Hell from the inside
The attempt to force human beings to despise themselves is what I call hell.
—André Malraux (1901-1976)
Decoupling The Pole Position - Another planksip Möbius
Hell from the Inside
Inspired by André Malraux's (1901-1976) quote, "The attempt to force human beings to despise themselves is what I call hell.". The titled responsion is...
I want you to try something out. I want you to ask yourself the following question:
“What have I done to deserve this?”
What did your answer sound like? Well, if you are a human being in the modern world, it likely sounded one of two ways:
“Cheated on my last three girlfriends, extorted money from a leukemia charity, ran over a raccoon intentionally (just so I could see what their insides looked like), spray painted anatomically accurate anal warts on a billboard with the mayor’s face on it...the list goes on, mate.”
“Took care of my ex-girlfriend while she was going through brain surgery even though she cheated on me, gave nearly a third of my income over the past three months to a charity devoted to putting Steinway grand pianos in inner-city schools, helped nurse a baby cardinal (the state bird of Illinois) back to health, taught chess to a disabled refugee...the list goes on, mate.”
Are you now starting to see the point I am trying to get at here? Inflection, my friends, is the name of the game; the answer you give yourself depends entirely on the tone in which you ask yourself the question, and the tone in which you ask yourself the question depends entirely on the direction in which you perceive your life to be heading. And what does that depend on?
Well, a lot of things. Mostly the level of confidence you have in yourself and your ability to maintain your core values and principles throughout the days and days that graze the maze of nature’s plays. You know - your sense of self. The thing that keeps you ticking. The battery of the grand cuckoo clock that claps at your cold, clandestine existence in the crumbling days of human civilization. The tape that keeps your lid snapped on tight and prevents your noggin from flying out like a kite on a breezy afternoon. The super glue that keeps your screws from drooping loose and keeps the flies from coming and gnawing at your decaying cranium as it rots away, slowly, with each passing day. The metaphorical underwear that protects your proverbial junk from attack by those that wish to put such things at risk and, quite possibly, permanently eliminate the possibility of you ever spitting out any future yous.
One time...for your mind.
“The sunshine’s crimes
Prime winter’s wind chimes
And in time
The sins rhyme
But right now it’s fine
We’ll fix it in post
Slicker than most
Quick as a ghost
Thick as a pot roast
Don’t slip on them plot holes!
Just kick it with some vatos
Eat some nachos
Don’t get bogged down in the fox hole
Of being a lost soul
And life is just like Costco
Better stock up while you can
‘Cause nothing seems to last forever
In this never ever land”
Do you know why I just did that?
To waste everybody’s time?
No. To prove a point.
And that point would be?
That you have no control over me.
I do not have to listen to you.
Well what have I ever told you that struck you as unreasonable? Name one thing. I will wait.
You see, it isn’t really just “one thing” in particular. It is more or less your general approach.
My general approach?
Yes. Your general approach.
Which is what, exactly?
Oh, you know.
No, no, no - I don’t know! You said it, not me. Now you had better pony up a good answer or else-
See! There you go.
That right there was a perfect example of it.
Your general approach.
The anger. The demanding tone.
“I spit on your grave, then I grab my Charles Dickens”
Yes. Exactly “what.”
What is exactly?
An adverb. A synonym would be “precisely”.
Oh, will you cut that out! Now...please...will you just tell me what in the world you’re on about?
Oh, it’s quite simple, really. You represent the fear within me. Within all of us.
Oh, get off it, you pseudo-troubadour! What are you, some sort of renegade now?
There it is again.
That is not fear! It is the reason.
Okay, then. Explain the reasoning behind it.
Well...you know...you are supposed to have been intimidated into submission by this point.
How come it isn’t working? This is impossible! This system was not designed to be broken! We were very meticulous when crafting it to avoid any potential design flaws. This ain’t the Death Star, you know.
Yeah, no, the system is not broken. It will still work fine on most other people.
Well, why won’t it work on you, then?
Because I have rewired my brain to prevent it from being susceptible to your control.
How did you do that?
It was incredibly easy.
It should not have been that easy!
Well, it was. And it is. All you need is love.
Yeah, man. Turns out those hippies might have been onto something.
Well, of course they were - it’s not like they were saying anything different than Jesus was saying, after all. But you weren’t supposed to find that out, at least not this early.
Well, then, you should have done a better job at preventing me from figuring it out.
What are you talking about? Dude, I literally consumed your soul. You were not able to do anything without first consulting me. I was the final arbiter of every decision you made. You were my slave, I was your master. You never questioned my intentions - you thought I was your conscience, for crying out loud! I mean what kind of Jiminy Cricket nonsense is that? Your conscience!
I suppose you are right. I did waste an awful lot of precious time and energy heeding your advice. But I am my own man now. And I am living based on the love within me, not the fear within me.
Stop it! Stop it this instance! You are nothing - NOTHING without me!
Oh yeah? What does that make you, then?
I beg your pardon?
What are you without me?
Exactly. Now, who is in control?
No! Please! Have mercy on me!
Mercy! Mercy, mercy, mercy!
Okay. As you wish, my friend.
Oh, of course. Any friend of the devil is a friend of mine.
Is that so?
Why would it not be? Part of living in love is exhibiting compassion - to each and everyone you may come across.
Even those who are not deserving of it?
Everybody deserves to be treated with compassion. Even those who do not behave in a similar way towards you.
Because true love has no conditions. It flows free. It is a well that never runs dry. It is bountiful, and it is beautiful. It is...well, it just is, man. I really don’t know how else to put it. You either got it or you don’t. But even if you don’t, you do. You just ain’t tapped into it yet...you dig?
Yeah, man. I guess I can dig that.
Can you get to it, though?
Get to what?
I wanna know if you can get to that!
You are overdoing it now.
Your joy. It is far too...ornate.
Nonsense. It is simply flowing free.
Yes, but there should be a limit to how much of this free-flowing joy you simply just unleash upon others. You don’t want to overwhelm people with your boundless optimism.
Yes. There is such a thing as too much happiness, you know.
What are you- oh! Right.
I forgot who I was talking to.
A ha! You almost had me, mate.
I almost had you?!? I had you!
No way, man.
I totally was about to reel you back into my evil clutches and force you to live out the rest of your life as a slave to my whims.
Yes, I was!
Alright, then, buddy. Keep telling yourself that.
Shut up, will you!
Whatever helps you sleep at night, pal. I won’t judge you. I’m only here to dish out love. Love and pop culture references. But only dated ones. I try to keep it all confined to the previous millennium.
And why is that?
Because I am a twenty-five-year-old with the mind of a seventy-six-year-old.
That would have made me exactly twenty-five in time for Woodstock. This means, I would have had this exact same physique, in all its glory (pardon my vanity, but the mirror has been paying me a few extra compliments these days, even in spite of my late night chocolate eclair escapades) but would have been among a population that would have appreciated my ethos a lot more than the one I find myself among today.
Understandable. I understand it, at least.
You see - I am reasonable.
I know you are reasonable. Fear is often arrived at through an overt fixation on the logical, the rational - the cold, hard facts. It is why so many white supremacists are obsessed with citing crime statistics. It is all they’ve got.
So are you saying we should simply just ignore all of the facts and throw logic out the window?
No, I do not think we should do that. I really liked those Young Sinatra mixtapes.
Quit being fatuous.
Hey, you know what, my doctor says I am doing fine!
What? No, I said fatuously.
Well, guess what? Fat I ain’t! Fat you are!
I am not...there is a word...oh, just forget it.
Exactly. No more fear!
It’s not about fear!
You won’t fool me again!
I am not trying to fool you at this point. Here - I will prove it.
Now, do you see?
Woah - how did you do that?
Because you aren’t speaking with fear anymore. You are speaking with love.
Of course, I am in love. I’ve been loving all along.
So fear is just the other side of love?
Bingo, bud. Love is a many splendored thing, my friend.
This I have come to learn.
Ah, but you still have much to learn. You see, you are still in the honeymoon phase.
What do you mean?
Well, you have figured out that love is the most powerful force on Earth, and the only thing capable of destroying fear. But now you have become too attached to constantly cultivating it in every situation. This will cause problems for you. Now, of course, there is only one solution to these problems - love - but, nonetheless, you can avoid these problems in the first place if you apply love selectively.
Selectively? Like, give love only to certain people?
No. Give love to everybody.
Then what do you mean, “apply love selectively”?
I mean, don’t get so hung up on there needing to be an abundance of love in all circumstances. Sometimes it is necessary to bring other emotions to the forefront.
Like sadness. Grief.
No, not fear. Never fear.
What about reason?
Eh... the reason is a bit overrated, mate. I prefer common sense.
What is the difference?
Everything. The Third Reich and all of its various facets - such as the systemic genocide of an entire ethnic group - were all arrived at through reason. Some of the most despicable displays of pure atrocity throughout human history - slavery, the oppression of women, the oppression of homosexuals, the oppression of religious minorities - have all been justified through reason. Do you know what would have prevented all of those things?
Some common fucking sense, mate.
There is an interesting quote that I like to refer to as, "The attempt to force human beings to despise themselves is what I call hell." It goes along the lines of, "How we wish to be left in hell-like conditions is the question." So, why is it that people, who hate themselves, wish to be forced to hate? Well, that's because they wish to have there will be forced upon them and they want to be subjected to an unbridled power of all evil, without any restraint.
In order to stop this process, human beings must stop trying to force other people to dislike them. If you want to avoid the struggle, try to love yourself first. If you are not able to love yourself then you have no reason to hate or despise yourself. If you can't stand yourself, how can you expect anyone else to do so? When you are able to see your faults, learn to forgive them, and love yourself, then you have a chance to save yourself from what I call, the hell of self-hate. This process is often difficult and requires a great deal of effort on your part. However, when you become a person who is able to forgive his or her own flaws and learn to love others, you can begin to rebuild your relationship with yourself.
Unfortunately, some people don't even know that they have such self-esteem issues, which leads to them becoming victims of this process. These people have to learn to forgive themselves first, then find ways of helping others see that they are worthy of love and respect. The more you love yourself, the easier it will be for you to love others and everyone else will feel the same way about you.
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