Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Me, Myself and I?

If the truth be told, I had judged Jeff too quickly. Perhaps his clown pants (only way to describe them) and matted beard suggested just another hippie. We sat on a table underneath a large papaya tree sheltering the Caribbean sun, and looked at the menu. I gathered he'd probably order a carrot and beetroot smoothie, and later invite us to play drums and make it rain on the beach.

"Chad did tons of yoga and meditation when he did it, but I'm planning to do nothing. I really want to get in my head, be alone with my thoughts, work through the demons..... see what happens"

Jeff, it turns out, was about to embark on ten days of darkness. Ten days of complete light, sound and social deprivation. Not an experience that most people could stand. For him, however, I imagined it would be a breeze, since he and my friend Anna had recently spent two months in silence, on a course in Guatemala.

In a small way, spiritual pilgrimages such as these reflect a sad, modern reality. That we have to travel to a dark hut, somewhere in the jungle of Guatemala, to be alone with ourselves. Or that we depend on therapy or medicine to understand our own behaviour. Are we really that confused about who we are? Should we be so complicated?

How we've become so complicated, in my opinion, is no mystery. Just take a look at the Market we've created, saturated with goods and services we don't need. Advertisers and branders have ruthlessly exploited and reconstructed identities, turning the consumer into a blank canvass. No need for a sense of self, unless of course it's been defined by Apple or Nike.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I'm sure that the exact same thing could be said for religion, politics or culture.

Perhaps Jeff has a point. Who are we?

It would be interesting to spend 10 days alone in darkness, deprived from everything but oneself to find out.


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  1. Dum loquimur fugerit invida aetas carpe diem quam minimum credula postero

  2. Sorry but I must say that this post is rather generic and unfocused.

    I don't see a huge difference between the cliché of a hippie ordering carrot smoothie and the usual boring attack to consumerism, brands, etc. I'd like to answer your questions though:

    1) Yes, we are confused about who we are.
    2) Yes, we should be so complicated.

    I believe complexity has developed in men from the beginning of time, way before language, work and then "market" even existed.
    Were it not like that, we would have been happy of merely satisfying our most basic needs.

    Humans are complex and we'll never know who we are unless we take into account psychology, history, social background, science of sleep, functioning of brain, etc.

    And still, even though we had exact explanations for all of the above, I doubt we would be able to speculate within our own individual self.
    That’s not simplistic, because we are not and deserve not to be so.


  3. I agree with your comment that "Advertisers and branders have ruthlessly exploited and reconstructed identities, turning the consumer into a blank canvass." but I'm not sure how that makes us more complicated.

    Surely the problem with the huge consumerist culture that we have created seems to be the dumming down of the consumer with identities being mass produced on the conveyor belts of big?