, it can be vented off at a more manageable way.

Of course I want good feelings! Love and peace and order for all. These things are as passing as the bad things. Don’t hold on too tightly and don’t try to predict what lies ahead. We also have a spark of chaos in us as the universe does and to deny that spark is to invite great misery indeed.

I believe that the crisis we are in now is a result of civilization trying to entrench itself too deeply, conquering nature so as to conquer chaos. We will all be annihilated if we keep going this way.

 

States of Being

Premise: We all perceive the same world, yet do not come to the same conclusions.

States of being can answer the question as to why some people care about the world and others do not. The fundamental anxiety which drives us to change, the evolution through crisis, is not felt equally in all people. Not even within oneself is anxiety at a constant.

For instance, think of noise pollution. A person does not have a set limit of what they can take before anxiety kicks in. At present I am extremely sensitive to noise. A man shouting in the night will make my fight or flight systems activate. At its worst extremes, mice scratching in the skirting board would have me woken up in a cold sweat! How much sound effects me is not just a matter of how loud or piercing it is, but what my current state is; how well that state can cope with the world.

It is entirely subjective how much we can take. Certain things can be done to help deal with perceived threats – mindfulness can slow down your system and lower anxiety, as can medication or natural remedies. But what can change the fact that your state of being is just deeply sensitive? What can alter you from a state of constantly feeling hurt and triggered, reliving trauma again and again, to a more stoic state where you can just survive the world? Tomorrow it might just happen. In a few hours energy might return. We can take steps towards these things, but I believe there will always be some element of mystery to the complex equation of these states.

It seems like some people are more sensitive than others. There are some, perhaps who do not feel much anxiety, who do not seem to mind too much that our species could annihilate itself. Is it because they are cut off from their own repressed emotions, and survive through ignorant numbness? Do they simply direct their negative emotions outwards onto others and thus escape extremes of their own suffering? Is their morality and core beliefs simply far lower in ambition and thus much less caring?

At the core of our characters we all have our own life-myth or narrative. Could it be that Janet X knows things are bad at the back of her mind, but the immediate life-myth of working in the system gives her the routine-strength needed to endure? I think the answer to all the last four questions is ‘yes’.

The drug of work and ignorance keeps the state of being relatively stable, relatively enduring. It is an unsatisfying, but certain, way to live.

I think that because my routine has fallen apart there is no structure to my amorphous state, so sensitivity is increased as a result. And with increased sensitivity comes increased anxiety and increased anxiety means insomnia, vulnerability, tiredness and so forth. My state of being is partially a result of this choice to engage with the darker aspects of the world. But by fully perceiving problems in the world and in the self, the ability to challenge them or triumph against them diminishes.

Perhaps it is true that the only way we can win against the destructive giant on the horizon is to keep our head behind our shield as we approach him, to sometimes ally with his slave-legions and sometimes to fight them, to cross dangerous bridges and make dark pacts with fell powers to reach our noble ends.

I am standing atop a mountain with a clear view out to the monster which destroys all that is good. I feel my feet on the stone and know of the deep roots of that mountain, all the pain and sadness that is within it, and I give those feelings expression. It is a dual-doom. No wonder my state of being is so shaken and the task seems so monumental.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I feel we need to put our head above the clouds and our feet need to become roots which delve into the earth. If we had never dared this, how would we know there is a problem to deal with in the first place? This vulnerable, sensitive state of being is the reason why I am able to know what is wrong in the first place; to truly care for myself and others. It costs the soul much energy to go to that dark place, but it also frees up trapped energy.

This anxiety is an adaptive tool of evolution, it alone is what will pull us through. Better to suffer it with the promise of transformation than to live in ignorance and folly.

The dark guide I call anxiety

Believe me anxiety, I know things are fucked up!

I don’t need you flaring up and giving me nights punctuated by restless hours, shakes and thrashing. You will anyway, its your function to always be on, but sometimes it is hammering home a point already made.

Never mind.

Anxiety will drive me forward and forward. Have you ever thought what it would mean to turn off anxiety? For me it would be to die.

My anxiety is triggered by every act of disrespect I feel. To turn it off is to stop desiring respect for myself. My anxiety is aware, at background level, that I do not own a safe place of my own; that there isn’t really one out there in the capitalist world. To turn that anxiety off would be to also turn off the values that desire safety and dignity.

Anxiety can make you appear a wreck – colour drained from the face, black-rimed weary eyes signalling nights of turmoil. But without anxiety, herald of deep dignity, we are dead anyway. I do not speak of the wrong kind of anxiety – neurotic desire for perfection, misunderstanding of human nature, denial of entropy in our bodies. I speak here of anxiety the dark guide, the eternal mentor that pushes us into better places and cracks the whip when we ‘underachieve’; the thing that makes us struggle endlessly even if it hurts us so, the thing that detects the foe in the powers that wish to drain us, the thing that never lets complacency rear its pink snout without a fight! Complacency is death!

I have spent two years doing – by most people’s standards – very little indeed. I can easily forgive myself these necessary weaknesses, feel no guilt for being inactive in the leviathan-machine. A lot of that was necessary healing time, overcoming panic disorders, a lot of working-shit-out time, a lot of incredibly fruitful endeavour. Now it is like lying in bed after the worst of the illness has passed. If I stayed here good things will still sometimes happen, life would have rays of authenticity and excitement, but less often than I would desire. This isn’t purpose, these attachments aren’t anything but insecure. Caution is wise, over caution is not.

I know that I am bending over backwards to accommodate a partially-inauthentic life. Meditation, anxiolytic oils and valerian tincture for sleep – this is like suppressing the real drive to evolve to the next stage. The things we use to cope in the wrong circumstances can keep us in the wrong circumstances if we do not see them for what they are. In the long-term, we are better off falling and trusting the world to catch us. Then we can see what we are truly made of.

For how much energy we have to cope in the world depends on what we wish to achieve. If you hide in a box room with your gran, your energy will be lessened by your situation. If you stay in the placid lake forever, your body will never need to fill you with energy, your heroism and courage will never grow. Malicious forces will grow everywhere else and eventually come for you. Safety is not the safe option – it is a slow death.

This is why therapy also had to cease. It was like an addiction, a place to be psychically cuddled by a benevolent god. It made me much more powerful, digging up vulnerabilities and learning who I was at the deepest level. But therapy was keeping me here, tied to a plane of existence I know can no longer sustain itself or me. Now I am without it I am tested, and it is always there to return to if the need calls it.

The time is coming when I must stop trying to avoid anxiety and let it do its thing. To get me into the next phase. It succeeded last time, in a jagged and messy way, a terrifying way for someone who did not know themselves. This time I predict a much smoother and mutual process. It won’t be taking me to some magic, safe-place.

I do not want to retreat the peaceful hills or some far-flung shire and live out days in tranquillity. It is not only a denial of instincts – the cut and thrust of life, competition and challenge, striving and defiance. There is simply no real safety there, even if it was an option. Such a life of retreat is a negation of our responsibility to the world and other tribes of humanity. It is like retreating to the centre of an ever-shrinking island; when it comes to your time to be swallowed by the waves there will be no one left to save you but individualistic, New Age hermits whose spiritual bypassing let the merchants of disaster destroy civilization. They will keep retreating until there is nothing left to retreat into, a final act of pay-what-you-can yoga on the final mountain of submerged earth before oblivion finds them!

No – I know security comes by stepping into the heart of power, the eye of the storm, drawing the spiritual sword on the front lines. When you know you are strong enough and ready, taking action. Going forward, daring to step into the shadow of a giant and challenging him, this is how you befriend your anxiety and ensure the safety of yourself and your tribe. This means a life of near-constant struggle, conflict, tension, wounding. This means that peace is a chapter which will always be followed by some kind of conflict. Let it be – I know that I could not have it any other way and would rather die than be domesticated and watch the world and its tribes I admire be slowly poisoned to death, scorched or drowned.

We think and feel so our energy is tried, and we can feel weak. But it is precisely because we think and feel that we have something to fight for, and our morale cannot be broken for long. We are more powerful than we think, even with this anxiety, or rather, precisely because of it. It is the herald of our dignity and everything we want to see in the world.

When we eventually win the fight to evolve from our disastrous capitalist path, anxiety will have done much to save us. But it will not turn off; we will find no permanent rest. New challenges we cannot see from our current perspective will emerge, and anxiety again shall be at our side to protect us.

Low-energy being, the Parasite, inner conflict

I have been seeing myself as a ‘low-energy’ being these last few years. I am surrounded by active creatures who can rush from place to place, miss a night’s sleep and not be wiped out for the next week, fill their schedules and carry out routines.

Ah, these are the normal-energy people to whom I am in comparison low-energy?

I don’t normally have ‘epiphanies’, but very recently I realized that perhaps my low-energy is not due to a lack of capacity, but that my capacity is constantly drained. As such, taking on new things or doing normal-people things is just too much strain and the system shuts down. The psyche is processing constantly and all the while made anxious by a hostile society, further hampering its processing. Perhaps a degree of ignorance is required to get through it, a mask I simply cannot don so ‘late in the game’ of life. So it must be lived with and dealt with.

This force I have come to personify as the Parasite. There is something which constantly sucks and feeds away at the soul, a force which holds back and prevents rapid growth or moving forward.

But this raises the further question of what is this Parasite and where did it come from? There are definitely social forces at work, values which exalt some people and not others. The effect is something like a parasite – all other things being equal, for a person of my complexion to take a step forward will be harder than for something with a more ‘favourable’ complexion. Likewise people raised with more favourable entitlements, opportunities and expectations will be much more prepared for ‘success’ when they don their smart shoes and step into the soulless world of professionalism.

But I would not stop at prejudice, class and tribalism. That would be to mask another thing the Parasite feeds on – inner-conflict. I believe this inner-conflict to be the loss of much psychic energy, with little to no gain. For years the demands to be loving and forgiving toward abusive people was a great contradiction and waste of energy. A duty fostered by deeply instilled guilt, but also genuine need for suffering people. My empathy and magnanimity is what keeps Parasite alive, I cannot tear it away from me nor tear myself away from it. This pity is a strong source of the conflict. The human psyche is a mystery even to those of us who wish to know it, and the confrontations demanded by the deepest wounded child are the hardest challenge imaginable. But this seemingly unresolvable problem is the cause of endless, enervating conflict.

Where does this black pain come from? Once you are ‘enlightened’ you realize that emotions are ‘psycho-logical’ and that the primal pain you have to carry is forced there from an early age. But what is behind that abuse? More abuse, stretching back into history. But how far can it stretch back and where does it ‘come from’ to begin with?

The suffering we endure and that is forced onto people, abusers and abused and all alike, is an element of nature itself. It is there and it is inevitable, waiting to be inflicted upon things that live. Just as a lie spreads half way around the world before the truth catches up with it, a being suffers a thousand wounds before it even starts to process a single one.

But some of us cause less damage than others. Some of us learn from our mistakes and place onto the scales of balance a greater degree of nurturance. I do not wish to promote a determinist message when I am somewhere between ‘fate’ and ‘freedom’.

We are not doomed to cause ‘evil’ just because it is an inevitable part of nature. To survive being subsumed by that immense force often means going against the grain – against a false family history painted by idealism, against an archaic society that is always a century or so behind, against dogmatic power and the false truths of institutions, against the small percentage of dangerous and deluded psychopaths who stain the fabric of humanity.

To be good and to do good is often an immense and unrewarded burden. But it is still worth it, for without good there would be no reason for a moral being to live in this world. And we can always choose the good, all of us, even if we feel a hateful resentment and will to destroy everything around us.

We will always be flawed and make mistakes, but what can change a man’s intention but himself?