In eye in the sky (1957), a particle accelerator accident disrupts the local reality of eight characters whose shared world fluxes as they struggle for dominance ;Jack Hamilton, notes Douglas A. Mackey, “is forced to realize that people live in separate worlds inside their own minds, and that a powerful mind can pull others into its version of reality” Alternativley as a Dickian protagonist’s personal construct of the world decays, the nounmenon is revealed, often dreadfully. -Extract from Transrealist Fiction:writing in the slipstream of science. p 132 / 133 Living what you write.
The above sentence resonates strongly with how i have lived in the world. It took some time for me to realize how much i tend to seperate what i really think and feel about the world with that which i express to others as what i think and feel about the world. My private reality or vision is cherished quietly in my private heart while i assimilate other peoples views unquestionably in their company through silent consent. Others would expound sometimes ridiculous or sometimes childish viewpoints and rather than confront or make waves i avoid directly agreeing and at best would make some non commital gesture.
I think the root of this tendency is borne from growing up with my Father who had a short fuse and explosive temper. It was always a question of attempting to read how far away from blowing his top he was because when he did it was invariably the fault of the person next to him be they child or otherwise. In this way my brothers, mother and I caught the emotional punch of the negative energy which my father blew at us. I took this to heart and internalised it and spent a lot of time wondering what i had done to cause or warrant this out poruing. The same situation which a week previously did not upset him this week would cause him to explode so there was no way to really know where he was within himself. I beleive as a result of this i developed an astute sense of intuition largely as a defense mechanism as it was important not to be on the receiving end of this heavy dark emotional rage.
The more i took it to be my fault, consciously or subconsciously, the more i withdrew from the world and from myself as those false beliefs began to take hold and set roots within my very being. No matter what i did or who i loved or what i beleived in somewhere inside i felt that it didnt matter because nothing could come close to my true heart for long perioids because i was due a talking down by my father. As a consequence of this i never learned to stand up for my beliefs nor for myself and people sense this and so walk all over me. For a man that stands 6ft 5 ,without slouching, i barely cast a prescence.
(This i began to notice while living in New York and used to my advantage while taking photographs on the subway. I was able to read the extent to which a person was aware of my prescence and how far they were from reacting)
My reality was torn down when i did something that did not meet my fathers expectations as he unleashed such a fury that it was highly unlikely such an outburst could be the result of anything other than my misunderstanding. It must be that my view of the world was incorrect if i was unable to see how my actions or words upset him so much until afterwards. There must be some faulty wires crossed or missing inside which has me dissapointing him to the point of this rage. It must be my fault, i am just not good enough, i am just not a good person.i must be selfish and a bad person if i am unable to prevent these frequent torrents of abuse. And so his powerful mind pulled mine into his version of reality through me abandoning mine from absolute fear. If my way of seeing and being in the world is likely to cause me harm then what can i do to prevent this other than seek new ways to be in the world.
And so it goes and so it went that every action and relationship was founded on these secret beleifs. As soon as a relationship started to settle and move more towards emotional intimacy i would do something to prevent it from getting too close to my heart to protect myself. The more exposed my heart was the greater the hurt when the hammer eventually fell. Even when out of my fathers immidiate range i would find ways of bringing the hammer down upon myself as though in lieu of him doing. It was as though i came to need that pinch or that whack to bring me back to earth, back to the earth which he created.
Whatever the case i now find myself on the quiet end of a journey spurned from self trust or from something other than fear of punishment. For a while i was deep in self pity as i once again went through the motions of allowing somebody to get close to me only to have them reject me. Or me reject them. It was the first time to my knowledge that i was able to actually just be myself and not try to control them or the situation and it felt really good and natural. We both were able to sit in one anothers company without any akwardness or reservation. I think it is how all relationships should be but the world offers up so many models and ideas about how people should be that it is rare that somebody can see through these in favor of their own way. After many months, almost a year, of spending time together in a non physical way i began to feel that i was exposing myself for a huge let down. This person did not want to be with me in any way other than friends. At first i thought this was fine as i enjoyed her company however i could not deny that i had feelings beyond friendship which she could not or did not wish to recriprocate. I did not wish for everything we built together to fall away and each of us retire back into our annonymous worlds but thats exactly what happened and with that so too did my heart. It retreated beyond a resonable level, beyond the level it was at before i even met this girl, and i seemed to be unable to stop it. I gradually sank back into the old ideas and perceptions of the world, just like sliding on a pair of sunglasses, whose begining assumption is that i am not good enough. Not good enough for anything and everything. And so i tended to hold myself back and away from people and social situaions so as to hide my pain and anger. I shut down not only the heart but also any signs of it such as posting photographs online and keeping a social site open. Within six months i had also lost my job and so there was very little to keep me engaged with the everyday world.
This girl was hardly the cause of all of this landslide. She simply served to bring to light that which i was afraid to face for so long. The hidden came into view when we were together and i could see how expecting one person to fix you and your view of the world is a very heavy burden to lump onto their shoulders.If i had a particular desire or planned vision of how i would like something to go and she, in reality, did not conform to that vision or template how then would i react? Would i blow my top like my father did when i didnt put the oranges in the correct place? So from the begining i was resolved that no matter what happend i would not place huge secret expectations on the person whom i cared about.In fact i would strive towards doing the opposite.
Such was the begining of how my heart started to really open. The atmosphere, when free from all projecting ideas, was healing and nourishing regardless of what it meant or what it was supposed to do. There was no heavy weight of desire or expectation pressing down on either one of us and the result was a quiet confidence in the energy around us. At least thats what it meant to me and from what i gather it has the similar effect for or with my friend.
Old doubt started to creep in and i began to fear that i was setting myself up for a big fall. This person could surely feed off my nature without having to give anything in return, which i did not consciously seek nor want her to give, and all the while knowing how to take advantage of me as a man. I began to feel overexposed and to loose trust in myself. I couldnt tell for sure which way the cards lay, if they lay at all, because such was the nature of place i was in. I was consciously pressing outwards the boundaries of unconditional love so much so that even if she cheated on me or made a fool of me, such were some of my greatest fears, i was certain i would not shut down.
On one hand i didnt want anything in particular from her but over time a natural need arose which i could not satisfy. It was as though when i was with her a fire was lit which she could not help me to put out so it spilled out into other areas of life. Every time we departed after a heavy conversation my head was spinning and mind was on fire and unable to rest. I was begining to see that this was not lining up to be an equally receptive and caring relationship which gave me enough reason to walk away. I had to stand up for myself of forever be a doormat as i have so done in the past.
In heinsight as much as i cared about this person and as magical as i thought they were it was the right thing to do. I truly believe that if a persons heart is not resolved from the begining of a relationship then no end of games or power playing or multitude of words will ever provide that security. And so from the begining i said that no matter what this person looks like or how they may act or what they may say nothing will prevent me from caring deeply for them and honoring that attraction which i feel with them. What can i do to serve them? what can i do to make them happy? in approaching the relationship this way the usual boundaries were pushed wide open to limitless possibility.I did not seek to resolve my mind or heart based on what they might say or what they might do and rather than rigidly controlling everything in an attempt to prevent myself from feeling rejected i saught to serve the needs of others.
It seems to me that there is a particular play of events from which a person derives a certain sense of identity. For example in my case the feeling of inadequacy and of being not good enough and of basically being rejected must be hinged upon outside circumstances in order that i might sell it back to myself. I cast events, people, situations in a certain light in order that i might feel reassured in my limited perception of the world. That i might feel a certain sting of pride or of self righteousness even though it is for the worst. ‘ i knew i was right. i knew i was not good enough. i should never have taken the chance and just stayed away from everybody with my fear.’ I would even go so far as to say that a person needs these situations to feel like themselves even when the self to wish to feel like is not a happy one at all. Could these very ideas and perceptions be the actual cause of behaviours which ultimatley serve their own ends?
After the old perception slipped back into play i was unable to feel as though i was rejected and chewed up by the whole broad situation and all of its facets. I felt as though i was invisible to the whole thing and no matter what i might have said or done differently the end result would be the same back where my father put me. I overlooked the immense sense of achievement i felt and was feeling at having stood up to my demons and faced them down by progressing at surfing. I overcame the social fear one faces when moving to a new place for the first time without any friends or even a job. I rose to the challenges i set for myself and excelled at them. Gradually i began to grow more and more into my own skin and it was this one dissapointment which set off a chain reaction and brought all of the other acheievements into a sort of disrepute. A disrepute which now, 8 to 12 months later, faced with moving back into my parents and thus into the pressure cooker, seems almost total. If the end result of all of that progress, all of that self knowledge, all of that joy and sorrow is a step backwards into the programming booth then perhaps my father is right and trying something and employing optimism will ultimately prove fruitless. However it is with the faintest hope in my heart that i believe there is goodness in the world. That in spite of all of the trials won and lost without self belief nothing is achieved. If i have to, which i don’t really, move back into my parents house then i will do so with an attitude of grate-fullness rather than one of spite or rejection. For it is there where it feels to me that the whole basis of my long term view of the world has been fostered and so it is there too that it will prove most benificial to heal and forgive.