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.





Rockers Dying; An Insensitive Comment of Ironic Sensibility.

Rockers love to kill themselves. Not one to rally to towing the line, just grant me the sane human compassion for people who end up making the terminal decision and act on it.

I am going to present a view that I can imagine many will think insensitive.
But someone has to be able to address these things from a standpoint by which all the compassion gains its basis.

Soundgarden was one of the first bands that came out in my generation that was a signal that something was changing in music. I wasn’t so much into Linkin Park; in fact, I though it was (is) kinda wimpy (maybe that’s why he killed himself, cuz he knew it, but couldn’t help himself?). 

BTW:

Chester Bennington, singer of Linkin Park Singer and

Chris Cornel., singer songwriter of notable Soundgarden killed themselves recently.

Can we admit there is a certain kind of childishness that is perpetuated in pop culture, but Western (colonialist) culture in general ? Can you adults, and maybe even you younger people, recognize that much of the music that gets popular is, for grown-ups, merely a nostalgic replaying of childhood?

I remember when Punk Rock started to become normalized, or rather, when it became noticeably normalized: Grunge (what lead the way into what we now generalize into Alternative Music, if not the whole rock scene we know now), but it was really earlier when people realized that childhood rebellion was a way to make money (think Sex Pistols). Grunge was just the last ditch effort to reinstate a kind of musical legitimacy in childhood rebellion, and in full view of the irony of its situation.

Now we just view everything as potential commercial product. We allow the children their confused rantings of insecurity, indeed enacourage them to remain intheir childhood well into adulthood, because now we know it merely means childhood, and we probably figure that we can let them process their childhood in whatever way they want (even if it means their whole life long) and its all good. I would venture to say that it is because we all had our childhood noticed in the most commercial way yet for the time; our generation was the one that said it was now OK to commercialize childhood insecurity, to make their expressions recognized and permissible commercial products. We ‘buy ourselves’ over and over; perhaps this is symptomatic of a declining system: More and more the civilian becomes ‘adult’ by attempting to retain childhood, as opposed to relinquishing it. 

But, one of the problems is that our generation, the one that is ‘mature’ now, has not relinquished their own childhood. They project their ‘lost youth’ from the nostalgia of the cute desperation of youth into the ‘all is good’ artistic therapeutic expression, and we all get to relive our youth vicariously through mass media.

So in a way, we allow for the occasional suicide of artists by systematically promoting artists to glamourize their innermost frustrations and insecurities. We must figure that a few sacrifices is OK for the ‘it is what it is’ goodness of the reality we create (or created). And it is indeed all good if we whole heartedly sympathize with the ‘lost artist whos life was cut short’, and morn systematically through the media that exploits the very event of desperation and suicide.

Now; the irony of this whole thing is that I am not making an argument that we should stop this or somehow it is bad; they already tried to apply some ethics to the ‘bad system’. I’m saying that it is indeed good that we recognize that childhood is filled with insecurities and confusion and let them get it out. As adults, though, we need to use this information more effectively. Rather than simply enjoying the nostalgia of our youth as adults projecting our left behind and unresolved youthful confusions for our children to play out again and again so we and them can make a colonialized profit from them, maybe we should use it more productively, see what information we can gather from such motions, predictable motions, so that we can better understand just what human beings do, and what exactly culture is and what it does.

Sure; enjoy our own misfortunes through others, but lets get practical about what is occurring — for the future humanity and their children.

Regardless of what ‘humanity’ people what to prescribe to, these artists were not living for themselves, unlike so much of their audiences.