If you can love another, you can love yourself

If you can love another, you can love yourself.

In fact I could take it one step further – the only one you can truly guarantee loves you is yourself!

But how many who seek love from another do not know how to show it to themselves?

What does self-love look like?

– Accepting your own vulnerabilities and flaws: Two very difficult things. To be vulnerable in a society that can be predatory, to be still in a sea of moving people who demonize ‘idleness’, to dare to look within and risk being called ‘childish’, these are not easy pressures to deal with. We are expected to be superhuman by others and by trying to live up to this, we fail to acknowledge our limited capacities. The unhealthy customs of an unhealthy society should not be the benchmark of sanity. Whatever the self-destructive masses say, however perfect their Instagram and Facebook selves appear, deep down we are all harbouring a vulnerable self and we are all flawed and imperfect.

– Treating yourself and acknowledging yourself: Enjoying life without guilt is key to self-love. You deserve the finer things in life – sometimes! Even with moral considerations, such as an imperative to be vegan, you can forgive yourself for not being 100% perfect. We do not live in the conditions where we can flower into fully compassionate, healthy, ethically perfect eco-friendly vegans – so why strive for the impossible? Why take all the problems of a society onto your two shoulders? Acknowledging that you deserve good things is a wholesome self love. Sometimes you can be a bit greedy, eat a whole packet of biscuits to yourself, have a lazy and listless day. This is your birthright as an imperfect, sentient being.

– Listening to your deepest wounds and allowing healing: There is a wounded part in all of us. I do not know at this stage in my life if these wounds ever heal. I can say with certainty that it is possible to get better at managing and understanding those wounds. There are better and worse responses to a flaring up of inner wounds. Being frustrated at the wounded inner-child for keeping you up all night when you have an important meeting tomorrow may seem a rational response. But in the long-term that wounded self is going to need love or it will damage your psyche, self-neglect does not produce healthy people. I have put myself to sleep with a self-directed ‘I love you, unconditionally’ after a full night of insomnia. Unconditional love is not a good thing for adults in my view, but for children it is quite essential. If you cannot love your own vulnerable inner-child, who can you love? That is where love is needed the most and you are in the ideal position to give it. Unconditionally.

– Non-comparison with imagined selves: A good friend of mine often talks about falling short of his ‘best self’. I don’t know what he is talking about, he already is his best possible self! Sometimes he stands, sometimes he falls. It is as good as we can get. I have always compared myself to ‘famous me’. Whilst this desire for recognition has some basis in reality and possibility, the idea that there will be a point where one breaks through into the world of fame and celebrity, a lofty vantage for philanthropy and fighting the system, is an imagined self of absurd proportions. If you are brave enough to be flawed yourself, that is a damn good effort.

– The nature of beings: The nature of your being is to continue existing. The will to live is something as natural as a plant reaching up to the sun. Ideas of a self-destructive nature are imposed from without, by forces which are interested in using you, exploiting you, or harming you. The very nature of yourself, what philosophers have called the ‘conatus’, is a stronger ‘idea’ than anything from without. Within that will to live is a will to love and that must necessarily be directed ‘inwards’.

And finally, very importantly, don’t worry if you can’t self-love at any given time. The world is too big for your shoulders and there are a lot of bad influences in town. Spending a night binging on Netflix or Rome: Total War is the birthright of those of us born in this era. Distraction, hobbies, being a bit too self-critical sometimes. This is all part of the sentient-human package.

If we idolize and essentialize self-love and make it something to aspire to, then paradoxically we destroy it, for we trample over the part of us that is imperfect.

Remember always to leave room enough for the fucked-up you.

 

Little Dragon’s Three Seasons

Little Dragon was born at the start of Autumn.
She believed the whole world to be golden browns and deep reds
Falling leaves and falling climes.

Then came Little Dragon’s first Winter.
She believed the whole world to be icicles and beautiful morning frost
Clear skies and chilling air.

Next came Little Dragon’s first Spring.
She believed the whole world to be lush and verdant, vivid green growths
The hatching of life and the return of the sun.

‘Now I know the nature of the world and its three seasons!’ said Little Dragon.

Momma Dragon laughed and watched without judgement as her daughter ran wild
among the world.

Summer was on its way.

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.

Dreaming – the creative source

Every night a dream can generate a world in tremendous detail.

The dream-mind can populate these worlds with characters. Some known to us, some strangers, some hybridized. It can imbue these characters with souls so that they seem to be sentient and as real as us. Even when these characters are familiar and act completely differently in the non-dreaming world, it is easy to be convinced that they have always been like this. Sometimes characters seemingly interchange – two nights ago my voyage with Rich turned into a voyage with Jack, with no obvious reason why and no clear ‘cut off’ point. He just changed at one point and I accepted this as perfectly reasonable. In fact, it wasn’t until I woke up that I realized it.

Things that happen in dreams seem real and meaningful. It as if they would have consequences for us in the future. The people in dreams have similar moral value as those without. Our dreaming selves make moral choices.

What I find most fascinating is when the dream-mind hybridizes places. It can take the quality of a place and fuse it with another, creating something entirely unique. It can take me to an eco-camp in West London and a mere road away back to the horrors of my primary school in North London. Sometimes a sense of both places can exist at once and they can be fused together. Stranger still you can visit a place familiar to you, but things are different, and it is still familiar.

A dream can be so intense that you can wake up with the feelings you felt at the end of the dream still strong in your mind. I woke at 5am this morning after dreaming of being alone in bed with a storm outside and a suspicious noise, like an intruder in the roof. For about thirty seconds I continued to feel the dream, then realized that thankfully I was in the roof and had two friends in the next rooms. So I wouldn’t have to confront the man in the roof on my own if  he did intrude or attack me. Although outside there was an actual storm.

Being asleep is clearly not just an essential time for rest. It is an intense time of creativity and processing. The dream-mind is full of symbolism which cannot be easily translated into a logical world-view. The symbology must be given great patience and explored in the language of dreams. As this requires immense patience and detail, and as my vivid dreams are so overwhelmingly common, I have done little to truly delve into what is being expressed by my Self.

And there are questions about the ‘validity’ of any discoveries. Is the subconscious some kind of oracle which knows better than us? Or even able to tap into a ‘spiritual’ place of guidance, warning and wisdom? Dreams have been prophetic – I have felt revulsion for a childhood place in my waking life but always dreamed of going there again; living there, finding safety. It hasn’t made sense why I keep going back. But now my conscious mind has shifted its attitude and I want to go back to that place. The dreams were almost like preparation for that return. Now they make perfect sense.

Mysterious or not, every night is an aesthetic journey. Sometimes filled with horror, sometimes heroism. Occasionally, though rarely, with love. The interpretation that dreams are meaningless or sheer chaos is a great silencing to this part of ourselves which can express itself in pure form with such clarity. And the interpretation that it is just wish fulfillment or repressed desire is a simplification of an incredible creative process. Dreams may involve repression and wish fulfillment, this does not reduce them down to this.

Anyone who has ever written a poem, created a new piece of music, come up with an innovative engineering solution, or used any creative faculty will know that it just happens. It will often need editing, polishing, the craftsman’s discipline. But the creation just happens. The place where the ideas emerge from, where they are fused and worked and forged, is certainly not conscious. The miracle of awakened consciousness does not reach into the miracle of subconsciousness, the swirling, bubbling forces which we do not truly have control over and yet enable us to wield such creative power.

When I write a new song, which is very often, it is not the work of a conscious mind. I theorize that it is the same faculty which generates the dream world which enables creativity in the non-dream world. Things are generated, rather than created. Processes are constantly operating beneath the surface of consciousness and when allowed the breathing space to emerge can generate wonders from the very depths of us. I find myself asking: Where did these ideas come from? I did not realize I was capable of this.

It is then a great affront to us if we consider sleeping and dreaming to be a waste of time, or just a means to re-charge our batteries. For the most hardcore citizen of capitalism, who measures worth in their ‘productivity’ and dodges sleep like the devil, caught in their Faustian-pact with caffeine, I see a life half-lived. Not only destructive for themselves but to all of us. Fortunately people are realizing the futility of living to work and ‘waking up’ to the importance of sleeping. The next stop is the importance of dreaming.

Every night, with a good routine, you are likely to be strapped into the original ‘virtual reality machine’. But not one programmed by someone else to immerse you in their vision or story. One that is generated by you, exclusively for you, with the purpose of revealing something deep before you. Nothing could be more self-fulfilling or daring than to go onto that journey.

Part of my goal is to proselytize idleness, lying fallow and sleeping more. This isn’t just because I am lazy (though admittedly I am a bit!) This is to encourage people to access the portal into their deepest Selves and experience what is there – if not to understand. To take it seriously and if they have time, to even learn from it. I want the people around me to be fully people, not exhausted sleep-deprived zombies.

What better way to begin reconnecting to our nature than to take seriously the expressions of this deepest part of us.

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.

Feelings of rejection (Part I)

Rejection is a harsh feeling that has followed me around for as long as I could think or feel. Trying to come to terms with it is an immense undertaking which raises immense questions – is it all in my head? Am I my own worst enemy? Is there some basis in truth? Is it always going to be like this?

Looking at the first three questions, it is clear they are all linked. In fact, number one and number three are more or less the same. This suggests that subconsciously, I am placing emphasis on blaming myself, a very anxious manoeuvre, but perhaps a natural one given the feelings of rejection.

Internalizing and self-blame are the product of guilt – that most terrible and useless of emotions. I find guilt to be very prevalent in myself, a guilt for even existing or occupying space. It is common in others who have experienced abuse. Guilt is a weapon in the abuser’s armoury, it sows confusion, prevents escape, plays your good nature against you. My own feelings of rejection must be linked to this self-blame and guilt, itself instilled to satisfy an abuser’s power all those years ago.

However, as we move to identify the source of my feelings of rejection, we see that is not all ‘in my head’. Its not my fault for being the target of abuse. There is a basis in reality and an obvious historical precedent to the guilt and therefore for the self-directed anxiety.

I have felt rejected in the fundamental first relationships I formed. I was unable to ‘love thy abuser’ and this has instilled feelings of failure. It is of course all my fault, how could it be the abuser’s! All of the responsibility is on my shoulders, I have the duty to forgive the abuser’s faults and break through their shell to bestow upon them the love they deserve! Never mind that with every giving my love was rejected, my being was never respected, and mistreatment followed no matter what I did. No way out of rejection, a sense of hopelessness, all my fault, all because of my own shortcomings, guilt, guilt, guilt.

This is my fundamental experience, an alienation and lack of belonging in the fundamental relationship. All other relationships are subconsciously tainted – what if the same dynamic plays out? Indeed, it has played out a few times in my life.

This is clearly not ‘all in my head’. I am not ‘my own worst enemy’, nor am I ‘my own best friend’. Both of  those things require an immense amount of energy, they are draining eternal pits.

Is it always going to be like this?

If depression could take the form of a sentient being, this is one of the first questions it would ask. It would respond that yes, this is all that it can be and that these feelings should be accepted as a fundamental aspect of reality. They are nature itself – it would then seek out evidence to fit into its world view. The ongoing depression is a massive sustainer of my feelings of rejection and alienation. How it is all interlinked is dazzlingly disturbing – before a single step has been taken toward progress, I feel I am ten years of processing behind.

Feedback loops abound here as depression seeks to justify itself, proving with empirical evidence that rejection is the way to feel!

But this article isn’t some New Age bullshit or a one-two-three self-help guide to realizing your true inner potential. The universe does not give you back what you give and it isn’t all in the individual. Whilst I recognise my responsibility to challenge my thinking and resolve life-long repressed feelings through therapy, there is another entire aspect to these feelings of rejection which are not my responsibility. And this white middle class normality.

It is not my responsibility that I am perceived as a person of colour and more subtly from a working-class (read: lower-class) background. It is up to the racializing and classist minds of the others to do their subconsciousness homework so that their prejudice doesn’t make others feel like shit. If groups or individuals do not at least recognise the normality of white middle-classness, loud alarm bells sound inside me and naturally lead me to reject them before they reject me. This is where it is justified. Prejudice is another of those relationships where you cannot move forward – what can I do to be white enough or middle class enough?

Inspite of my admiration for the great middle class champions of English culture, my wish to give and belong, I will never be seen as normal. Just as the abused can never be good enough for the abuser until there is a fundamental change in his warped soul, so the othered cannot be accepted by the normalized until the uncomfortable edifice of social and racial hierarchy is recognised and brought down.

The empirical evidence seeking for this second category of rejection can fall into bias. You could actively seek out instances of prejudice and ignore exceptions. But in my life at least, I have not had to look far! All white households, all white groups, all white partners. It is perfectly normal to subconsciously seek another like you when you are in the minority, but is it also the same for the majority?  I cannot answer that, because I have never been in a position where I am in that majority.

Another massive form of rejection I have felt in my life has been romantic rejection. But this is another beast entirely and perhaps the worst of them all. It needs its own article to prevent it being cliched rubbish and I must tread carefully through that minefield of a topic.

 

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?

 

 

The man under the railway bridge

There is a man who lives under the railway bridge leading to the busy high street.

All of his possessions are pushed against a wall and his mattress takes up about a third of the walkway. Curiously I was thinking yesterday that if it were me, I would put the mattress against the wall and my things as a kind of barrier. But maybe they would blow away or be kicked by passers by.

The man under the railway bridge has no safety barrier around him when he sleeps. You can look in on him, down from a bus window or directly there. He has no defences against other people’s eyes, no separation or privacy from the outside world.

The fumes from the buses must be poisoning him and the harsh outdoor weather slowing draining him and the light pollution denying him true rest and recovery.

What must have befallen such a person to lead them to this situation? I cannot know what he thinks or feels, whether he is fleeing something, whether he would rather be out there than in some place worse. But I cannot imagine it being a good situation.

If he is a musician he cannot keep his guitar in good order, if he is a baker he cannot work his hands on the dough, if he is a athlete he can’t keep his fitness high, if he is a teacher he cannot order his mind or keep to a schedule.

Whatever this man may have been, he is in a place where that potential is not realized. Somewhere along the way, enough people have failed him and the system has failed to catch him – or deliberately let him fall.

I hope the man who lives under the railway bridge is picked up by the two great, warm hands of society and given walls to protect himself, refind himself, counsellors to talk him through whatever needs to be spoken or just to be there in moments of desperation and friends enough to give him something to live for.

I hate this callous system, its economics and its deranged values. Those at the very ‘top’ must have gouged-out hearts and atrophied souls to allow for, or even cause, so much suffering both to their fellow man and to nature itself.  It must be a heavy burden on them, all that power, all that real suffering they cause.

That is the real tragedy here – all that suffering is for nothing. It does not teach our souls or take us on some spiritual journey. There are people who are forced to suffer, it is immoral and it needs to stop.