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I have decided to get back in touch with distributing my work on Instagram after a long break. Unfortunately, I’ve decided also to do this from scratch (because the opportunity to regrow and use the things I’ve learnt over the last couple of years to improve is something I wish to embrace.)
Instagram is a blessing and a curse for me. It offers the short, emotive kind of aphorism that I enjoy to both read and write but also leaves little space to explore longer ideas. Therefore, to supplement my posts, I have decided to build my work into larger-scale explorations on this platform.
The first week’s posts have taken on a theme of longing for something more, quite unintentionally. This first piece was a short aphorism that saw me through a difficult period of my relationship: living in different countries, unsure if things could be pulled that thin; could such distance be survived? We must take heed of our distances. It is never wise to pull away from those we love. The wire is precariously thin at points and in that way it may seem infinite. It never is.
The evaporation of a relationship appears both tragic and desirable for many. We may long for freedom from suffering and the return of love. This kind of juxtaposition is difficult to confront. I think this is symbolised by my own tugging on the thread; I pulled to ease the suffering but both distance and closeness multiplied it. There were no winners or losers in this game of tug-of-war.
I was longing for something more. In fact…
As this second piece expresses quite clearly, we may find ourselves living inauthentically. With a sense that we are waiting around for something beyond us. We are waiting for instructions, permission, some sign. In that way, we are looking to an exterior arbiter of our personal journeys. This process has been explored in countless works and is the subject of much scrutiny.
From Pink Floyd’s Time to my work in The Braid:
“Downwind other lives pass,
They live in the park,
And smoke and wait
For something to save them.”
This is one of the most important ideas I have ever come to face. There is no way to escape taking control of ourselves and that is a truly world-defining task. Taking action and responsibility are the very sources of a Good Life. This was known at least as far back as the Greeks but who knows when we first discovered that we thrive in meaningful activity? I believe it must have become decipherable as soon as we banded together and formed societies; when the need for mere survival faded and we could choose so many more paths.
Permitting yourself to live is a founding moment in life. Unfortunately, some never reach it and live a stunted life of Hedonism or brutal suffering. It is from here the next piece flows, like a manifesto. I pray, indeed, for those who grab hold of life and shake it senseless into listening to them.
I end the week on the notion that we must act. If we want something we must never give up on it. We must endure. Society, the universe even, are indifferent to us. They are not waiting for us even if they need us deeply. Indeed, the creation of one’s own reality is a core philosophical standpoint of mine. When studying the Existential psychologists and philosophers I find a great degree of material I have always known in some sense, I believe most of us do know it. This kind of freedom was correctly identified as a source of terror and anxiety by many of these thinkers. The very idea of being entirely responsible is quite the adjustment. But it does free us to become what we wish or at least to find meaning in the struggle.
In fact, with this, I am mostly in the Nietzschean camp. I do not believe that all have the capacity to build themselves out of dirt, out of ashes (most never dare try). This is a crucial problem for me, for I wish it were not this way. I see this inability as transcendent, it can strike any of us regardless of what we are. My journey to become a Psychologist is leading me to tackle this problem. I wish for the maximum amount of people to achieve their own meaningful existences but I wonder how much impact I can have on that in the mounting face of nihilism and late-stage capitalist decline. For me though, meaning comes in the confrontation.
Isn’t it easy to avoid something we covet but fear losing? Isn’t it difficult to stamp our authentic mark on existence? I saw this beautifully framed in a documentary, The Modern Antiquarian from Julian Cope, discussing the prehistoric temple builders who built Stone Henge and similar monuments. He said something to the effect of, “these were a forward-thinking bunch of people who wanted it known that they were here.” They desired to assert their own existence to the level they risked life and limb in the construction of these mighty and enduring monuments we still stand in awe of today!
What mark do you want to leave on your landscape? Let me know…
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