Sunday, 20 November 2011

Multi-narrative

(this is a trail of thought in a sort of Kerouac-like automatic way of writing)
I was born in a family of intellectual and spiritual people. My mum was always there being a mum but my dad’s absence was felt. As a child I was angry at my dad, I felt like we didn’t have a good relationship although he kept telling me I was his best friend to which I sort of unwillingly nodded to in order not to hurt him but also because I did not believe that to be true. With my mum we were really close, I used to tell her everything and I felt safe with her. My sister who was five years older than me seemed to not get along as well with my mum and leaned towards my dad. It seemed they had more in common while I felt more affinity with my mum. I was a girly boy, playing with girly toys and had girly mannerisms, and my sister was a bit of a tomboy or a tough girl. I was also clearly introverted spending a lot of time playing by myself or making stuff or drawing while my sister liked to play with the neighbours and was generally more sociable and extroverted. It was obvious to me as a child that my parents didn’t have a close relationship, I never saw any intimacy between them and I somehow knew that divorce was discussed as well as my dad’s unfaithfulness and promiscuity, gambling and alcohol problems. He was also visibly not very into her always commenting about how much she ate or about how fat she was (he also did that to us) and she was also very obviously affected by it by binge eating, secretly eating junk food when he wasn’t around, but also emotionally distraught about his absence and cheating. They were not happy. We very early knew about how she accidentally got pregnant and they had to get married. We were too young to know about these things, but we were thrown into all of this adult world problems at a very early stage. We were definitely not protected from these things, or it wasn’t possible for them to hide these things from us.
School was immediately hard from me, I was introverted, shy, girly, weird and artistic. Kindergarten was ok but primary school was  a nightmare. The other kids would make fun of me for being a “girl” and for not playing sports with the boys and preferring to hang out with girls. I was very affected by this and I used to go home crying every day. Going to school was an absolute nightmare. I felt prosecuted and not accepted. My mum tried to talk to the principal of the school but he said there was nothing he could do. Being such a girly girl it must have been hard for my dad, not knowing how to deal with it but also perhaps a little disappointed that his son was so feminine. He did make some minimal effort to connect with me in a dad-son sort of way but he completely failed as he chose the wrong activities and I was very rejecting of any effort from his part. He also gave up too quickly. We connected on intellectual stuff though, as I would ask him a lot of existential or philosophical questions to which he always had some answers. I enjoyed those moments we had together when he would enlighten me and explain things to me. We would geek out together on science facts and encyclopedias, and he would give me history and geography lessons which I found interesting but a bit boring. Science was more my thing.
With my sister we were really close and we kind of bonded on the fact that our family wasn’t normal. Feeling as a part of a not normal or ‘special’ family was kind of a recurrent theme, something that we all felt and agreed on. We were all a bunch of weirdos, two parents that were not really together that were having some really serious issues in their relationship and two children who were forced to mature before their age to deal with things and who were quite idiosyncratic and so different that neither was accepted in school. Although my sister had probably a better time in primary school than me, secondary school was a huge nightmare for her. She was not accepted at all. We were all too different, natural outcasts of society or our parents were outcasting themselves and we were just mirroring them. Our parents were into their Hindu gurus, and their vegetarianism, and intellectual endeavours really set them apart from other people, especially in meat-eating, strictly Christian, conservative Cyprus of the time. Both of them also felt completely different from their families they had drastically separated themselves from them. That’s what probably got them together in the first place. What they had in common was their outcast and existential tendencies, which Irini tried to completely rebel against striving to fit in and be normal while I completely followed their footsteps. I naturally ended up being an outcast because of my girly, introverted, artistic nature which I finally embraced, while Irini ended up being an outcast for being weird and physically not very feminine and probably for trying too much which she finally came to terms with as well. All in all, we were raised to be different but we were also also inherently different. This tendency to separate myself from the mainstream remains until today, and it sometimes becomes a compulsion. I can’t seem to fit in anywhere, nor do I want to. I remain lonely, introverted, artistic and intellectually driven – but I have also managed to integrate these traits enough to be able to function within society while not really being a part of it. Irini’s rebellion against her outcast nature has led her to a loveless marriage, having sex with only one person in her life, and a large circle of shallow friends.
*
Dad did always secretly see the potential in me, and he pushed me to pursue my talent. He did believe in me although he rarely showed it, I’m sure of that. He is a deeply emotional man, but very few see that side of him. He is also a very introverted man, who has always been an outcast in his family, in society and his social circle. He has and had many vices, smoking, drinking, gambling, women, extraordinary, some would say, arrogance. But he is also a very deeply explored person, having literally sucked volumes of western and eastern philosophy, history, religion, spirituality, psychology and sociology. His outlook in life is esoteric, and although he is a nihilist he has a deeper understanding of reality that he has constructed and revised. Writing this now I can see how much in common we have. Even though I haven’t even read a fraction of what he has read over his life, we definitely share the same outlook, partly because of our genetics and partly because of our experiences, common and separate. We are incredibly similar, and we are fighters and free spirits. We have shared spiritual perceptions of each other and have felt that old soul, long history thing that you feel with some people. We love each other, and we understand each other although most times we might not be fully conscious of that. We have a deep connection and it is time it has been cleansed. The mistakes he did in his life were enormous and fatal, he has lived an incredibly intense life, he has been through war, poverty, revolution, pain and anguish. He has been blown by life to bits, and he has been desperately trying to construct a new life for himself, a new beginning. What he did was incredibly wrong but it is partly because he is a child of his generation and partly because of his free spiritedness, rebeliousness and idealism.
When they met they must have had an infatuation, especially from my mothers side, and the pregnancy just complicated things. Did she keep the baby in order to keep him? That can’t be sure, maybe abortion wasn’t an option. Either way they took the decision to go through with it and so already didn’t start on a good note. Irene was a difficult baby and they had a bit of trouble raising her. They were clearly under a lot of stress at the time. He liked to sleep around. He was a new lawyer living the life of booze and money, we weren’t rich but he earned quite well for the time. She was left at home worrying and being upset whenever he was out while she had to take care of the kids. The letters she was writing to him while she was breastfeeding alone in Greece studying for university, while he was in Cyprus starting his lawyer career, are just devastating. She had a tough time and she had postpartum depression. She went a little bit bonkers at the time and there is this story that she was taken to the psychologist at the time and he said that she might have bipolar disorder but I’m not sure which story to believe any more on that front. There is a chance that she exhibited some disorderly function at some point or another but I cannot think of a time that I even suspected a personality change or something weird going on with her. That’s why I’m a bit dubious on the subject, although again there is a chance that as a child I wouldn’t have been able to perceive strange behaviour (especially when it happens gradually like with bipolar disorder with its peaks and downs). So yea, not sure on that. Either way the reaction she had when my dad left was huge. It was of course a tremendous shock, and any person would have been devastated to find out that their spouse was going out with another woman for 14 years secretly and that they might even have had an illegitimate child together. It was a lot to take in and it was only natural to get depressed. But to go into so much darkness, and suicidal thoughts and manic incidents was not normal behaviour. It shows such great weakness that it can only be fundamentally chemical. Maybe the great shock was a trigger for some imbalance that was already there, at least that’s the theory. But that shock was definitely the spark. It sparked something that perhaps could have stayed hidden forever or something that could have sprung up by itself anyway, again nobody knows. It was definitely an extreme reaction. I can’t even go into the other part of the story where she had met this man in the park and they had started an affair but then she thought she had aids from him and other scary stuff which I’m not really clear about because most of what I heard from it was during her fits. Something weird happened there, but it was all this conglomeration of things that she might have done during a manic state, or so people seem to think. I did perceive a personality change during that short time before they separated where she was very excitable and started going out and getting dressed. It was a bit of mid-life crisis sort of thing that went on for both of them at the time. And then he said he would leave and live with Stalo and then bam, she went nuts.
She was such a sweet person though. It is really hard for me to think of positive or negative things for her. It’s hard for me to describe her. It’s like I lost the ability to visualise her in time, and in memory. She remains ethereal, a lost concept, a mirage in the past. I can only remember the deep love I had for her. I absolutely loved her, adored her. She was so comforting, and loving, and sweet. She was a cool mum and we loved her even though she made us eat extremely healthy stuff. She was such a sensitive person, so sensitive and frail. Yet she was also pro-active with many interests and projects. She would get excited about stuff and start new ventures and even if someone would say those were hypomanic incidents they were still meaningful and productive. Again I’m talking about her various activities because I seriously can’t say anything about our relationship besides that is was a mother-child relationship. It was just very intuitive, intimate, almost primal. We didn’t have to make an effort to ‘connect’, we were already inherently connected. Although she didn’t raise me to be a mummy’s boy and she never smothered me, we were really connected. It is virtually impossible to describe this connection in words. And although with my dad I might have felt that old soul thing, with my mum it was different. We were like kindred spirits, a different kind of spiritual connection. A connection that I feel has been severed, a part of myself that still feels lost. A part of myself that I still keep looking for in my subconscious every night when I go to bed, searching for that missing piece. I can’t let it go. I’m calling her name every night. Missing her. Writing long texts about her. Going to the counsellor because of her. She left me a part of myself that I need to deal with, a scarred, troubled and confused self that is trying to make sense of it all. What is there to make sense of? They had a complicated life, created a complicated life, complicated children, complicated outcomes. They have created this jumble of interactions, this giant knot that seems impossible to untangle. A network of cascading events that has led to tragedy. It is such a movie. So here I am broken in pieces, interwoven within this spider nest, not seeing a way out. So perhaps the best action would be just to embrace the complexity of life, the supervenience of experience, and this giant game of chess. Take it as it comes, the whole thing is a game that plays out one way or another. We can only do our best to build on our experiences and be as conscious of our actions as possible, but also be able to filter, decipher and make balanced decisions to the best our abilities. Just let go and accept. Intellectual and experiential information is infinite and we just live out a glimpse of it, so just enjoy the ride while it lasts and take it with a grain of salt.  This is my big wisdom. I cannot right now make any other sense of it. I do not know how to make of it. Yet.
I am indeed a product of this process, the inevitable, inseparable, seamless, continuous outcome of the flow of time and evolution. Whatever happens is part of the intricate pattern of reality, and is thus true. True in its ontological existence, although the way it is perceived can vary greatly. Is there a way to tap into the foundations of this pattern using merely our minds? That I would like to know, how to decipher the existence of everything, of complexity, of existence, of perception, of language. I can see the bigger pattern, the pattern of my life, my parent’s life, the relentless chain of events. The connections that remain eternal in the crystalline mirage of timelessness. I can find my lost self in the pattern, the greater pattern that produces everything. Or I can lose myself in it. I am part of it. So momentary, so eternal. So otherwordly. So penetrative.
Things are far too complex for human understanding and thus life appears largely random or chaotic. Yes there is order to be observed, and order begets order, but chaos is the other side of the same coin. It is the beauty of existence, and doom of the human to only be able to perceive a tiny fraction of reality. It is like a molecule of water looking at the ocean. It is awesome and mind-bogglingly impossible to comprehend. Thus I let go myself into the unknown, I accept the unknown, the meaningfulness of randomness, and the inherent meaning within everything. This ‘supreme’ meaning is beyond perception and understanding but can be at least conceptualised. I am sad to let go of faith and of focused, safe understanding but I am happy to embrace complexity, and the vast horizon of the unknown. There’s just so much to be discovered and understood, so many facets and dimensions. I am ready to enter a multi-dimensional appreciation of reality, an open-ended, everchanging understanding. Instead of looking for the holy grail, the one truth, and just going from one truth to the other, my outlook becomes multi-truthful. There is no one answer, one perspective, but infinite appreciations of reality. Pluralism. It is what I’ve been doing all my life anyway, but now I am becoming conscious of it. There is no room for stagnation, no resting point, but continuous flow and evolution of consciousness.
*
Responsibility versus justification. It is very hard for me to separate the two. How much personal responsibility do I have in this story? I have covered the genetic factors, the nurturing factors and the external factors, but I always tell the story as if things are happening to me externally and I am in a somewhat shifted dimension where I am not directly interacting with the situation, only observing it and being internally affected by it. That is my main Piscean trait. When things happen around me, I disconnect myself and let things happen by themselves with the least possible intervention from myself. It is my tendency to observe the flow of events as an external entity that I just let happen and then view the results, that is how I lead my life entirely, letting things go with the flow and unfold by themselves. This tendency allows me to relinquish responsibility and always appear as the victim of a situation, it is easy, having had minimal input in things. I am afraid of the results if I do intervene, because intervention can go both ways, but non-intervention can be equally harmful as I learned with Polz. Not doing something is still doing something, and is probably worse than actively doing something. At least if you are active you know you did your best. I think my main responsibility in everything that has happened was that I disconnected myself. Yes it was a survival mechanism, that I wasn’t fully conscious of, but it still is my personal responsibility in all of this. I was not an active part of the action, I was a bystander letting things affect me internally but externally being unemotional and avoidant. I wish I was strong enough, or just less introverted, to be able to make an active change to things.
What decisions did I take, what were the actions that I took besides inaction? Am I guilty of excessive minimisation and rationalisation and avoidant behaviour? Well perhaps not excessive, but I definitely have a tendency to rationalise and justify my behaviour but also the behaviours of others, which in effect leads to minimisation and levelling, and that is how I have always lead my life. Again this tendency leads to the relief of responsibility from me and from others, meaning that I can never blame anyone or myself. But that is just my general outlook in life, I believe everything can explained through the complex interaction of human relationships, causality and chaos and humans are inevitably not responsible for their actions. I see free will as arbitrary and temporally bound. I see humans too powerless to be able to command time, the complexity of the universe and the complex network of causality they created between them. A hermit may manage to escape the grasps of the human interaction network but can never escape the flow of nature. Only a Buddha can momentarily escape the processes of nature and time, but not beyond the quantum world, and so on.
**
Fear. I have progressively been discovering how much my actions or my general outlook in life has been moulded and guided by fear. Fear is such a strong, primal emotion that seems to be easily suppressed by the psyche and hidden by denial. After the years of terror had finished, I had nicknamed the fears that I had developed as the “same old fears” from the Pink Floyd song, but quickly hid them well back in denial thinking that I had dealt with them satisfactorily. I am afraid of loss, of impermanence, of decisions that could lead to extremely negative results. I am afraid of the unpredictability of the world, of the chaotic, uncontrollable force that creates and destroys. I am in awe of this massive process, and completely at its mercy. I feel I have no control over my life or over anything under the shadow of this force. It is the complete lack of free will. I do not believe in free will, or whatever free will an individual might have is completely inconsequential to the grander scheme of things. Things lose their significance and point in this completely chaotic world. Human relationships, emotions, feelings, creations are so incidental and insignificant. Even this constant analysis that I put myself through has no point. The pointless musings of an imperfect conglomeration of chemical processes. This is the loss of faith. Faith in the process of life, faith in the significance of human interaction, faith in higher order meaning. Meaning has been reduced to semiotics between physical processes. I believe meaning is part of a deeper understanding of the universe, an understanding that is beyond any human processing. I am returning back to miserabilia and the futility of human existence. My world has become random and sinister once more. Absolutely no trust and faith in the system. The system is beyond any understanding. It is massive and endless. It can only be understood through imperfect human-centred metaphors. Things are incomprehensible and appear pointless. I am unable to derive any meaning from my experiences besides the fact that I have lost the ability to derive meaning. I am unable to say anymore that whatever has happened has made me stronger, or has made my faith stronger, or that has improved me as a person. Quite the opposite I feel I have deteriorated as a person. I have left myself prey of the unpredictability of things, and vulnerable to seeing life as so inconsequential that suicide becomes as much an option as it becomes irrelevant. It is exactly the notion of absurdism. Things are absurd and sinister. I’m constantly wavering between absurdism and nihilism, and my only way ‘out’ is atheistic existentialism. I have the need to construct personal meaning, but the only meaning that my experiences will allow me is absurdism. And I cannot fully accept absurdism. It is safe from the aspect that nothing can touch me as everything is absurd, but it is inherently unsafe since it proclaims that everything is unsafe. It is a paradoxical way of being and that shows mental instability. I want to believe in something yet I have stripped myself from every possible string of belief and faith. The world I constructed for myself does not allow any room for that. My world is a negation of things, it is the lack of things. It is the lack of love, the lack of belief in love. The lack of any beautiful, soothing human construct. Yet my chemical constitution insists on torturing itself with mental jumbles, it is still trying to find the balance. It cannot accept this cynical, sinister, lifeless world it finds itself in, as it is detrimental to its survival. So it will continue to fight it until it finds some kind of balance between the experiences that have created it, and the inherent need to resolve them. Or it will die trying to. I am tired of trying to find meaning. I am tired in general.
*
Still in limbo. More confused. More lost. More alone. More fucked up. More sad. Less faith. Less trust. Less understanding. Less wise. Less feelings. Not depressed. Just numb.

What is the Absurd? It is, as may quite easily be seen, that I, a rational being, must act in a case where my reason, my powers of reflection, tell me: you can just as well do the one thing as the other, that is to say where my reason and reflection say: you cannot act and yet here is where I have to act... The Absurd, or to act by virtue of the absurd, is to act upon faith ... I must act, but reflection has closed the road so I take one of the possibilities and say: This is what I do, I cannot do otherwise because I am brought to a standstill by my powers of reflection.[6]

— Kierkegaard, Søren, Journals, 1849

Paradoxically again, the absurd is the lack of faith, yet acting on the absurd is an act upon faith, faith that an act can be taken, from the myriad of choices only one is taken. Can the absurd be resolved by the idea of multiple universes and that every action is taken?

What, then, is the absurd? The absurd is that the eternal truth has come into existence in time..

I gladly undertake, by way of brief repetition, to emphasize what other pseudonyms have emphasized. The absurd is not the absurd or absurdities without any distinction (wherefore Johannes de Silentio: "How many of our age understand what the absurd is?"). The absurd is a category, and the most developed thought is required to define the Christian absurd accurately and with conceptual correctness. The absurd is a category, the negative criterion, of the divine or of the relationship to the divine. When the believer has faith, the absurd is not the absurd — faith transforms it, but in every weak moment it is again more or less absurd to him. The passion of faith is the only thing which masters the absurd — if not, then faith is not faith in the strictest sense, but a kind of knowledge. The absurd terminates negatively before the sphere of faith, which is a sphere by itself. To a third person the believer relates himself by virtue of the absurd; so must a third person judge, for a third person does not have the passion of faith. Johannes de Silentio has never claimed to be a believer; just the opposite, he has explained that he is not a believer — in order to illuminate faith negatively. Journals of Soren Kierkegaard X6B 79[7]


The absurd is negative faith, yet faith is absurd. they are the same thing.

According to Camus, one's freedom – and the opportunity to give life meaning – lies in the recognition of absurdity. If the absurd experience is truly the realization that the universe is fundamentally devoid of absolutes, then we as individuals are truly free. "To live without appeal,"[13] as he puts it, is a philosophical move to define absolutes and universals subjectively, rather than objectively. The freedom of humans is thus established in a human's natural ability and opportunity to create his own meaning and purpose; to decide (or think) for him- or herself. The individual becomes the most precious unit of existence, as he or she represents a set of unique ideals which can be characterized as an entire universe in its own right. In acknowledging the absurdity of seeking any inherent meaning, but continuing this search regardless, one can be happy, gradually developing his or her own meaning from the search alone.

Creativity is all I have left. And my personal meaning that I express through that.

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