The Gift

on the non-fixity of world identity.

It is not a definitive world by which reality is understood as a singular and fixed truththat is significant. The various opinions, attitudes and mentalities based in subjective meaning upon the stable ground of reality are not the issue.  Rather, it is the relationship that we have with things which is truly significant. 

*

I had a moment with a young individual today.

I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but in the US it is a strange kind of trend of adolescents who are depressed to self harm. I don’t know if this is a global thing but I know it is a United States thing.

It seems that there is a rash of depressed and or anxious young people who, lacking any particular sharp tool, such as a razor blade or perhaps a knife, will scratch themselves in one place with their own fingernail, often short, until The skin finally breaks and a wound develops. They will continue to scratch that one place longer and wider until some unknown threshold is achieved and then they will produce another one right next to it, often parallel and sometimes in squared or triangular designs. And they will do this, many of them, until their arms are covered with these kind of burn sores. When you get a bunch of these children together, it is at once striking and at the same time strangely of no concern; for in part, one might be just as inclined to wonder why a group of kids will start smoking tobacco or in our current situation, vaping. One has to admit there is a certain amount of fad or trend or whatever you would want to call it. Because anxiety and depression does not necessarily mean that you have to self harm, and indeed when I was young there was many kids my age, many who were depressed or had problematic families who were friends of mine, who never thought of self harming in the way that seems so trendy and ubiquitous for our children nowadays. It is sad and strange.

*

My intention for this post was not to discuss the philosophical fixtures of mental health theories or to offer any sort of help necessarily to these young people.

I really brought it up because this one person I was talking to today used to self harm, and then stopped for a couple years and only recently had started again because of some sort of life event that was triggering.

This person was also depressed but having more issues with anxiety. I was talking to this person and they happen to mention how they are not suicidal because their best friend had committed suicide a few years prior, so they never contemplate killing themselves.

It struck me how they said this so matter-of-factly, for it is common with people who suffer from great and long lasting general anxiety as well as depression to have to also battle with intrusive suicidal thoughts.

And I said to this person:

You know, that’s kind of amazing, in a strange way, when you think about it. What you just said…

Your best friend died? I said.

And so you never think about killing yourself, you simply don’t have thoughts about killing yourself? I said.

Then I said, you know, in a strange way, your friend gave you a gift, for he gave you a reason to live.

And this person began to slowly tear up, as I did also, with compassion in my heart.

They were looking down but then they kind of looked up at me through the tops of their eyes and gave a sleight little smile On top of that kind of frown that you get when there’s a deep hurt that just quickly surged to the surface, when your face can’t help but strain into an childish ugly grimace. A kind of embarrassment and yet of connection.

Yeah; maybe… they said.



Sometimes we need a different way to look at things. Sometimes we can hold what seems as two opposing sentiments for the sake of at once mourning and yet celebrating, missing and yet respecting.  and yet, sometimes when we see it, it seems so obvious. Like, why didn’t I think of that.

I think some of it may be not so much that this person didn’t think of that, but they did not allow themselves to think of it because of the polemically reductive fashion by which we arrive with our ethical selves to the encounter with the world. We are often not permitted to think but in specific ways about specific things.

Often we just hold the sadness a certain way because we think that’s the only way that sadness is allowed to be, holding it so dear that we fear that person is going to be disrespected, as if it is this supremely fragile thing. Whereas actually it could be a source of the most profound strength and Resilliance. 

The modern ideological and ethical sense sometimes misleads us into seeing tragedy as one way, into what Kierkegaard calls the “either/or”, which is the mentality of fixation, of limit, of finitude. 

*

How much does my identity depend upon this either/or reduction towards self and world, as if indeed they either have to be 100% intertwined and subjective, or 100% separate, psychological and objective?

Maybe the relationship changes under various conditions.  maybe it is both.





For Under the Holiday Tree..

Two ground breaking philosophical books would be an excellent present for your curious minded philosopher !

The descriptions of the books online are not very good, so here are some better descriptions:

“Non-philosophy and Philosophy” is a short essay that speaks to the simplicity of the philosophical underpinnings of a few big-names in Western philosophy. It suggests that authors are not so much arguing various points as they are indicating a particular experience that I call ‘the philosophical revolution’.

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“The Moment of Decisive Significance” is an alternative journey through the Gospels.

What the Introduction calls an ‘object oriented’ reading of the Gospels beckons to Graham Harman’s Object Oriented Ontology or Object Oriented Philosophy but is more an indicator of a difference in approach, what one could call a non-conventional or un-traditional approach.

Bringing in authors from Kierkegaard to Harman, Kant to Laruelle, Feuerbach to Zizek, Plato to Badiou, the use of philosophical discussion is not viscous. This book goes straight through the story in the Gospels explaining and detailing how the pieces and events of the Gospels can adhere in a manner that appear cogent and sensible apart from the explanation that relies upon a theological Oneness. And yet, the book is not an argument against religion; it suggests that there are ‘two routes’ upon objects that do not reduce to anihilate each other, even if one of those routes always works toward annihilation.

This essay is not saying very much about religious belief or an ability to have faith; rather, it suggests that Jesus is speaking to a small minority of people who are having a particular experience of world. By this revelation, it suggests that the Gospels, and indeed the Bible, is saying something much larger and much more significant than another proposal about God; The Story of Jesus exemplifies and reveals how the human being functions by giving us a view into not only the variety of experience that consciousness allows for, but actually into a particular mythological moment that is kept shrouded by the idea of religion, indeed beyond esotericism, albeit, for the purposes of having a particular kind of world. It is thereby a discussion about what philosophy and religion do, and as well an exploration of consciousness itself.

The book is written for the layman and scholar alike.

I hope these less haughty descriptions will entice your curiosity.