Monday, May 31, 2021

The Lonely Man of Faith

Underneath compulsion and regression, lies a black hole of cosmic indifference. Compulsion is a regression to an earlier state of dependence. It posits a feeding mechanism that must constantly be satisfied. Addiction in some senses is like the minimization function on a computer screen. It shields the sufferer from having to confront their own limits and ultimate solitude. Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, the Jewish philospher, wrote The Lonely Man of Faith which deals with a spiritual condition which is not even mollified by religion. Says Soloveitchick, "I am surrounded by comrades and acquaintances. And yet, companionship and friendship do not alleviate the passional experience of loneliness which trails me constantly. I am lonely because I feel rejected and thrust away by everybody." The submissive character in Pauline Reage’s Story of O is actually freed from the responsibility of her being, the Fear and Trembling and Sickness Unto Death, which Kierkegaard describes. On a more quotidian level many people complain about the abuses inflicted on them by employers or partners, without realizing that they themselves are complicit.They're spared the weight of being by the intervention of the domineeriing personality. Human beings develop all manner of strategies to face their own truths. A psychoanalytic narrative expressing the depredations of a parent avoids the question of agency. What's worse? Being told what to do or nothing at all? That's why the end of a course of therapeutic treatment often leads to a condition which may not provide much in the way of comfort or solace, despite the truth it reveals.

Read "Knausgaard or Kierkegaard?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

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