“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
I am not… repeat NOT… a social human animal. I absolutely love being alone. The idea of being shipwrecked on a desert island sounds blissful (I couldn’t relate one bit to Tom Hanks in that shipwreckee talking to a football film), sure it’s hard core survival, but that’s kind of fun and if I die, so be it, I’ll have no one to blame but myself and I’ll be dead so allocating and dealing with blame won’t be an issue. Death can sound pretty blissful too, especially when the other choice is socialising.
Saying things like that can make me a socially awkward companion. Am I joking, am I serious, either way… and the fact that telling the difference between the two is a problem… means that I’m not comfortable company.
I love people, and think all humans, for the most part, are fascinating and lovely, however I prefer to admire them (us) from a distance. Up close and personal is something which I find a bit overwhelming due to the amount of focus, amongst other things, which it requires of me.
A large percentage of the focus is on not saying what I’m really thinking because my mind is a tad knife-like – cutting to the chase in a totally tactless manner.
Tell me about the problems you’re having with someone else who is not being who you want and need them to be for you… and I will suggest that perhaps, maybe, you’re being a tad narcissistic and egocentric. Which is normal for all humans… and maybe, perhaps if you saw the relationship from their point of view as well as yours rather than just from your viewpoint (or your point of view disguised as empathy which isn’t real empathy – because you’re still part of the equation, and you’re still making yourself the major part of it), the problems would get solved or at least be on their way to getting solved.
But that’s not what you want to hear, is it. And I am aware of that… that awareness creates a conflict which can be exhausting.
And when my mind is not being knife-like, it’s being a complete nutcase. Sometimes the two things are the same. Tell me about a personal problem and I may offer you a solution which borders on the objectionable ridiculous – What about not making it all about you, or all about them, what about seeing it as a part of a global interconnectedness. What you do with this one relationship ripples out into your relationship with life, the world, and the universe.
When I see Daily Post prompts like these:
Plead the Fifth – What question do you hate to be asked? Why?
Circle of Five – A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?
I connect the two, and not just because they both have the number 5 in them. Although, that is something to consider… 5 is a magic number, just not the kind of magic made of unicorns and fairies.
And why is the ‘writer’ who is quoted in the second prompt uncredited? That seems to be a bit of a social faux-pas (especially for a social media platform which prides itself on promoting writers and in its Daily Post blogging guides insists on correct crediting of source). A quick search of those exact words gets you this result…
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
― Jim Rohn
(it seems Jim Rohn is one of those people who gets rich and successful by selling his telling of how to be rich and successful to others)
One of the types of questions which I loathe being asked is… for advice. I don’t like giving advice (I have no effing clue what would be the right thing to do, etc, I’m a mess), ergo I don’t like being asked for it… but that’s not the only reason I don’t like being asked for it.
Being asked for advice usually has a long story attached to the asking of it, and the person asking often forgets to listen to themselves as they tell their story, perhaps because they have told this story so many times, within themselves and to others that… they don’t listen anymore… it bores them or it soothes them to tell it, the sound of their own voice telling their story again and again is like a caress, a stroking movement, reassurance of reality… either way, they’ve stopped listening yet have not stopped telling. But they expect you to listen… and hear it the way they want and need you to hear it, then answer them accordingly, with answers that stroke as the story strokes.
The strokes of a story can be mesmerising… to the teller, but not always to the listener of the tale. Especially if the answer to the question lies within the tale itself, and the listener notices that but how do they get that across to the one who is telling the tale but no longer listening to it? And who doesn’t listen to you either…
This quandary has bizarrely made itself manifest in an unreality…
At the moment of the 5 people I am spending the most time with… 3 of them keep asking me questions, for my advice, telling me their story but they are not listening. They can’t listen.
These 3 people are not real people, they’re characters in a video game. They are the best out of a rather annoying (yet very interesting) bunch. A bunch who spend a lot of time talking about themselves, their stories, expecting me (my character – who apparently has by a fluke become saviour of a world – can’t wait for the twist at the end when he turns out to be… going of on a fantastical tangent, oops) to sometimes solve these stories for them. Sure, I’ll stop fighting the good fight against the super evil baddie to go and pick some flowers for you, we have all the time in the world for this and it’s obviously of vital importance to you and so it should be to me and all those people whose lives are in jeopardy as we speak. They also spend a lot of time approving and disapproving of every choice of reply I make to their talk, questions and requirements for advice and intervention in their issues.
This game would be a frigging nightmare (especially for a nonsocial human animal who really doesn’t want to socialise with AI either) if it wasn’t so incredibly beautiful and… nothing you say or do really matters much. It affects gameplay a bit, but not as much as such things affect life when it is real and not the one in a game.
The other day it occurred to me that the 3 people I chose most often to be on my team… were in some way representations of different aspects of myself. That was a weird thing to notice, but insightful.
Blackwell – the overly heavy and serious warrior (who has fallen out of favour due to a whopping lie – I saved his ass from being executed – loyalty and such, but he’s off the team now, replaced by Cassandra, another overly heavy and serious warrior). Cole – the compassionate spirit who accidentally took on human form, and says loads of weird things which he picks up from the ether of human feeling and thought. And Dorian – the hilariously sarcastic gay mage whose parents are narcissists and whose view of the world is the most succinct and no nonsense.
Art imitating life, and through imitating life, taking it into the surreal escapist places, it actually cuts through to the chase of reality.
Sometimes we hear and listen to ourselves more when we don’t feel obliged to do so, when we don’t feel the burden of being ourselves, and when those who are listening aren’t real… when they are real things get complicated, expectation comes to bear and issues are transferred. Once we transfer issues… onto those who are real then they become the problem. But when they are transferred onto those who aren’t real… who knows, maybe we’ll see that we are not just the holders and tellers of our story, the querents… we’re also the ones who listen and have the answers.
“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald