Sunday, August 17, 2008

Oh Great Principle

You don't start with self-esteem in the tank, it has to be built, grown and invested in. It has to be maintained, it depreciates over time.
Lately, and I mean really recently I've been feeling a bit like this:

There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping you and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there.

Which is a bad sign in my book because Patrick Bateman is the main character of American Psycho, somewhat popular film and book I really want to read in the same way I want to finish Goedel, Escher, Bach an eternal golden braid. Because it seems so few people can. But whereas Goedel, Escher, Bach (GEB) is hard to finish because the mathematical demonstrations of the incompleteness model require greater and greater attention until my feeble unmathematical mind goes pop, American Psycho is the one book where people I respect as having strong stomachs say that 'they felt like vomiting' from reading it. This I can't comprehend, somebody must have read it, out there or at least been given the gist of it by the author. But frankly I'm just curious as to 'how bad can words on a page be*' I can understand not wanting to look at certain graphic pictures, but writing?

Anyway sidetracking aside, my sense of self seems literally diminished, and this caught me off guard as soon as I had figured out what it was that was bugging me. I am disconnected from the community, and not because I have indulged in rampant consumerism.
It seems ironic now, but if I was a consumer this would have forced me to get a steady job in a big office with co-workers and I would feel more connected than working at a small NGO on a temporary short term contract.
Ironically my need to pursue happiness through dead-possessions would put me into more contact with living people.
But what is surprising to me, but not so surprising in hindsight is that I thought I had figured out who I was and what I was good for a year or two ago. But to paraphrase the simpsons we aren't human "beings" but human "doings"
My sense of self needs reinforcing through recognition for what I produce. I need to produce something of value for society.
Where does this leave me? doing the exact same thing I have been doing. But now I am enlightened as to why I actually need to get something done.

*this seems somehow an ironic question to feature on my blog, fortunately the words here aren't printed on pages.

1 comment:

mr_john said...

I haven't read American Psycho, but Glamorama scared the shit out of me and made me feel physically ill in some places...

On a more posting-relevant note: the 9-5 workday can foster a dysfunctional community, but most people work 9-5, so that's where most of the communities are. If you're not going to join a pre-made one, you're going to have to build one yourself... Working is just easier...