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paolo
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20 May 2008, 3:23 pm

This is a delicate subject. I will try to put it here in the hope that it is considered as something like a personal confession and be treated as such. I am not asking for consolatory advices. Please don’t anyone try to do this sort of thing. If I put this problem here it is to share an experience that others might have later in life. But perhaps it would be useful to consider it, if somehow in perspective, now, not dramatically too late.

Looking back at my life, relatively long, even if, in many respects, I still feel like a child, I have always longed for affection and love (what words!). Only very recently I realized that these things were out of my reach, and that all attempts to get them have always been clumsy doomed maneuvers. Still, these longings continue to be alive in me, but rather than pretending to have them in extreme hardship, I think (and hope not to change my mind out of weakness) to meet these hardships by myself. To look for any other pursuit would look like a final religious conversion out of fear. This is probably the reason behind my retreating in utter isolation and giving up any distorted communication with people who may have thought to be my friends.

This is why this should be considered when we talk of old age and people in the spectrum. If assistance is to be offered to these people, it should be, in a sense, “neutral with respect”, non invasive, or something camouflaged as impossible love. Anything pretending to enter the “bubble” of the weak, in his/her moments of maximum weakness, would be nothing but wounding when and where no defense is possible.

Once I have said this, I want to reassure that I am relatively well and that I expect to remain active for a reasonable lapse of years.


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krex
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20 May 2008, 3:44 pm

It is true that I do nnot/can not? connect with other people at the same level that some others do but even that small connection keeps me from dropping off the edge. I know this from the times I did cut off contact with all people. To retreat into my own head is a scary thing to even contemplate. I maybe kicking and screaming hen I am forced out of my shell but it is better then the alternative for me. Then again...you are not me and know yourself better then I ever could. Do you at least have some effection for yourself. Sometimes that has been the only thing that kept me alive, inspite of the lonliness of not connecting.


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paolo
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20 May 2008, 4:06 pm

No. affection for myself no, it would be delusionary. No narcissism, but some obdurancy , last ditch determination, I think.
I would never keep a portrait of myself in my room or in my flat, if that may be an indication. I have had a "friend" who keeps a torso of himself in his house. He is a very intelligent person, once a witty talker, conversationalist, but ego centered as hell. Foundamentally he seems to like only himsrlf, Butn this is very coomon, I think. Sometime the self estime is charged on

a wife.



krex
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20 May 2008, 8:34 pm

WELL i hide from camaras, so my physical being is the least thing I like about myself. I do like to surround myself with art that I have made and furniture that I have rescued from dumpsters and refinished. Those are things I like about myself. I also surround myself with rocks and other bits of native culture arts because I love them and they radiate love back to me because I can appriciate their beauty.

I once read a story about a man who had to learn how to love "a tree, a rock, a cloud"...(I think that is what it was called.) Anyay, I think that is the stage of love I can feel and have felt since I was a child. To me, that is a big love...I guess like other people feel people love? It seems so complicated to love a human because there are so many levels to them. I get overwhelmed and all the layers bleed together like an abstract art piece....I prefer the simple love of fur and smooth stones and water moving over boulders or the touch and smell of damp moss against my lips. People love is all mixed with what they can give, how much they cost in time and space in my brain. I probably am not explaining it well, no one seems to know what I am talking about except maybe Walt Whitmen? But how can we ever really know what someone else means just because they use words to make the same picture as we carry on our heads...perhaps they feel those pictures differently ?


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paolo
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22 May 2008, 5:23 pm

I have some problems in loving inanimate objects, like rocks, or mountains, or streams or clouds the same way I love animate beings. Though I am enchanted, awed, consoled by the sight of the sea, the noise of the wind, the rivers flowing. For little that I feel empathy for living beings a think the bond is different though in both cases it’s a vital and strong bond. I think we are wired to feel overpowering emotions, when we meet for the first time the sea or some imposing natural landscapes, or a heavy snowfall. With animals or plants there some sort of solidarity of belongingness..


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krex
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22 May 2008, 6:13 pm

My love started with my senses...things that gave me pleasure, so I suppose a selfish love. I do think my love for trees and animals(excluding humans) is different in that I want to also return the pleasure they give me. I have worked with dogs for the past year and am often over whelmed with a desire to relieve their pain and give them pleasure..nothing like a good ass scratching,(wish people were so easy to please). I do wonder, at times if it is not the entinsity of our feelings that seperates us from many humans. I know I have been told I am to entense,(when I'm not being told that I am a feelingless robot). I think the robot effect or lack of showing our emotions or even allowing ourselves to feel them fully....is simply a response to needing to "function" in an environment that is to filled with sensory input.

I relate it to my experiences when I was on acid. It was like a magnification of how I already felt. Every thing was so bright and glowy that I couldn't focus on the mundane...like dressing myself. Maybe this has nothing to do with being aspie..perhaps I am a "freak" in some other way? It is so hard to put the pictures into words<---that from someone who LOVES words. To bad I can not paint or draw...better medium for expressing what I mean.


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paolo
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23 May 2008, 2:36 pm

krex wrote:
My love started with my senses...things that gave me pleasure, so I suppose a selfish love.


I am not sure that something like a selfish love exists. Love may be imperfect (but does such a thing as perfect love exist?). Love may resemble more hunger or thirst; it’s often something like that. But the love of a mother for her child, is love for a piece of her flesh, is looking for the only real form of immortality which is consented to us, so, in a way, might be defined selfish.
As for animals and humans I found discussed these problems in a touching way in Coetzee’s novels, especially in his best Disgrace, but also in The Age of Iron .



merrymadscientist
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23 May 2008, 2:51 pm

I can feel strong, almost overwhelming love for both humans/other animals and inanimate objects, and it feels pretty much the same in both cases. The problem with loving humans is that they are so unpredictable and can turn against you so easily. If I love someone, it is despite all their weaknesses and faults - even those that I dont yet know. However, as I can never express the love I feel for them, it remains unfulfilled and they have the potential to hurt me deeply. The love normally consists of me yearning for the person, but never having them - it ultimately makes me unhappy.

Inanimate objects and animals are different in that they cant directly hurt me. However, I still feel this yearning - sitting by the sea I can feel so much love for the sea, that sitting by it isnt enough, swimming in it isnt enough. Because I know that I have to leave it perhaps? I think perhaps I feel pain because I can never actually become the sea. It is the same thing with the mountains, with the city I live in now, with my plants, even with certain (usually spherical or circular) objects. So ultimately love for inanimate objects is almost as painful as love for humans. But I have also realised that it is this love alone (both for animate and inanimate objects) which makes life worth living - gives some sort of meaning to life.



krex
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23 May 2008, 3:38 pm

I will see if I can find Coetzee's books in translation...I am always looking for new authors to fall in love with....they are legion for me. If it weren't for the ideas and stories in books, I would have left this "mortal coil" long ago.

Perhaps I am confusing "appreciation" with love ? I was raised as a Christian Scientist and they have a very interesting way of thinking about physical objects. They believe that their material representation is an illusion. It is a manifestation of a spiritual "something". So a rock or tree we feel,seel,smell is like an artist rendition of a spiritual ideal....Since it is only a representation, it is "flawed" in some ways. Like a painting can represent a tree but not capture it's full essence to our senses..the better the art, the more likely it is to capture more of that essence.

I think that is what I experience when I "appreciate/love" something...it is how much of it's true spiritual essence I can "sense". A bit abstract to put into words but perhaps you understand ? I am no longer a Christian Scientist but 10 years of thinking that way...from 6-16, has definitely influenced my perspective. It did so in a negative way when I was younger because I was a literalist and beieved all physical existence was an illussion. Perhaps it is, but it is a mute point as it IS the illussion I have to navigate. You can imagine how tempting suicide was for me in a desire to reunite with the true spiritual existence of these loved objects. These little glimpses of Gods design were so powerful and joyful that I thought of little but my desire to reunite with it as a spiritual being capable of experiencing that beautiy perpetually.

It was a sort of half life....dreaming of that other existence. I made the choice to try and live more fully in this life while I am here because it was inevitable that I would eventually be noncorporal and perhaps I was here to learn something that I could not learn being noncorporal...wasn't that what Jesus did? Even when I becae disillussioned with religion...I still like what he represented. Spirit made flesh to learn how to feel empathy for other spirits made flesh. To bad that humans can't seem to hear his messages with out destorting them to their own psychosis.


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paolo
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24 May 2008, 2:05 am

I think the emotional part of our brain is predisposed for a release of joy when we meet objects, mountains, rivers, the sea at some critical age, which means for the first time when we are children, the same things that happens when you have the first contact with a mum (that’s what is called imprinting by Lorenz and the ethologists). May be a mole finds joy meeting the soil, the earth, so the elation of meeting something other that you may have the same quality, be it an inanimate object or a living creature.

Coetzee writes in English (he was born and grown in South Africa and now lives in Australia), and all his books are now in paper Penguin. You can find his books probably in your bookstore.



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24 May 2008, 2:19 am

Thank for the author information Paolo. I will try and find something by him to get a new flavor.

I always wondered what it was that gave me that sense of wonder and appreciation...imprinting makes much sense to me because I was only 2 when I went to a foster hoe where I was allowed to wonder in nature. y strongest memories are of the smell and feel of horse flesh and pears, the sound of the little creek and the sparkly things I found there, the shine of the sun off rusting chrome...I loved the mix of bright and warm rust color. Before there are words there are color, texture, smells. I as there until I was 5 but could tell you almost nothing of the people there but "out-side was ful of magic. I suppose it is no wonder then that those became my "interests" and my loves.

Perhaps I would have traded them all for some warm arms and a smile that was real or that I could have felt was real? but we learn to love what we have that doesn't hurt and gives some joy. It wasn't until I returned to it and gave up lokking for it in people that I stopped being so depressed. I have not given up on a dream of returning to a "something" that loves me in a way I can feel and can count on...put that is probably a dream shared by many? I hope we all find it some day.


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Just because one plane is flying out of formation, doesn't mean the formation is on course....R.D.Lang

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