The Degenerating Self

“Selves can only exist in definite relationships to other selves.”, G. H. Mead, Mind, Self & Society, The University of Chicago Press, p. 164.

I am in therapy. The question is: what makes me tick like a time bomb? The idea is that if we find the detonator we can defuse my self-destructive tendencies to so avoid my lights going on red. I feel the hand of therapists guided by society inside my mind carefully and meticulously disentangling the faulty wiring. Let’s hope they aren’t too nervous because I am. I can go from green to red and back again without ever giving off a warning orange.

I so should give them a helping hand. So let me explain my self (if even only to myself).

The thing is: I like to forget that I exist. Existence seems futile. There seems to be neither point nor end to it. And then I do this: I get ahead of myself and as long as I outrun it I’m feeling on top of the world (even if I am just on top of my soap box shouting out loud). It just so happens that all this running is exhausting. Not in the least for those who need to listen to my ranting. So that’s a problem right there. Forgetting that I exist is exhausting, I tend to forget that others exist and that was the whole point – and ground – of me existing at all.

And then I start thinking about things. Boy can I think. I can think like a tank. Wondering about what the others are up to. What they really want. Whether they want what they’re saying they want. I tell them what I want but it gets harder and harder for them to listen. I mumble. They complain. I feel accused. I lose touch with the others. They seem to float – whilst I am a tank. Heavy trying to heave myself from the morass by my own strength. Is not possible of course but the degeneration has set in and gravity will have its due. I sink, my voice is under water and my stretched arm seems broken.

Then I know I exist as a self, as a recluse. I shan’t complain so I shut up. Try to shut up. It is as impossible for me to shut up as it is for anybody to drown himself. Something in me, despite me, just wants to go on. I fall back on instinct, so I fight. Every breath I take is one of defeat. I run away not to fight but people come after me. I just have to behave they say, or so I hear them saying. They’re right. It is the voice of the generalized other hammering my self out of myself. So I write hard enigmatic stuff because I want to behave without to surrender. Existence is futile, it’s something you do for others.

There’s no catharsis just insomnia and after insomnia there’s sleep, and the conviction to get ahead of myself not to have to face myself because one thing’s clear: I need to behave like others but I don’t want to be like them because I’m not. I’m simply not. I love you all – you have not wronged me, you have righted me – but you cannot all love me. There that’s it: the recipe for my periodic failure and slow degeneration (hysteresis breeds hysteria). I just have to let it go (but: where does that leave me?, aimlessly floating!).

The issue with finding therapeutic balance for me is that it denies a lifetime of unbalance precariously balanced. Like learning to walk again. Re-inventing myself; choosing for the domestication instead of the degeneration. That’s just bad JoB pleading for survival. I can have it both ways, just need to find out how. By slowing down first, cooling down second; hey, I might become cool after all – just need to trust that I am in fact loved which is a fact that I in fact do trust. I know am loved as much as I know I am in love. I’m deeply in love with a few people and I love all of humankind shallowly insofar as they’re kind.

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