Learning to be alone

August 27, 2017

Learning to be alone is the hardest thing that a man can ever direct his mind to do. As not only is the act of willfully seeking out loneliness anathema to the human condition….but one can say it goes against man’s nature….I am reminded virtually every aspect of man is designed for social interaction. Man’s skin is hairless unlike other animals so as to enable him to best respond to touch and to convey warmth…we have very advance vocal cords to allow us to articulate and give life to words in the form of speech…even our brain is hard wired for social intercourse….that is why the most painful form of ostracization takes the form of ex communication…it is as if so much of what makes us human is a function of this programming where we are required to search out to connect with our fellow humans.

It is for these reasons why the hardest thing for a man to do is to direct himself to live a hermit’s life…..because the very moment he dedicates himself to this way of life he inadvertently enters into conspiracy where his mind can only turn against him and even find every reason (real and imagined) to derail him from ever succeeding in this mission…..the enemy is within.


‘I think this is one of the hardest discipline to keep at. If I were to summon the various reasons why this should be so……it is simply because so much that feeds into the idea of what we consider to be a human being is derived from the external rather than from the world within the individual.

This is not an indictment of mankind in general…if anything it is a very accurate description that accounts for why man is very much conditioned to be a social animal.

Neither is there any right or wrong here. My interest in this subject is not to politicise why it far more superior for a man to dedicate himself to loneliness than to try to seek the same level of satisfaction and edification from marinating himself with his fellow humans…..if anything it is simply to understand where exactly are the limits of this stream of consciousness.

I do not know exactly what value such enquiries could possibly yield for the rest of mankind. Maybe one day someone who plans to blast off to Mars will stumble on this blog and say to himself…’er maybe this will be useful for me once I get so used to wearing dirty underwear that I don’t even feel to need to change any longer.’ Or perhaps it will be compressed into some booklet of desperation for the dearly unfortunate as required reading to be incorporated with other depressing stuff like flare gun, emergency rations, torchlight, Valium to ease the disposition of those who may suddenly find themselves marooned on a shark infested island smack in the middle of nowhereville.

I wonder why do I secretly crave for someone to tell me that I’ve done a very good job in my replanting – why do I suffer from such an infantile craving. Of greater interest is why do I seem to regard this craving as a weakness that I even feel ashamed whenever my mind turns to the subject. Otherwise what else can explain my militant refusal to even seek the approval and acceptance of others….could it be pride….or maybe it is my arrogance that comes from my irrevocable belief that I am superior and therefore do not require lesser mortals to tell me these things which I secretly yearn to hear.

But I do not need to hear it from them do I….I can sense their admiration…respect and even fear from the way they lower their eyes whenever the subject surfaces. I can even register their deliberate refusal to recognise the quality of my work by the way they prefer not to discuss this subject. Yes I can sense all these things and much more. So I am very conceited am I not. On one hand I seem to know everyone admires my work, yet for some childish reason I demand recognition by secretly yearning for nods of approval…After all a man who is truly confident of his abilities will not care very much for what others think about his work.

Another example of my ability to deceive myself can be gleaned from my numerous interactions with the contract girlfriend. On one hand I continue to secretly insist she is so well below my social station and imagined intellectual status, I can even entertain her ridicolous entreaties without ever once ever succumbing to them as real possibilities…I even make all sorts of happy excuses to convince myself that I am actually above all forms of carnal attraction as well….but how can one explain that I even feel elated whenever I see her at the mall. Isn’t that a form of deception….contradiction of terms even….on one hand I repudiate everything that she stands for. Yet I find myself entertaining her under the guise of what I much prefer to regard as ‘social experimentation’ cum curiosity and feigned understanding that I even have the métier to pass off as intellectual diversions when actually it is vicariousness approaching nothing less than cheap voyuerism…but can I not say that I do actually find her company stimulating and even a happy diversion from my hermits existence…..what actually is the difference between the man who keeps a mistress by the side and visits her from time to time to take his fill of the illicit thrill from I the man who goes to the mall under the false pretense of stocking up on dog food while whiling my time with the contract Girlfriend? There is no difference actually is there…it is semantical, but the motivations remain disturbingly the same. The difference being one part of my brain is able to convince the other side that all these is not happening….if there is such a thing as a difference – it is simply my refusal to come to terms with the distinct possibility that, that could well be my only reason to drive down to the mall.

I am deceitful. Truly conceited deceitful. As I have become the deceiver of myself. It is conceivable a conspiracy has begun in earnest in some corner of my mind that I am not even aware of….I looked thru all my shopping receipts and noticed that I’ve been making more trips to the mall than I would usually have to…not that it surprises me.

This conspiracy of the mind is reminiscent of what Descartes wrote in the First Meditations where the tortured soul explains why he felt the need to call his beliefs into doubt. Like all true deceivers of the self…he was indeed a purist. As he even took the trouble to couch his ramblings with a patine of intellectualism – I can well relate to his experience as a fellow self deceiver.

As I might to Swann’s slow burn fascination with Odette in Marcel Proust novel as well…recher du temps….where Swann expresses her love for Odette not directly but rather obliquely to first complete the great lie by using Botticelli’s painting Zipporrah as a respectable intermediary to cleanse himself of lecherism…..where one’s beliefs have been suddenly called into questioned. Descartes rambles on that God is actually a deceiving demon, or that he might simply be going crazy. He then goes on to develop some horse brain overarching theory that he never seems to get around to explaining how he came to this formulation…never… except maybe to elide all aspects of it that would have rendered it sound and convincing by using the sobriquet term of endearment..’you know what I mean’…and goes on to gives himself imagined reasons to be skeptical of all his further beliefs. Here is where he dabbles in not philosophy but rather mumbo jumbo mysticism and some how manages to convince one part of his brain that nothing of the world is real. The other side of his brain follows naturally..He essentially disbelieves everything that can possibly be called into question and whittles existence down into a nihilistic blob. Then, he declares imperially…..I must finally conclude that the statement “I am, I exist” must be true whenever I state it or mentally consider it…I think, so I am.

Paradoxially what Descartes (or for that matter Swann) actually meant to say was not what he claimed to have said in either his scholarly litany that he seemed to be able to convince the lecole that he even had anything worthy to say about the human condition. Rather it was what Descartes preferred not to say, but should have that actually betrayed a mind who simply couldn’t come to terms with how he had totally deceived himself….and it would read something like this….I am the great deceiver of the self.

Yes…the same mechanism of self destructive afflicted Swan’s character as well. Where the main protagonist formed an equally ridicolous association between his fetish with Odette and some mural that he once saw in Florence depicting muses of sorts….but what was actually festering in his head was an elaborated form of denial and guilt complex that he actually required her participation to complete his incomplete world thru the construction of yet another greater lie…a world that was devoid of all imagined possibilities that he couldn’t even bring himself to admit as it would first require the repudiation of his aristocracy.

There is a flaw in the thinking is there not?

I see it very clearly now…it is a conspiracy borne out from a mind that is yearns to be connected. Yet denies it at the same time by fashioning all sorts of delectable excuses why that may not be such a sensible proposition…

From tomorrow onwards I will no longer go to the mall any longer or for that matter mingle unless I really have too…even then I should be economical with my time…Above all. I must instead keep to discipline of observing the deceiver who resides somewhere in my mind. I will corner him like hunter. I don’t know where he is hiding…but I am sure if I take the time about him. I will eventually have him in my sights long enough to take a clean shot and wipe him forever.

Then like Descartes I will truly be free….I think, so I am. Only this time it would not be a crie de couer like Descartes…I will really be free in the depths of being alone all by myself.’

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