"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."
- Yeats, The Second Coming
I've always loved Yeats' Second Coming as it tends to nicely sum up just how screwed up the world is in which we live.
But the line above strikes me on a more philosophical level in that it nicely describes the paradox of mental and psychological well being. It's becoming painfully obvious that the most "well adjusted" among us are usually the least passionate, perhaps even being coldly detached.
Lord knows I find myself trying to detach myself emotionally from the world, because I've had issues with lack of emotional control in the past and it's led to some pretty thorny situations. So, I understand that to lack passion/conviction/ideological dedication serves as an almost necessary armour in this "screw the other guy" world we live in. But I just as strongly recognize that this is an unsustainable way to live and think. Lack of empathy with our fellow human beings has gone on quite long enough.
How many more wars, genocides and enslavement must we witness before we start giving a damn?
Now, caring about the fate of others is all well and good, but on the flip side, being a complete bleeding heart with no emotional restraint only serves to paint a bulls eye on you and you'll suffer until you're completely drained of your compassion.
And to make matters worse, it's common enough that these empassioned humans are the ones in psychotherapy, sucking back Paxil until the drugs suppress that passion. To be an emotionally driven person is a weakness, perhaps even a sickness, according to our social norms of 'wellness'.
So, it's a "damned if you care, damned if you don't" Catch-22. Wellness is simply an illusion and all we can try to do is find our own answers and, I guess, be selective where we choose to open our hearts. But even that is a Herculean task for those individuals who haven't learned to rein in their emotional reactions. I have many people close to me who straddle that nigh-unlivable line. They are passionate, kind, loving souls, which is what draws me to them in the first place, but then the ugly side shows in that they feel all the negatives very strongly, too much so? They cry a lot, they often feel persecuted or let down, and often have difficulty with disappointment. I used to be like that (worse, really), but I had to harden my heart against emotional reactions for my own health, but I think there have been consequences. I suffer from panic attacks on occasion and I can't deny the suspicion that it's because I've repressed a lot of emotions over the course of my life. Is the panic a backlash?
So, what is the true path to wellness both within in how we react, and without, in how we show sympathy without entwining our well being in the well being of others?
In the end though, I think I'd rather interact with the passionate train wrecks than the reliable robots. As long as they don't mind me giving the occasional reminder that bad things are rarely as bad as they feel.
Now, my passage today is an attempt to put the emotional conflict I feel within into words.
November 20, 2010
It's okay, there's nothing to worry about. Don't look over your shoulder at the plotting shadows. They aren't real, only the fear they engender is. (But that fear makes them real!)
No one's out to get you, are they? (I don't know, but better to be suspicious than victimized...)
I can't be a victim of paranoia and I hope you can't either, but I feel it as tangible. There's hot breath on my neck and the Sword of Damocles hangs over the world entire. I know it's all in my head, and yours too. And the frustration over the inability to dispel it is maddening.
Smash out! Hit something! Murder the dread!
If we let everyone in, if everyone is our brother and sister, that might do the trick. You think you can handle that? Me neither. Oh well, at least we're trying...
Just remember this: better to risk being screwed over by everyone than never get close to anyone.
Now stop crying before I start tearing up too.
-Dedicated to anyone who fits the bill-