“As a young man I was scornful about the supernatural but as I have got older, the sharp line that divided the credible from the incredible has tended to blur; I am aware that the whole world is slightly incredible”
― Colin Wilson
How do you integrate into the whole?
Do you feel a part of it all or orbiting the periphery? Or somewhere in between?
Do you have one leg in and one leg out, doing the hokey pokey? Or are you straddling it?
Are you seeking a way to be IN, but feel as though all your attempts are in vain because you always seem to be OUT? Or are you Out and In and ripped apart?
“I want to be ripped apart by music. I want it to be something that feeds and replenishes, or that totally sucks the life out of you. I want to be dashed against the rocks.”
― Jeff Buckley
Have you ever looked at the trends, the fads, the hot topics and fashions, which are in season, popular, and… just wondered what all the fuss was about.
Have you ever felt out of sync, out of season, off-season… and been unsure whether to stick with your flow or…
Or contemplated joining in, but then couldn’t be bothered because the moment you join in, jump on the bandwagon, become in-season… it all moves on to the next thing, discarding the old for something new and improved? And you get discarded with it unless you keep up.
Just when you thought you were IN they throw you OUT, and just when you thought you were OUT they pull you back IN… only to reject you or leave you in the dust of their ever wandering hearts and minds.
Humans are a fickle and frivolous lot.
“No matter how honest scientists think they are, they are still influenced by various unconscious assumptions that prevent them from attaining true objectivity. Expressed in a sentence, Fort’s principle goes something like this: People with a psychological need to believe in marvels are no more prejudiced and gullible than people with a psychological need not to believe in marvels.”
― Colin Wilson
This is nothing new, it’s as old as our race – the human race which embraces all races (while rejecting them all except… that one which it favours for now, but will at some point turn against too for some seasonal reason), and runs amok… does anyone ever finish or win this race?
We’re all exhausted and tired from running in it, but we have to keep going… towards some line in the distance which gets further away with each step we take closer to it.
“Practice makes perfect, but nobody’s perfect, so why practice?”
― Kurt Cobain
One minute something or someone is IN, and the next minute it and they are OUT.
Sometimes it is IN because it is OUT, and sometimes it is OUT because it is IN.
It’s easy to lose the plot… but hard not to follow it anyway.
You don’t want to be left out or behind, do you?
“As Colin Wilson pointed out decades ago, modern man suffers from what he calls ‘the fallacy of insignificance’, the sense that nothing we do really matters, that life is meaningless, and that, in the long run, ‘you can’t win’.”
― Gary Lachman
On and on the merry-go-round goes, where and when it stops, nobody knows.
Stop the world I want to get off!
The world has stopped for you so that you can get off…
I don’t want to! I only wanted to get off when I couldn’t, now that I can… I’ve changed my mind about it, I want to stay with you (and bitch about being stuck with you!).
“Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.”
― Stealers Wheels
We all want to belong to the group, but when we’re part of the group we want our independence.
We hate co-dependence when we’re labeled as the co-dependent, but… we like it when others depend on us because we’re dependable, they rely on us and that means we’re needed, useful, valuable, important. We have power over others because they’re giving it to us by needing us… but we don’t like it so much when they have power over us because we need them – but we need them to need us.
We’re all charlatans selling and buying snake oil, miracle cures and other magic. Like love. Come to me I have unconditional love to offer, but this unconditional love has conditions – if you don’t appreciate it I will get very sad and angry, and I may take it away from you. I love you unconditionally on the condition that you understand what my unconditional love is worth.
“The self is who we truly are, but the persona or mask (the word comes from the Latin for an actor’s mask) is the face we turn to the world in order to deal with it. A persona is absolutely necessary, but the problem is that we often become identified with it, to the detriment of our self, a dilemma that the existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre recognized in his notion of mauvaise foi, or “bad faith,” when one becomes associated exclusively with one’s social role.”
― Gary Lachman
Take blogging, for instance.
If you create a blog… then what?
Creating a blog is easy (just follow these numbered steps) but does not immediately make you a part of the blogging community – you have to earn that and work damn hard at it. No one warned me about this… you’re human, you were born warned!
How do I belong to the blogging commune (cult)?
You follow a bunch of other blogs, ‘Like’ their posts, comment with something that caters to the ego of the blogger you’re wooing, and… they will perhaps follow you back, ‘Like’ your posts, and comment with something that strokes your ego back the way you stroked theirs only not as much because there’s a heirarchy.
“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”
― Noam Chomsky
That is… hard work, but you’re promised a pay-off in blogging terms, at least within the blogging community.
But… yes, there is a but…
The acceptance you may get from the blogging community comes at a price – you have to keep doing what you’re doing, stroking egos and whatnot. More and more and more… because egos are always starving and hungry for more…until you’re doing it all automatically.
Much of social media is like this. Much of social interaction is like this.
Slice open the vein and let others drink until they have their fill (which is never and then they complain that you’re all dried up).
Reading advice on how to be a successful blogger is like… perusing a manual on how to be a narcissist.
We focus on the immediate to get results. Fake it to make it. To get our stats humming and buzzing. To feel as though we are a part of something, a group, community.
That group will dump you the minute you stop doing what you’ve been doing to be a part of it. Maybe they’ll dump you because you’ve done too well, and perhaps out-shined them at it. Who do you think you are!?! Independent or something?
“Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.”
― Pema Chödrön
I’ve been around in the blogosphere and social media circuit for a while. I’ve seen bloggers rise, meteorically sometimes, then fall… often by falling on their own sword – they’ve had enough, they’ve overreached themselves, over-stretched to grasp at the trophy, and they’re exhausted!
Blogging is fun, but it can also be everything else which life can be. It is a mirror of our life, ourselves… and sometimes that mirror is one into which we no longer want to look.
“When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart.”
― William Gibson
Frankly I’ve only survived this long because my focus has been elsewhere, and because of how I approach everything – in a slightly distracted, scatterbrained manner. I have no idea what I’m doing… and that protects me from it all, even when it exposes me.
I was a lurker long before I became a participant. Even though I entered the non-lurker-sphere… I’m still a lurker at heart.
My loyalties lie with lurkers…
However not all lurkers are created equal… all depends on why you lurk.
“Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows.”
― David Foster Wallace
So… my loyalty is conditional… I’m human… can’t get over it without killing it!
But online it may embrace those I would have a hard time embracing offline. Perhaps that’s the gift of doing things this way and being a part of this… this whole integrates in a way no other whole can or wants to.
Kind of cool…
“See you in the funny pages…mate”
― Daniel H. Wilson
One of my most popular posts, which has lifted this blog out of obscurity, is:
Are You A Magnet For Narcissists – posted on this blog on July 20, 2013
To date this post has received:
- 94,015 views
- 35 shares on Twitter
- 527 share on Facebook
- 3 shares on Pinterest
- 57 ‘Likes’ on WordPress
- and a lot of comments
- and many people have linked to this post in their posts and articles online
- on tumblr this has received 57 notes
Does this post integrate me into a whole?
Ummm… (some people hate it when you punctuate stuff with um).
In some ways it does.
“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
― Pema Chödrön
But what does that mean?
It simply means that what I shared… others share too in some way. My story is their story. The individual is part of the whole made up of other individuals, and can empathise and feel what others feel and live, because we all have much in common even when we are worlds apart.
We are apart = a part.
They may share that with me, with others, or keep it to themselves.
They may love me or hate me for it. Love or hate it. ‘Like’ or not. Or be indifferent after a quick perusal to ascertain what to be or not to be.
Chances are they don’t care about me, don’t even know who ‘me’ is, who created the words with which they resonate or don’t resonate, as far as the me behind this post is concerned. They care about themselves, about others who mean something to themselves, and what this means for them.
What it means about their part in the whole, and others part in their whole.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein
It’s kind of interesting…
to this me…
that what pulled me out of social media obscurity, long before I had this WordPress and posted – Are you a Magnet for Narcissists? – and other posts of that ilk (which get attention because they happened to coincide with a growing hot topic trend – Narcissists), here, which got attention…
on tumblr I posted something…
“Living is a horizontal fall.”
― Jean Cocteau
which ended up on tumblr Radar (similar to WordPress’ Freshly Pressed), and overnight caused my tumblr, Damaged and Dangerous, to go from a few followers to thousands… and freaked me out.
There’s nothing like talking to yourself in public and thinking no one else is listening… then realising that others, the public, are listening and (but what are they hearing of what you’re saying…!?!)… EFF! What on earth… oh dear… how awkward!
was a picture, a piece of art, illustration, entitled – Oblivious – by Fernanda Suarez.
The humour was not lost on me…
although the artist who created it did test my humour by being angry at my post and its popularity on my blog. She expressed her angeron her blog, indirectly and passive-aggressively, rather than with me directly, even though I credited her and linked to one of her many social media outlets… I was in the wrong for getting attention which she thought was hers (and rightly so). I confronted her directly, apologised, explained, and made up for things as best as I could considering the attention I received was not one I had intended… she accepted my offerings.
Such is life.
We can sometimes work things out.
You just can’t help but displease… maybe this is your part in the group, how you integrate in the whole!
“What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.”
― Jean Cocteau
“Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double…”
― The Clash
Wow. What a great post. I have to read it again. Maybe three times. 🙂
Thank you very much 🙂
I’m having fun with this series, it’s a bit of a struggle, and I’ve gone astray with it, but there’s always something to be found.
So okay. Twice. It’s only within the last few years that I have felt like I was fitting into anything/anywhere. “Fitting” was just not my thing. Having a fit -now that was different. 😉
Living on the edge was more me. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. It started out as rebellion and grew from there, which is another way of trying to fit in? Teenage angsty stuff?
Thanks – good post. 🙂
Thank you 🙂
I don’t think I ever grew out of the teenage angsty stuff, so I get where you’re coming from. Fitting in is a bit like squeezing yourself into an outfit which claims to be your size but isn’t – it’s a bit too small, chafes, but the size up is too big and doesn’t fit either, chafes in a different way.
But I think we do eventually find our fit, our place… once we realise that nothing is ever going to fit perfectly. We’re just sort of here and now as are others. Just be yourself, and that’s a fit of sorts and creates its own environment. One which others often find to be a welcome home away from home 😉
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