Saturday, October 10, 2015

Written Dialogue: Loneliness

Zach: I think this will be the last of a series of topics I choose in order to help people relate to me and my philosophy. Having made enough episodes in order to convey who I am to people (this being the last one), I can now choose topics in a more distanced way, or engage more vigorously in what topics you have chosen, trying to nurture them into being as compelling as possible. A whole episode devoted to loneliness and I will have made my peace with conveying my inner nature to the audience.


So loneliness is yet another topic which has only been addressed objectively by a Jungian, so far as I know, of course. But it makes me proud to have Robert A. Johnson as my hero, because he specifically talks about loneliness in his last book, Inner Gold - Understanding Psychological Projection. He explains that there are three kinds of loneliness - loneliness for the past, loneliness for what has not yet been realized, and the profound loneliness of being close to God.

Once again, Johnson's book is small, but it packs a punch. No one has been more helpful to me in helping me deal with my loneliness. He's able to straddle the whole domain of loneliness, from the existential point of emptiness and meaninglessness, to the understanding of the impact on society of those who are strong enough to endure themselves through all darkness.

I'm now rereading the book to try to become more in command of its subject matter. Experience shows that it's hard to do justice to written words in audio format, so I'm going to put more work into it this time.


Ethan: I look forward to this discussion. Our conversations about Johnson have the potential to be very informative because he is such a little-known author. I suspect it will help for you to provide somewhat of an outline of the book. Beyond that, it may help to have me read some or all of it.  I will try to respond to the themes here, but I imagine that after you have read it and regurgitated some of the information in your own written words, we will be able to engage with the topic much more deeply and fluidly. 

First off, I am intrigued by your opening paragraph. I had no idea you were choosing topics deliberately. I thought, rather, that you chose topics based on questions and thoughts that occurred to you during the week. Having a program of sorts to summarize yourself is impressive and intriguing. May I ask what the other episodes were?

Three kinds of loneliness...it's tempting at first to restate this distinction, respectively, as follows: past, future, and present (or eternal time). As seems to happen, our topics are crossing paths here. My "sense of potentialities" is closely tied to this triad: the past as memory, the future as projection, and the present as a vital combination of the two.

Deleuze echoes Nietzsche when he speaks about this immanent individuation being a continual repetition of that which is different. Slightly off-topic, I know. Plus, my understanding of this stuff is still developing. So perhaps I have no other reason to go to this uncharted territory than that I find myself lately drawn to the following writing: Section 4c of the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on Deleuze, titled "Repetition and Time." (http://www.iep.utm.edu/deleuze/#SH4c). By all means, ignore this sidetrack if you wish.

One question for you, and then some general questions. What type of loneliness do you most identify with? I think I know, but I'm curious if my instincts are right. Is loneliness a choice? How does this all relate to death? The past is dead possibility. The future is unborn possibility. And death itself, if you ask me, is a return to God, to the oneness of the universe. In this sense, there is a certain loneliness to life, which is characterized by differentiation, by the crystallization of matter, and by a tension that works against the universe. The universe is cooling down, releasing energy, whereas life is itself energy consuming and heat-generating. Is the third kind of loneliness related to the fact that, as a living thing, we have betrayed God and He has betrayed us? Isn't the answer to this loneliness encompassed in the act of finding another living thing to devote oneself to, to love and touch and hold and be held by, to procreate with? For procreation seems a direct assault against God, at least as I have defined Him. I may be off the mark here, in terms of defining God in this way, but I suspect that the meat of what I am saying holds closely to your chosen topic. If it helps, just replace God with Oneness or with The Universe.


Zach: The book: I'll bring it to you upon request.

First off, I am intrigued by your opening paragraph. I had no idea you were choosing topics deliberately. I thought, rather, that you chose topics based on questions and thoughts that occurred to you during the week. Having a program of sorts to summarize yourself is impressive and intriguing. May I ask what the other episodes were?

It's been happening without it being a program per se. Here's the explanation: There's a part of me which has been rather wounded because I haven't been able to explain myself to the world very clearly. Somehow I feel like this has subsided. In the most recent episode (Isolation vs Individual Power) for example, I once again claim parts of my worldview that I've talked about before - self reliance, the importance of the individual. For a long time I've felt like I wasn't able to clearly articulate this as my philosophy. Over all of our shows, in scattered bits and pieces, I've been able to do that now. And the result is that my wound has been healing. I understand how to explain myself to someone who is very opposite to me now, using normal language and ideas available to normal people. When it is woundedness, it seeks healing unconsciously and involuntarily. So there was no way I could have prevented myself from choosing these topics and talking about these things. But now that I've talked about them a lot, and the world hasn't ended, it's like my psyche has been able to restore peace to that area of myself. I feel that my general positions about myself have been stated. Therefore the unconscious urgency is subsiding. All I need to do is directly confront the topic of loneliness, talking about how loneliness per se can make people hate a person, because it reminds them of their own vulnerability to this condition. But because the world is so complicated, loneliness doesn't necessarily imply weakness. It can be a good thing, and necessary for the development of individual thought. I need to state that even loneliness itself is a heresy I embrace.


Three kinds of loneliness...it's tempting at first to restate this distinction, respectively, as follows: past, future, and present (or eternal time). As seems to happen, our topics are crossing paths here. My "sense of potentialities" is closely tied to this triad: the past as memory, the future as projection, and the present as a vital combination of the two.

Yeah, this is the airy philosophical route. I'm not against this per se. In fact, adding some air to this particular conversation may be useful.

Deleuze echoes Nietzsche when he speaks about this immanent individuation being a continual repetition of that which is different. Slightly off-topic, I know. Plus, my understanding of this stuff is still developing. So perhaps I have no other reason to go to this uncharted territory than that I find myself lately drawn to the following writing: Section 4c of the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on Deleuze, titled "Repetition and Time." (http://www.iep.utm.edu/deleuze/#SH4c). By all means, ignore this sidetrack if you wish.

I like the writing. It's as if Nietzsche and Deleuze are trying to solve the same problem I have but from a philosophical point of view instead of a "mystical" one. I can feel the "gist" of these arguments even though the lack of examples makes it hard to understand them directly (a very common feature of most of Deleuze's writing, to me).

One question for you, and then some general questions. What type of loneliness do you most identify with? I think I know, but I'm curious if my instincts are right.

Well, mostly being close to God. This is a way of saying that loneliness is not always the result of wrong choices, and can often be the result of many right ones.  

Is loneliness a choice? How does this all relate to death? The past is dead possibility. The future is unborn possibility. And death itself, if you ask me, is a return to God, to the oneness of the universe.

There's two kinds of death: biological and psychic. Your definition fits the latter more than the former.

In this sense, there is a certain loneliness to life, which is characterized by differentiation, by the crystallization of matter, and by a tension that works against the universe. The universe is cooling down, releasing energy, whereas life is itself energy consuming and heat-generating. Is the third kind of loneliness related to the fact that, as a living thing, we have betrayed God and He has betrayed us?

I don't think so. I think that genuine awareness of reality (i.e. being close to God) is something that is hard to experience in the company of lots of other people. 

Isn't the answer to this loneliness encompassed in the act of finding another living thing to devote oneself to, to love and touch and hold and be held by, to procreate with?

It's exactly the opposite. The answer is to endure the loneliness without trying to escape it. Saying it's close to God means that it is okay to experience this process, that it is not to be condemned, simply because it is the worst kind of pain.

For procreation seems a direct assault against God, at least as I have defined Him.

Well, Johnson never uses God to mean "enemy." Your definition of God is rather narrow actually. I'm not sure a person is likely to win a fight against God regardless.

I may be off the mark here, in terms of defining God in this way, but I suspect that the meat of what I am saying holds closely to your chosen topic. If it helps, just replace God with Oneness or with The Universe.


I'm not sure. Something in me feels like you're missing the point, but maybe I'm the one missing the point.

No comments:

Post a Comment