Tuesday, 05 September 2017
Forgive me, for I have sinned…
This is my fifth confession.
I confess loneliness.
Is loneliness a sin?
No. There is only one true sin:
To not seek the truth with courage —
though it ever-withdraws.
So how then, do I confess loneliness?
Loneliness has led me to not seek the truth with courage.
For I have been afraid.
I have been afraid of losing lovers, partners, friends.
I have been afraid of making myself unattractive,
Ostracized from whole communities — for what?
For speaking the words within me.
Is this true?
Is this true that I will lose lovers, partners, and friends?
It might be true, and in the past, it has been true.
Yes, I have lost lovers, partners and friends as I have changed.
But I have also gained them!
And those that I have gained have been better for me than those I have lost.
This leads to a stunning realization:
If I seek the truth as courageously as I can, the old may all fall away,
But the new will come — and I want the new.
This is thought-provoking, because it implies a deeper realization:
Blake’s strange truth, that “Opposition is true friendship”.
True friendship, in common speech, means old friendship.
Or it means close friendship, intimates, those we spend the most time with.
Perhaps a better meaning for true friendship is to be seen.
The experience of being seen by a friend — being truly seen — is shaking.
It shakes the soul to be seen. It shakes the center of one’s being.
Why does it shake?
It shakes because to seek the truth with courage is to grow.
To grow is to grow strange — we are individuals insofar as we are different.
Individuals are individuals insofar as they are different because:
They possess truths that few others possess.
The truth has led them to a far wilderness.
So to seek the truth with courage is to become stranger and stranger.
Therefore, to be seen — that is a great gift, that only a friend can give.
Because you are no longer alone in your lonely truth.
Yet the true friend does not stop there.
It feels too good to be seen. It feels so good to be seen, it is tempting to stop.
To stop courageously venturing further into the wilderness.
To keep checking back to see if your friend is with you.
You become dependent on their sanity bestowed.
The true friend challenges.
The true friend challenges-forth.
The true friend challenges you forth to further strangeness, further venture,
Further discovery, further individuality, further truth.
The true friend is not you. The true friend should not seek to be you.
You should not seek to be your true friend.
You are valuable to each other insofar as you are different.
The true friend, having seen you, challenges you.
Opposes you in the way you are to be opposed.
True opposition is true friendship.
What is true opposition?
Only the one who sees you knows the true criticism.
The true criticism is often a challenge to courage.
Sometimes a challenge to creativity.
Look here! Have you looked there?
You believe this. If you believe this, why are you not doing that?
Above all, the true friend does not let a friendship remain static.
The true friend does not let the dynamic settle into an equilibrium.
The true friend challenges the dynamic ever onward, ever upward.
The true friend challenges the dynamic to be dynamic.
Two friends, ever growing, ever different,
ever challenging each other onward and upward —
That is my vision.
This leads to a stranger truth:
The friendliest thing in our age of friendship is to lose friends.
In our age of friendship,
Where everyone is a ‘friend’, where we have thousands of friends…
Our goal in friendship should always be, not to gain, but to lose, friends.
To lose friends not by being obnoxious, but by first seeing them,
And then opposing them, challenging them forth.
To demand this of your friends, to give and receive it,
To only engage with friends, as friends, with this goal in mind —
This is a recipe for losing friends.
At the end of all our opposition,
We may find that we have only one true friend left.
Then we may even lose that friend,
And we may stand utterly alone, in the land of the living.
If one accomplishes this,
One must remember that one is not utterly alone.
For in the army of the dead, there are many strange reinforcements in truth.
Let the dead challenge you still further.
Even if the living forsake you, you must not stop growing courageously.
Further into truth, one must continually challenge one-self.
Overcoming, continually conquering old truths with new truths.
If one is faithful to this commandment:
To seek the truth with passion and courage,
With all your heart, soul and might.
Then it is good to hope in a new friend,
A friend whose name you do not yet know — but yet among the living.
Seek this friend too, as you are being sought
— for this friend has a new truth for you, so it is right to seek.
Having overcome your friends, if they can no longer oppose you,
Challenge-forth the world.
I confess that I have not done this.
Shame for my strangeness has held me back.
Cowardice from fear of embarrassment, judgement, ostracism held me back.
Always, my desire for love, for partnership, for friendship, for community —
Has held me back. I have sought authority, I have sought mentorship.
I have sought the best — and overcome the best.
Yet I have not had the courage to believe my own thought.
For who am I, but a little one?
Do not lose faith, little one,
That despite your littleness, you may possess the biggest truth.
For in the weight-lifting of truth, size does not matter.