Monday, February 21, 2011

navigating the chasm


the art of being alone is a delicate one. Americans that practice the craft usually suffer from the inevitable side effects, some more than others, and that can get dangerous. but it is something that is inevitable chosen, no matter how much the lonely try to spin it in a way that blames the rest of the world on their solitude. being alone takes a certain degree of courage, of self hatred, and of focus. probably the only ones that are alone that transcend these petty traits, which are centered around the ego, are monks. they are masters in the medium of loneliness.

monks are, of course, usually not american. i speak of the monks that perch themselves on mountains and let their mind go blank and release their desires into the wind. those are the only monks i really know of; those holier than though individuals who wear long dull robes and shave their head bald. monks who rarely, if ever, speak, and never feel the need to. these monks are beyond the trappings of our society, they have no reason to hate commercials or love popular music or wonder why their pants feel tighter than usual. these monks are never bothered if no one calls them all day, they dont anticipate a response from a text they've sent, they could care less if someone doesnt return the affection they give. to them, it isnt about wanting. wanting is for the weak.

but we are americans, and to want is practically all we know. we are wrapped up in our desires. we want to see that movie or wear that shirt. we want a pay raise and to be respected. we want to look like the people that seem to have everything. we want to be thrown surprise parties where all our friends are there waiting for us in the dark and when the lights turn on we want to actually be surprised and feel the rush of joy and elation and the swelling up of tears because we are so lucky to have friends like this; so lucky to be loved. we want to be left romantic notes from secret admirers. we want to get handmade gifts on our birthdays. we want to be looked at from across a room. we want to be wanted.

when we dont get these things, when it seems we cant get anything we want, we feel as if we are defeated. we feel as if life has cheated us out of a decent existence. as if the universe and all its celestial bodies have conspired against our happiness, and what we are left with is the empty vessel of our bodies. running with blood, filling up with oxygen, feeling only the intellectual pain of abstract misfortune. this, of course, is a privileged sensation. especially when it comes to material items. we dont necessarily deserve all the things we want. in fact, most of the things we want are equal to the meaninglessness of us wanting them. but when it comes to being alone, that is a different story.

it is two different beast, wanting companionship as opposed to wanting a thing. companionship—at least genuine companionship—can not be procured at will. it cant be bought, it cant be borrowed. without a doubt, for some people, even if they have nothing to show, no material items to exhibit, if they have the love of someone else, they can feel content in the world. they can feel fulfilled. some would argue that all you need is love. some would even sing a song about it. but that is where the art lies and the question arises, do you need love? is that really all you need? and to go further, aside from sustenance and protection from the elements, what really do you need?

well, obviously being intellectual primates—especially the american, who lives in a society where those who are most loved are deified by the media, which has been deified by us—being wanted by another is the ultimate goal. and in a culture where this is the oil that runs our network, to feel unwanted is to feel as if there is nothing to live for. and the art is living here, in this space, in this void. of navigating the chasm between nothing and wanting.

for many this will drive them insane. and to the rest, if they are ok with it, they already are insane. we see them as hermits, potential serial killers, social retards and weirdos. the irony of seeing them in this manner, is that is just helps cultivate their loneliness, and as i stated earlier. you must chose to be lonely. because no one has to be.

i am not good at this art. it is not my craft. i realized this long ago, and grew what you can call a talent for meeting people, for being social. but right now i feel lonely. right now i feel unwanted. it is, as i am well aware, a passing feeling, but i wanted to explore it a bit, because if i cant be comfortable being alone i probably will never be comfortable at all. i think that i actually equate loneliness with loss, and to me, the worst thing in the world is a heart filled up with loss. but i know i havent lost anything, deep down i know this. sure, there is a profound desire in me to feel wanted. by the world, by my circle, by certain individuals. but i know that im not that special, that im a regular guy with reasonable good looks, a modest intelligence, and a decent demeanor. so i dont need a bunch of shit, i just need to accept that sometimes, in this life, i am not the most vital cog. that in the mean time, i can just write. that nothing is wrong with that.

oh, i just got a text from a friend who wants to go have some drinks. guess ill write more later.

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.