Part 2 of “The Truth about loneliness“
Let us consider this little story: The man asks his wife whether she cooked dinner in order for him to come into the house and have his meal (considering that the woman is a housewife and their relationship is normal). His wife tells him “the meal will be ready in 5 minutes”. So he keeps at his job for a further 5 minutes and then goes into the house to find that his meal is still not ready. Was his wife a liar or was she merely stating the fact that the meal will be ready soon? Even though good intentions were there on the part of his wife, she did not realise how quickly five minutes went and didn’t have the meal ready on time. In fact the man had to wait a further 10 minutes for the meal to be finally prepared. He lost 10 minutes from the work he was doing and became a little agitated, affecting his relationship and his work for the rest of the day. Are the negative thoughts going through the man’s mind a result of his wife’s miscalculation of time, or were they a result of his impatience and hence inadequacy in toleration.
If we’re so inadequate in simple situations like the above how could we pretend we know what truth is? Why should we torment our lives to something we may never know? And I heard the agnostics say, “I don’t really care what truth is and what a lie is”. Is all we want to consider that we are whatever we are and we will make the best of it so that we can deny ourselves the possibility of leading a tormented life? Do we feel comfortable with what is occurring around us, as we try to avoid situations that affect us negatively and “go with the flow” so to speak? But then why do we need to think and seek?
If I am asking to be accepted in society I have to abide by its laws of co-existence in most cases despite my personal desires, the same as if I was a jungle animal and wanted to be accepted in the habitat. There seems to be a natural need for the one to be part of the whole whilst the whole needs to be composed by many the one in order to exist.
Aristotle in “On the Soul” explains what is natural and the different kinds of nature for the various living things. “Plants have the capacity for nourishment and reproduction, the minimum that must be possessed by any kind of living organism. Lower animals have, in addition, the powers of sense-perception and self-motion (action). Humans have all these as well as intellect“. With the use of intellect humans can continue to grow in knowledge and discovery of the world around them. The world around them feeding their existence with oxygen, water, food, earth, sun etc. The world around them being nature. The world around them forming the whole without which we cannot exist, and the whole without each of its parts cannot exist. Even in thought we are attached to nature and its parts, even when in fantasy. Hence we cannot detach ourselves from nature, we revolve around its processes and mechanisms, we feed off them and in return we should supply a creation in the ways of nature in order to live in harmony with our surroundings. However as nature does not feel sympathy for any of its parts, does not forgive nor favor any of its ever evolving matter or values in order to be in complete harmony, don’t we need to have similar characteristics?
Let’s make another assumption: For those very few in our midst who can hang on to true natural values (whatever these are) regardless of consequences, the road is full of thorns and obstacles, which sometimes seem insurmountable. Those few brave enough to keep going would first have to prove to themselves they adore honesty and truth more than their own life and as a way of being at ease with their conscious; a truth that doesn’t consider favoritism to friends or relatives, evolves beyond the cause of co-operation for the sake of survival and carries no limits even when it comes to self-preservation or individual benefit. And finally recognising that the unit can be expandable the whole cannot. If we try to challenge this natural structure we’re doomed to failure from the start. But is nature the representation of truth and what is natural?
If it is truth a great number of people desperately seek, or strive for but fall short of their goal, this may be on account of the odds against their personal strength; if we discount the fact that truth may never be found. However the search needs to go on.
Let’s assume that a person can live by what they think it’s the truth. In order to really live by the truth means that you must approach yourself detached from your needs, in fact you are asked to be cruel; firstly to yourself, then to those who you love most, even to the rest of your friends in the extended circle. That is unless everyone around you also lives by the truth, something that in reality looks impossible. A deduction here can mean the weak at heart can never be cruel, especially to themselves, hence they can never be brave, can never live in harmony with nature. But can it be said that the weak are a parasite of nature? Truth has the capacity of either making one great or killing them in the process.
There’s more here to think about, a whole lot more. When we decide to follow honesty in our lives we cannot look back, like it is with every virtue. The path is only forward and there’s an inherent need to work out every step of the way how we’re going to accomplish the next goal avoiding a fallout of nature’s beliefs and values; and we need to have a vision we believe in, otherwise we don’t know whether we’ve reached a goal even if we get there.
After all the above another question remains: “can one hope for spiritual completeness by walking down the path of what they believe to be righteous and honest?” Would they know if they arrived at the desired destination? How? The answers could lay in one’s strengths and weaknesses.
I am almost sure I have made some thinkers tired here. Even in my writings, I must be honest and straight forward with my thoughts and sentences which seem so unclear. I have to be honest about what it is that makes me seek truth (if I am) not just attempt to express it without first having experienced it.
With age comes knowledge and experience. And again beware: in knowledge one can learn more than what is good for them; another topic that needs more analysis. One can learn about things and situations that cause serious damage to one’s sense of logical thinking. If this happens it is real progress, but it is not the goal, it is not the destination. It is in those circumstances that the strong (few) need to keep going forward whilst the weak (many) drop off and become a burden of society and to themselves. In extreme situations, whether walking down the path of righteousness or wrongfulness, the weak few can end up becoming disturbed. A disturbed person can easily resort to crime. This is because they need to survive just like everyone else and their mind cannot provide the necessary logical thinking that crime has a dead end. They have found they cannot survive by following the one natural path, because they’re not strong enough to uphold the thought (not teaching) that there’s no truth in their thoughts and actions unless they harmoniously follow what is natural. Their needs continuously clash with those in their environment; they cannot survive as part of a whole. This is why a plethora of what one perceives as needs can be damaging to one’s harmonious co-existence. The unit becomes a disturbance to the whole which then gets rejected.
These days, when I look around me, I see no organic friends, I find hardly anyone to talk to with a degree of honesty. And when I talk about honesty I mean honesty in one’s own perception. When I talk honestly with someone, I get that strange look so well known to me. When I talk about organic friendship I talk about continuous intellectual challenge and debate in order to seek finer ideals, whether for the self or the whole. Let us avoid examining this strange situation here for another time. Loneliness though can really be suicidal. My friends are so seldom and far apart that I cannot call them organic friends. Not the way I perceive friendship.
As a parenthesis I can say that the logically thinking person will ask “what do I perceive friendship to be?”. Well, if friendship is not challenging it will not last, in my mind. If in friendship there’s no debate and a certain degree of antithesis it will relinquish itself to insignificance, even hate. A good friend is one that thinks and seeks improvement as a result of thought. A good friend is not only a carrier of euphemism and praise. Final praise is not meant for the unit, praise has to be mainly for the whole. When the whole is praised then the unit is also praised indirectly. A good friend is a strong advocate of value in challenge.
At times I want to look at my friends in the eye and ask them to tell me what they really feel about me. What I expect they will express is something that is not entirely reflecting what I am. I expect they will be expressing a misconception, or even worse something they concluded out of need or personal benefit. Other times I do not believe they are even interested in finding out whether they’re on the right path. What kind of friendship can that develop to be?
Arriving closer to the end of my solitary discussion (monologue) here, it is paramount that I show honesty to my nature as indicated earlier. Have I really provided any answers? Have I been challenging enough? How can I know what others feel when I don’t know what I feel? One thing that is certain, today and now I am discovering myself and the discovery is not a pretty one. Am I brave enough to accept it? If not, I could perish one day with the thought that I am not what I wanted to be from the start. If I accept it then there’s no improvement after all these years. OK I can assume that with stability, measure and balance there can be a longer existence. That is because there’s a smaller chance that I will clash with the forces of nature. With longer existence I increase my chances of influence. But first I need to evaluate and judge myself and measure the result; because how can I judge anyone if I cannot judge myself?
Today and now I have been judging myself and I have found me wanting. I found me insecure, perhaps unstable. How can I tell when something I think is or isn’t an attempt at offending honesty when all the above assumptions exist and can never be fully explained? Today and now I have tried to give an order to myself to stop trying to explain; but I cannot obey me. It is unnatural for me to obey this order. I really need to read more and further than that think.
Iakovos Garivaldis OAM