Self-abuse

Dec. 24th, 2005 02:07 am
[personal profile] lhexa

To a person who credits no all-judging divinity with the invention of good and evil, what is a sin? My life has given me a good answer: a sin is a misdeed that transforms its victim.

It's not a good metaphor, but it is illustrative: insofar as I cultivate myself, I am well behind the times, which now advise an industrialized mode of agriculture. Rather than drenching myself with tons of water and nitrates, and harvesting from myself tons of produce, I like to spread a rarer fertilizer, on ground long fallow. What I grow could buy no luxuries, and cannot even buy necessities in times of drought; however, to sell is not why I grow, no more than it is the purpose of any other philosopher who dabbles in farming. Having plowed myself into the soil, I expect a special crop. Or -- perhaps I am phrasing this badly, so that you aren't able to discern the mood. When I'm full of shit, something always grows.

I am accustomed to treating myself badly, and I harness self-disgust, and invert anger, as effective means of self-improvement; the vice that can't be attacked in this way acquires a near-archetypal importance in my mind. But you'll hear enough about them -- for now, I'll talk about the ways self-abuse has failed me, and helped me. The term is the right one to use, because although anybody will say that hardships can improve a person, few will consider that those hardships you bring upon yourself, are the ones most suited to you -- and I have brought on quite a few such troubles. To list a few: climbing a mountain while fasting; walking a window-ledge around a building; the sixty hours of consecutive exams back in high school; a spell of isolating myself, my avoidance; gaining entry to a psychiatric ward; my first (and only) sexual encounter, in retrospect a traumatic one; working myself until I can't hold my arm straight; in general, only turning disgust and anger against another person once their effects on me have been exhausted.

To be happy is not the purpose of my life. In fact, I've turned my back quite definitely on happiness. When given the chance for bliss, I've turned it down, ever since getting close and facing that dilemma for the first time. It comes every three months, roughly, the mood that spirals ever upwards, and the circumstances that produce it are consistent, namely a heavy dose of (mostly my own) philosophy. Every time my giddiness reaches a new elevation, the sense of illusion, the sense that in my every action and perception I partake of illusion, grows, leaving me with the impression that I could embrace this state of mind, walk forward, and step beyond the world. It's not an impression that I trust. Instead I deny the desire for an ultimate happiness, even when it's at its strongest. Lesser happiness tends not to fare well, either. This is not to say that happiness is no longer on my list of good things; rather, it no longer holds a high place there.

I'm accidental. Had my father been less of a jerk, or my mother less easily exploited, I wouldn't have happened. I can't summarize how the awareness of this has affected me. But it does relate to what this entry's about. It left me without any desire for reciprocity, specifically, no desire to let my effect on the world be as governed by accident as its influence on me; perhaps it also left me feeling justified in treating myself very differently than I treated any other person. One very specific insecurity, the subject of puzzlement from some, has resulted from all this mistreatment of myself, as I wonder how I would treat a person to whom I owed an intensity of emotion equalling or surpassing that which goes to narcissistic purposes. For the anticipated future it will suffice to say this: I fear, deeply, that in a romantic relationship I would be either false, neglectful, or abusive.

Date: 2005-12-24 10:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_dw/
Extreme happiness, I think, can separate one as much from reality as its opposite, making things seem what they are not.

We may not need one feeling to counter the other, but for both to be diminished; yet, that sounds as if one removes purpose. But if it is only transient purpose, then changing its signals might not be wrong after all.

Date: 2006-01-03 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lhexa.livejournal.com
I prefer not to get involved in the seeming paradoxes, but just note that there are other good things, than happiness.

Date: 2005-12-25 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wickedorin.livejournal.com
I do understand to a point... But not happiness. To be happy is not to be messy--to be too comfortable is to get messy, distracted, disconnected and lazy.

--But then, what the hell do I know about comfort and happiness. Heh.

Date: 2006-01-03 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wickedorin.livejournal.com
"Messy"... *ponders other words* Neglectful... forgetting what as once really important on the grounds of believing other things "should be" more important and talking yourself into making it so. Unwilling and therefore unable to stop and reflect, then improve or fix that which has "gone wrong".

...So for simplicity, I've used "messy". *grin* Articulation of the English language and I... don't get along.

Boy do I hope this makes as much sense as I think it does right now.

Date: 2006-01-04 09:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lhexa.livejournal.com
It does make sense. I like to call the opposite quality, "loyalty to one's past". *grins* But I don't think I should be trusted with naming stuff.

Date: 2006-01-04 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wickedorin.livejournal.com
I shouldn't, either... in case that hasn't already been made obvious...

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