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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat

: TAW wk 02 - identity

This has been an intense week, full of very high highs and sorrowful lows. Most of the time I have been trying to juggle the preparation for the York Open Studios event that you can see here; a very painful muscle in my back where probably I have stored a lot of tension; and a generic sense of loneliness and deep sadness. I have been having certain realisations regarding my feeling of isolation and how I have, up to now, combined my sense of cosmic/metaphysical loneliness, with the temporal, earthly, emotional loneliness of not having a partner or a family. I am deeply believing that if I work on my metaphysical and epistemological loneliness, the other one will sort itself out. Regarding this, I have found it extremely interesting reading an article by John G McGraw titled: God and the Problem of Loneliness which you should be able to find here. He describes the different types of isolations, as 1. metaphysical; 2. epistemological; 3. communicative; 4. ontological; 5. ethical; 6. existential; 7. emotional & social; 8. cultural; and 9. cosmic.

The one that I feel closer to (besides that emotional/social one and the Mother of All - i.e. metaphysical) is the ethical one. I never saw it that way but it makes a lot of sense. I value freedom overall as the most important quality and standard to abide by. Freedom, though, implies that there are places I need to go to, people I want to talk to, things I want to do which leave others behind. There is an urge of being free, within me. And Freedom brings Loneliness (see Sartre!), it's the other side of the coin. You can't have both, a partner and freedom. Or children and freedom. Freedom goes hand in hand with solitude, which can be perceived and experienced as loneliness. In those moments of isolation, we need to face what Nietzche calls the 7 demons: turning into a heretic, a witch, a soothsayer, a fool, a doubter, an unholy and a villain.

How many times have I been shifting, changing, morphing into any of these 7 devils? How many times, I have changed my religion, rules, plans; believed in new things, disregard old ideas, sold my soul to the easiest theory, trusted gimmicky hypothesis, tried new approaches hoping they'd worked, decided that being angry/cool/swearing was my way to do coz it was sexy... all because of loneliness.

They say that only who can be alone, only those capable of solitude, are worthy of a community. Let's see where this new awareness is taking me... Especially, now with a more grounded and newly (re)found faith that I am looking at the figure of Jesus as the epithomy of the ethical loneliness. He had a plan, he had something to do and he did it no matter who he had around. And most of the times he was there alone, because everyone else deserted him, or did not understand, or believed in him. Still, he showed up. Doing what had to be done. He asks us to leave everything behind: family, a job, friends, land; and to follow him. Renouncing everything. What I find personally comforting in all of this, is that in this instance the moral and ethical loneliness comes together with a plan: it comes with a meaning and a purpose. And this is what I am working on. In that loneliness that comes because of freedom of choice, when supported by an aim and a purpose, it will be easier to find myself left in the desert to face my 7 demons.

I then think that this answers perfectly my facing all the demons personified in whoever questions me on my journey, the ones not believing in what I am doing, nor in the choices I am making, the ones questioning how I use my time, how much I write, why I don't find myself a "decent" job; the ones who know how to finger-point, who critique incessantly; the skeptics, the ones who know how to raise their eyebrows to perfection. So, unless someone is prepared to listen and to encourage, I do not want them as members of my tribe.

Well, I hope I'll see you around.


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