Being entombed in your own self-centeredness is not at all pleasurable, believe me. It’s a lonely prison cell, where the pass-code for exit is constantly altered, vapourising escape plans.
But the likelihood is, if you’re a decade or so younger than I, you know exactly what I mean already. I can’t be sure I’m right here, but scrolling the Tumblr and Pinterest profiles, it seems that society has produced a 18-24 age group, who a large proportion of seem locked in these aspiration-cum-desperation cells. Poor bastards – that’s how I feel about most of those ten year younger than me.
The cell is like a snow-globe, settled, shook up, settled, and shook up again; as the rebounded echoes of one’s hopes and desires are energised in a tightly sealed space, only for inevitable exhaustion by the inability for this energy to escape and materialise into anything (except art – “everyone’s an artist nowadays!”), and everything settles down into the same inert, cold, dead space; enducing the wasteland of depression.
But I feel wrong even ascribing a wider-social context to this condition. Maybe it feels wrong because at the times I find myself aware of my self-entombment, I am usually feeling at my most alone, alienated, and possessing a freakish, weirdo mind, and thus feeling immense shame. “What a fool I am thinking others are like this – I’m such a screwed up weirdo” (and then the lyrics from Just, by Radiohead, “you do it to yourself, you and no-one else” start pouring into my mind; chit chattering as a fluid of fatalist failure ferments all thought).
Why is shame felt? Why when ‘the downer’ catches you out in the middle of the day, in the middle of town, why is it shame that seems to hang from the flesh, making you feel as exposed as if you were naked?” It may sound ironic but when you’re entombed in self-centeredness you can’t actually locate a self. I don’t mean here, or believe in, the idea of a core person-hood that stays unaltered from birth to death; but I do mean at least a core security construction within a person that they can rely on.
For those entombed in self-centeredness there is nothing to rely on, no place of safety to rest in, when one’s person is attacked or thrown into a disorientating situation. Such a sense of self actually comes from interacting with and feeling part of the world; a secure self comes from that self being able to be porous to all that surrounds it – saturated by it at times.
The entombed self-centered person is envious when they see people touching, hugging, interacting, doing, and building things, seemingly without thought. He/she’s thoughts are always over-thoughts, unnecessarily rebounded contemplations of things that he/she is sure others don’t even contemplate. He/she retreats into depressive-pleasure-seeking every day instead, and the nihilist-pleasure compound of late capitalism yet again seems like the only world, and one he/she increasingly depends on when the external world looks more fucked up by the day. The only solution seems to be to share the burden – but the cell walls seem to respond like vinamold around attempts to escape them. He/she wished they could build something, join hands and build something. But art is the only thing the entombed self-centered person can produce; cave paintings, mere images of the world, painted within the cell.
Is this a externally-enduced condition that has then freed itself from it’s causation, only leaving the atomised self to answer for problems that arise? Well, surely under a dominant belief system that negates society for the individual when it comes down to success, achievement, wealth, well surely the opposite (perceived shortcomings) cannot help but becoming the individual’s burden?
Personally speaking, I have found myself caught between academia and personal experience, and find myself merely hoping my personalised analysis is somehow spotted and incorporated by one of the professionals into their own theoretical discourse – X Factor society or what?! (see here). I have found myself within a constructed reality that is way beyond comprehension for me (just hoping the theorists I quote can pick my unseen blogging-batton up). It is certainly a political issue, but explaining this to friends/family (to anyone) when the shit hits the fan (mentally) – as it is clearly doing right now – has proven unsuccesful so far. Where do I go from here?