Saturday, March 1, 2014

Some Reflections on Impotence

Feelings of impotence do not always come as a quick knife stab to my stomach. Sometimes they are a slow cut that draws out the torture. I am able to function, if only just barely, on automatic. My emotive responses are dampened. If I cannot cut into my body, then I cut into myself. Not being able to do anything about the latest provocation makes for disgust. It is loathsome to find oneself unable. Weakness is contemptible. Anger, even helpless anger, wants a focus and object. What remains?Feelings, thoughts, whatever is held dear. What alone is forbidden? Torturing others. Whatever honesty I might possess comes from this. Power and superiority out of revenge on concepts.

The inner life of others may be a friendly dialogue, mine is a shooting war. I cannot even give myself credit for what others would regard as a virtue. I am too eager to believe bad things about myself. I am unable to say even if only to myself that I am good. This willingness to suspicion is not that I should be the worst sinner, but that I cannot rest in the conviction that I am the worst sinner ever or in any other conviction. I don’t deserve the benefits and comfort that certainty would bring. This is the punishment I visit upon myself.

With the loss of a higher world from which virtue and beauty came , virtue arises out of blood and filth. Virtue has a biography. The peculiarities of my upbringing and life make me at times painfully aware of the mundane origins of truthfulness. The knowledge of its origins makes for shame. The blood and gore of my inner life make it doubtful that any portrayal could ever be tolerable.

With the way that I go on and on about the brutality of my inner life, it is easy to overlook when I forget myself and feel myself divine. And that too is a denial of certainty. Abject humility coupled with raging egoism. Maybe I am still Christian and long to be washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Or, maybe irony and self-mockery are the path to divinity.

Returning to the theme of impotence, it is the incapacity to reply in kind that provokes painful sensations of powerlessness. The infliction of a hurt in the material world begets the desire to inflict a hurt also in the material world. Where there is an impotence in one sphere, compensation is sought in another. Does this mean revenge fantasies stem from a lack of imagination?

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1 comment:

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