The Scare

I am reconciling myself to the fact that I love my sense of dissatisfaction.

I can never have enough of these wants. There are some things in the world whose ideal form keeps growing on me, and which, for a time, I was not sure how I should indulge. It seemed irrational to want to keep chasing an idea forever. And since it is an idea, and since a true pursuit of an idea will only tantalize me every step of the way as I progress towards the ideal, I am lured to it with an intensely delirious thrill of being tricked forever by a nymph. Like on the edge of a sneeze or the start of a sense of loss, or half-closed eyes in anticipation, or a forced delayed pause of gratification. Something that I want to last forever because I know when I think I’ve arrived, I’ll realize I’ll want more.

In my solitary pursuit of such ideals, strangers are my allies. In strangers I see humanity. They are the abstract of every human that I see. In acquaintances, I see human nature, and since in an individual that nature is defined, limited within that person, after some time I start my search again for something else. While familiarity does not breed contempt, it stagnates without newness elsewhere.  A person cannot be funny enough, passionate enough, wise enough, angry enough, but nameless masses of humanity can be all of those.

When I travel, I briefly sense that possibility of newness. When traveling, I am transplanted from amidst humans that I know, from humans who know me, from those who know of me, into a land of mystery, where I am alone, where I can be whoever I want to be to those brief encounters. This is why solitary travel is addictive. If I travel in a group I am still hanging on to the identity. Of course, all this makes sense only if the starting point of the journey is restrictive in a sense. That is why I understand some of the need, the urge to break out, to be “extra” when traveling. The whoop-whoops of an American spring breaker holidaying in a mass of crowd, the aggressive Indian mentality to try on ill-fitting clothes with childlike joy when liberated of the prying and judgemental eyes back home, those out-of-character mannerisms, affectations, and values. One can, for many reasons, only discover their identities when they are anonymized.

What I don’t understand is the abject surrender to that situation. When I point out the inherent restrictions, be they social, cultural, physical, the need to defend their subterfuge, that refusal to even acknowledge what they themselves practice, is what enrages me. Mostly, these are people claiming they want to change. These are people who think they are in the know but are hiding their intelligence and progressiveness because everyone else is stupid, scared or regressive.

What does it take to break out of this impasse where prudence makes as much sense as pushing the boundary? I do not know. I think it is easy to game the system. It is far tougher and more rewarding to change the system.

I notice myself, more and more, tuning into the hypocrisies exhibited by us than to objective stances that are taken. They are the people with secret lives and opinions who carefully camouflage themselves and carry forward the status quo. I have an especial hatred towards people who willingly assume mantles of whatever groups who exhibit this tendency.

What scares me most is not slavery. What scares me most are humans who do not care enough to fight the human condition.

Is this also why I am so compulsively reclusive? I do not want anybody in my life who will expect anything from me. There are some people, very very few, who command that position. My wife and daughter. Being this way allows me to be myself, to allow myself rooms for mistakes and thrills, to be ideal and passionate, to be right when everyone expects me to be wrong, or to be good when the going is bad. This allows me to talk to my conscience in peace. I am most at peace when I sit within my guilt, anger, desires, and sorrows.

How could I not love them?

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