“Solitude, that dread goddess encircles and besets him, ever more threatening, more violent, more heartbreaking – but who today knows what solitude is?”
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human A Book for Free Spirits
I can sit alone in my car and pretend I’m on my own personal island. Nobody around, nobody to talk to, just the car and I in a semi abandoned parking lot in South Carolina somewhere. I look in my rearview mirror and see nobody in the back seat, I see nothing outside of my car that seems to warrant my attention. I’m alone, I’m at peace, in my own little Japanese built cocoon that encompasses me with a sense of serenity, alone, peace.
Then a car goes by, a garbage truck whirs in behind me and starts scooping up the large metal object that I hadn’t noticed in the seconds before. There is a faint sound of an emergency ambulance (probably toting some one somewhere for something). It was inevitable, not alone, never alone, always around somebody, something, it’s gotten to the point you can’t even be alone with yourself anymore. With constant pressures of modern day life, you can’t help (unless you’re a total dillrod) to not care and worry about those around you that you love. It’s impossible to be alone with that in your mind.
What my buddy, the omnipotent “overman” himself Nietzsche was trying to get across in the book Human, All too Human A book for free spirits was that although we’ve got this passion inside of us for companionship, for love, we also have an innate need to have our own personal adventures – and sometimes – I can promise you from personal experience – they don’t always melt into what other people see as pertinent in life. I can sit happily in my car listening to some groovy tunes, safely in a parking lot somewhere, and flail my arms about in a crazy passionate dance of getting into the music. I become involved, it consumes me to the bone, and sometime (though my ears probably hate me for it) turn up the tunes until I cannot hear anything else going on around me. In circumstances it could be an obscure old song by a band hardly anyone has ever heard of.
Or, recently, while away from my car I decided to wrap myself in my favorite blanky, in my favorite room, with a new book, and shove these hard plastic headphones into my ears and block out the world. I didn’t feel a need to block out the world, I just wanted to be in my own world for a while. Peacefully I kicked back and started picking up on a familiar jam, an old Dead tune. Before I knew it I was on my own island, tapping my toes, ignoring the book and the world at hand. The thoughts in my mind of being too fat, too poor, too ugly, too uneducated, too under-accomplished, all of those things were gone, it was just me, digging on this awesome groovy tune.
“Won’t you try just a little bit harder
Couldn’t you try just a little bit more”
The Wheel (As was being performed by Fare Thee Well)
After the jam was over, there was a fantastic transition in to another jam, from a different song. Although I knew the song, I wasn’t digging on it, I was stuck on the haunting lyrics of the previous song. Have I been trying hard enough, or do I escape to my eternal solitude to avoid actually putting forth the effort? Suddenly the past year flashed before my eyes, people, places, things, all the mistakes I had made, the people I had pissed off, the people I had made cry. All of these things brought bubbling up by a damn song. I could have tried a bit harder to make the pharmacy business work for me. Maybe I should have tried harder NOT to crash my cars, perhaps I should have eaten less pizza and focused on more celery sticks.
The emotions flowed right along with the guitar licks. I was alone again, I was in my cocoon, a mental cocoon evaluating everything, sinking ever so much deeper into my sadness, the black abyss that encompasses me time and time again. For those who don’t experience this sort of emotion from time to time, I’ll describe it as this. Imagine you’re driving through fog, and at first it seems like it’s going to break up and you’ll be ready to get on with your travel without having to think so much about what you’re doing, but then the fog increases, the temperature drops and all of a sudden you’re going down a curvy road on ice, in the fog, without decent headlights. Oh, and there are random wild animals that come out and jump in front of your car, and there is a screaming baby in the back seat, and the car isn’t working right. What seems to just be a little bit of fog suddenly ends up a total cluster fuck of awful. I was just a little bit of fog, just like at first it was just a little bad though, now you’re wondering what the hell you did to end up like this.
Luckily enough for me the foggy periods went from being about two months long, to being able to transfer my energy in the amount of time it takes for the jam of this particular song to transfer into the lyrics of the song “Crazy Fingers.” There was something different though, I listened to this voice singing the lyrics…
“Recall the days that still are to come some sing blue.
Hang your heart on laughing willow stray
Down to the water, deep sea of love
Beneath the sweet calm face of the sea swift undertow.”
His voice, it wasn’t the one I was used to singing me this song, it was Trey from the band Phish. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but at that exact moment a few things became clear to me. Things can still be the “same” but can mean different things. For some reason this song kind of bored me prior to hearing it sung by Trey, and now all of a sudden it’s one of the most soulful melodies that I have heard in a long time. Perhaps it was just because I was feeling emotional at the time, but also, if I put the world into a larger perspective, isn’t that what life is all about – a whole lot of the “same” just performed in a different manner, with different people, and a different place?
Take for instance, me quitting my job to because it made me so unhappy and miserable, I went into panic attacks. It’s the “same” it’s a job, just like the ones that I had had before, but it was different, it wasn’t me. I had disregarded myself and who I really am as a person to try to be something that I can’t be. I’m the “same”, that that doesn’t fit into the Pharmacy world. Now, bounding ambitiously into my new job, doing nursery work again, it’s the “same”, I’ll be working with plants, people, and outdoors, however, the different part is instead of working for a company with about 8 employees I’ll be working with over 80. Same = different.
Which as I groove onto more tunes, I start looking at different parallels in life that can very simply be explained – to a free spirit at least – as the same old different. The same old concept of being in the gym, but a different mental outlook as to why you’re in the gym in the first place. The same old concept of eating healthier, but the different reason for doing is. The same quest for knowledge, but instead of trying to turn a profit on it, doing so just to become a more well rounded individual. The concept of being in a relationship, but instead of failing, putting more effort love and attention into it than you ever have before. The things that really matter to you in life might be important, but it’s incredibly important to understand WHY they are important to you. Are they the same things that would worry you if you were sitting by yourself jamming on some groovy tunes with your headphones on or is it a feeling that you only get when put in front of a set of objectifying eyes?
And with that, I’ll jam on, look longingly out at my red cocoon, and improve, incrementally. Until I have more answers, I’ll leave you with a few nuggets of wisdom from my man the Neitz:
“As a matter of fact the free spirit is bothered with mere things—and how many things—which no longer concern him.”
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm Human, All Too Human A Book for Free Spirits