￼on the non-fixity of world identity.
It is not a definitive world by which reality is understood as a singular and fixed truth￼that 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.