The Slow Suicide

The average person thinks of themselves as an individual pursuing a unique path for their life. They believe that everything they face is completely new and unknown to others. They see themselves not only as separate from the world, but also free from human sociology and the patterns that nearly all people submit to out of laziness, a lack of introspection, and a desire for easy answers.

Most importantly, they believe that they choose new outcomes instead of falling into them as a result of decisions and evasions made years ago. This is where most people have a blind spot while at the same time becoming transparent to others. Their belief in individuality acts as a religious narcotic that makes them so falsely self-assured about their independence that they cannot see the forces of the past that guide their future. In beautiful irony, it is precisely the ability to see how their past creates their present that they need in order to become independent. Instead of becoming independent, they merely bestow the title upon themselves and indulge in the delusion of faith.

This spectacle is what makes it so difficult to watch or even know about people's lives as they move through stages towards a destructive outcome that is already secured by their present motion and the boundaries of the past that they have neither confronted nor altered. After knowing enough of the initial starting points, we can accurately plot the trajectory of the outcome and its potential for variation. We can also work the equation backwards, knowing the present and uncovering aspects about their personality and past that they never told us but are essential contributions to the equation and thus reveal themselves (e.g. trauma in the past, abuse, lack of trust, neediness, submissiveness, the nature of their family environment, etc). If the inevitable result of their current path is a negative one, we then face the existential vacuum of communicating with someone who is masked from the world by a one-way mirror. We, and all others, can see the entire world and it is clear how the future will play out for this person, yet the person who has to suffer this fate is unable to see and only gets illusory reflections of steadiness until the event strikes, at which time they seem surprised. Despite that we don't have to endure the harm of the situation, the gradual progression towards the conclusion combined with the unawareness of the subject makes us uncomfortable and anxious, which is made worse because we know the outcome yet are completely unable to communicate anything effective to prevent it from occurring.

It is both fascinating and disappointing to watch adolescents blossom into young adults with potential and then within a few years turn into old, tired, resigned adults who merely endure life and all that happens to them. They once had fresh ideas for how they wanted their lives to be. They once wanted to create new realities and achieve great acts, but those dreams quickly passed and now they wish only to gesture superficially at such things while they focus on emulating the comfortable inertia of their parents. And who could really care about inspiration and new worlds when one could always be safely busy with incessant toil, having obligation and schedules as a perpetual master so they don't have to face the burden of infinite possibility? In order to avoid their dreams, they allow themselves to be robbed of their potential -- even provoking their desired loss -- so they can serve without hope and smugly embrace the fatalism they have brought upon themselves.

It is always external duty and obligation that causes the slow suicide of our spirit.

August 22, 2001