Monday, January 7, 2013

"Logic of Friendship" a draft of an essay

a rough draft on a new essay


Logic of Friendship


            Your friend introduces you to a new circle, and you're overwhelmed. You may desperately latch onto one as your new friend -- the likeliest candidate. If your friend introduced but one friend, you might lack the one-on-one approach necessary to cut doors into the wall; your friend's presence prevents real contact with the new. Yet in all the steps and ruses, it seems like fate makes use of chance, as it always did, so that what is done by accident ultimately serves a purpose. There is a logic to friendship and it is the logic of self-expression.

            Insults and criticisms are ploys for setting distances between friends. They need not even be sincere. A little bit of wit gives you space. What is laughter but the staging of space? A friend gets too intense, too cloying, and love them though we do, we need distance, we need to differentiate our sympathies from our identity. Integrity demands distance. Love would submerge our pride and self.

            And so we seek from our friends what we expect they will give. What does a friendship amount to, materially, other than a thick set of expectations and habits? Sometimes one seeks confirmation -- no matter if just or unjust -- other times one seeks challenges. Those instantiate him, praise and criticism can change him or keep him the same; he knows what he needs and his friends oblige. And yet with every decision you are self-defining, and that self-to-yourself sends ripples on your persona-for-others. Your friend must move to match you. Or strain to match you. And the greater your friend strains, the more he resents the friendship, and will seek to redefine the terms of your shared time and space. "Strike from a distance" is cowards' wisdom, yet the fight with a friend is the most intense, and the betrayal of the beloved is a wound some never-recover from, live they a hundred more years.

            Friendship is the basic unit of cooperation. Granted, sex is the fountain of life by which every generation springs anew, and without some sort of sexual relationship, perhaps romantic but at least intimate in the necessary respects, the species would be sterile and soon void. Yet what makes marriage sweet is the same that makes all relationships sweet, not the specific mode of intimacy -- sexual intimacy, in this instance, among other modes -- but that every friendship share an intimacy, a space of the heart, where no other person can share. True friendship is one on one; the grouplove, group-settings, us-together isn't quite friendship, but the matrix for possible friendships. That properly is camaraderie, but it is not individually intimate, so is another matter, another theme.

            Friendship is the basic human relationship of which all the other are types -- marriage, romance, business partnership -- it is the genera by which these differentiations take their soul. What use is friendship after all?

            Freud presented his psychoanalysis as the best and nearly only hope for an ego divided by childhood trauma -- an experience he admits is almost universal. What presumption for this little method! As if this little game invented in the 20th century and soon out of fashion were the only way a soul could integrate! What species would evolve a brain that required such a late conventional form? No, but what psychoanalysis provides is what all relationships provide, a shared territory, a safe place, where the rules are known, where judgments are suspended, where hearts can commune.

            I am somebody for my friend, he expects things of me. I can't disappoint. But I can negotiate. I can be that part of myself that corresponds best with him. Nothing fake, nothing deceitful. An abbreviated part of myself. Nobody could get all of me, accept all of my being, except perhaps for Ama.

            If we respect our friends, we would not wish to disappoint. We wish to impress them, to gain more than love or sympathy, but also respect and honor. We wish to shine in his eyes. How often a man or woman, when he loses the one he loves, ceases to care, ceases to try. And yet in a general sense, the camaraderie, or "friendship with the group," and citizenry or "friendship with the nation," requires sets of expectations, each addressing some facet of our infinite diamond, opening a part of us nobody else could, realizing a part of us impossible otherwise -- the gift of friendship. The well-wrought personality -- and here, personality stands for our expressive self, our Poetry -- opens every other personality. Because one or two men became gods in this lifetime, the facet we are willing to share with them is also divine, insofar as we love them, in that respect we too are gods.

            And so every person emanates an infinite set of well defined energies, a social fabric: we are moved as if by chance and accident on a fatal strain. When the cutters come, better to be a bramble than a pine; when the headhunters come, better to be lazy than industrious the world would use you -- what an honor! -- but be sure not to be used up. But when the beloved comes, who is in her visage the very mask of Ama, go to your friend and give all: she is as dear as the pupil of your eye, as tender as the pulse in your neck.

            We choose some friends and reject others. I dropped one and recently gained, the other, who was all. Meanwhile, I limited my light and struck a few stars from out my sky. No longer would I drink effluence from Shakespeare or King James; now I would cling to my Emerson and Whitman, and open my heart to Lissidy, the river of my heart.

            We try out friendships, we fail. We in fact get humiliated, sometimes starkly, but all those wounds fill, they fill and heal. They are justified, in the end, by the certain growth that none of us can ultimately miss, though torture or death gives it delay. Make some rash attempts -- you'll learn the playing field. The others are worth fighting for, are worth keeping at all costs. Certainly there are the low types, and when we are in our low moments, they are also our type. Sins are debts the pious will pay while enjoying a night on credit. Others decry vanity, or absurdly, pride. But if good deeds are done for vain reasons, than vanity is good. Some truths, admittedly, are low and unworthy of comment -- each day we void and avoid such topics. But somebody must say them. Like a fluid that covers all the earth, men must pour into high places and low places. For us who prefer greatness over fame, worth over wealth, we say "never the easy target, never the obvious shot; ever the difficult, formidable, and glorious." We give what is ours to give, and nothing more. And for the one who is all and through whom we are all, we give all to that one, she is our centermate. How to be the all? How to be full -- how to gain that isness? Find that eternal point in him or her your mirror and press lips to lips: your souls will bloom to infinity.

            We are proud of ourselves and those like ourselves. There is a class of people whose very success we cheer on. We partake in it. It is our own. Whatever you identify with, your pride (which comes from the word "ability" -- podere), you will be open to praises and criticisms. To take pride in nothing, as a defensive measure -- as Buddhists and Christians do in their own way-- refuses the adventure of life, refuses to admit life is a game, is to play the game is if it were no game.

            We strive and we triumph, and those who share in this are evertrue. This coded inscription of our life--only a few know how to read, and they don't know how they read it. They speak of fate, or magic, or some other great name, but they are all aspects of friendship, calling each to his own. Some of our actions epitomize our character -- maybe some series of actions. They are representative. They express our life.

            A lifestyle is a system of personalized habits, meant to balance a way of life. My lifestyle was in distress. A chat with my friend A. was painful head to foot -- I hated the whole thing. I got nothing out of it. She was a pest, with a tone of persistent unwelcome advice. I found it obnoxious I spent most of my time negating her observations, her comments which persistently missed the mark. I shouldn't feel such negativity for a friend, and so it had to come to an end, with a blessing she will find her light and grace while I find mine.

            For there comes in any discipline or study plateaus, yes, but also asymptotical points where more and more effort goes into making less and less progress, till you are burning yourself out for an inch where on a good day you'd be leaping miles. Probably it is also a symbol for hidden miles -- it is no mere inch. It is like Thor trying to drink a cup of mead not knowing that t magician had made an illusion to cover that he was drinking the whole ocean. But there is also the time to let go, and there is no shame in giving up when that is the wisest move.

            Then the new friend comes in, sweet Lissidy, and all the pain is forgotten. A new challenge is sounded. In our discourse we may hit a limit, let my disappointment not ring as an accusation, for ultimately limits are knowledge, and bring comfort and certainty. Frustrated love is an everyday story, beyond remark or exception. And yet our love is mounting, and those limits are soon melted as if swept away by a river of molten gold. Inceptional nuances make for climactic contrast, as if a scratch on a pebble widened in a valley through mountains. But rather than being determined from the start, there is always time for divergence, as interpretation is infinitely flexible, yet rigidly defined. Parts of me are so stubborn. What is made of bronze must be corrected with a hammer. But that soft spot was your window.

            Sympathy is participation. We can fulfill our needs through sympathizing with the plights and successes of others. I feel I dare too much with new friends. Excess of love resorts to coldness. Lust in a fuller sense of the word, desire for contact -- holy lust, pure lust -- hurts to be rejected. A cold front can be a strategic and give control. There is, let me say, a sense of play and game in our love. That does not undermine the seriousness of my heart or my vow unto death to hold you dear.

            The old friend regained, the new friend esteemed, you are channels of vitality in my life. The friend I am finally able to appreciate: we open up to each other. I'm burning to say more but feel the pride of self-control in withholding. My friend the Dusky Angel, her fits and threats and furies are predictable, I have my arms completely around them. What is it we want after all? We want attention, direct or indirect, and we want to own and hold -- attend to beauty. To be feared and adored -- dual needs. We identify with others to free up energy, to try out possibility. The Hindus said we are all Brahma, as if each were a facet of that infinite diamond. But we are all equally infinite diamonds, and every facet corresponds to each person, each God, but the light that shines from within is utterly our own, new in the universe, a new sun, a new glory. There is one soul but an infinite set of defined expressions. Our soul finds expression in our personality, which is a Style.

            Voyeurism and exhibitionism are sexual forms of basic human exchange. The ultimate substances of human exchange are attention and effort, energy and focus. Union and triumph are the two basic gestures, love and power. Receiving energy and expending it is love, and love is give and take. We give more to take more, and amplify our oscillation. We desire the production and consumption of forms. The contemplation of forms is identification and empowerment. To appreciate beauty is to be empowered. In this, we both desire and want to be desires, and beauty is the promise of power.

            And yet life is still the mastery of time and space. This exquisite sadness that comes upon me at times, this requires space. Alternations between solitude and society are not antithesis just as alternating footsteps do not negate each other. They are not even complementary, they are the same. My hours alone at night are in my hours with you at day. I look upon your beauty -- that is beautiful which makes me fertile! -- and yet I know the gentleman of the abyss.

            The lover seeks energy from the beloved has closed all mouths but from what licks from her hand. So her absence is starvation -- yet he is loathe, indeed unable to open another mouth. He seeks her visceral command. Words from the body can be trusted. When seeking confirmation from the beloved -- a lover can be led to hysteria to tempt her indifference. So hot do friendships run. I'm not going to blow up your phone with texts, bludgeon your inbox with emails, or interrupt your important business with calls --though I want to do all that. Friend balances friend, and Lissidy, my ideal reader, all my readers together, are the ones I love to the pith of my love, he and she for whom I write.

            We attempt too much, we ask too much, we get burned. Life is a taskmaster, life is a game: we fail, we fall, we get up again. So what if I wince a little? For a burn victim, even kisses come as blows. What anxiety a fresh one gives us: I feel as if I have one match, and the wick is wet. It comes as a surprise each time. Pain is shocking, I always forget. It makes me laugh at how overfilling an utter suffering can be.

            I write my best and feel as if my language is exulted and unequalled, and yet can it be read? For the ones in me and after me, I feel certain it is so. An image, a voice, divine words, to stir the blood. For after the initial presentation, there is a logic of expectations. I give you my best, I am loathe to disappoint.

            And so the sillier games of friendship. If I can't demand justice and punish you, I an always unjustly punish myself and impute the blame on you.

            Whatever our means, silly or sincere, we set up friendships -- instinctively we find anchors and resources. We invest incredible energy into building a love. That one we build is forever within us, and we hope, forever beside us. We knit souls, with shared stories, with lived stories -- poems and dance.

            My personality can get overwhelmed, and yet I am vulnerable to you, my friends. Ama the sheath of my heart, when I bleed, you bleed with me. You nudge me into disaster, I have seen it before. How else to shatter these frozen forms? Just as religion offers a language meant to comprehend all psychic experiences -- what is outside a religions language is sure to cause doubt -- so is ever friendship a built language, whose tropes and terms are shared experienced and mutual evaluations. Can the old form hold the new energy? This is why I befriend the gods, who are infinitely flexible.

            There is yet the aspect of ownership in friendship. With sex comes ownership, and with ownership comes obligations. Once that element is introduced, the quality of the friendship changes. What was under is now over and the structure of the energy exchange is heavier, more interesting -- also more tragic. Yet all friendships of the least sexual nature yet have those vows of intimate exchange, shared secrets, which have the same working value.

            Essence if found be creating. When I can create you, when I can guess at your intimacies or be given them, and put them into art, than we have transfigured each other, hid ourselves from the world and yet put ourselves over the world for all lovers to admire. Different angles, and distances are necessary to see an object. We must see it in disguise, transposed, inverted. That one truth, one idea each of us represents -- all other ideas are byways. For objects are what can be named, subjects what can't be named. Obectivization is an act of power. I the glowing mirror show you your inner beauty and you marvel as if seeing a god.

            If the best writing is layer upon layer of allegories, love is the energy, the binding thread by which the fabric is woven. Why do I prune my prose like the feathered leaves of the oak? For love and love of that one. I build a stock of tropes and allusions so that when my heart comes to utter climax, my words will be ready to create heavens. We overcome our self disdain in silence. A man who reproaches himself is wounded by the praise of others. But having earned a sincere self respect -- the world can't deny you. Does wisdom frown? Remember the laughing wisdom? The universe is in love wish such ones as us. Those things known only to you, and that one almighty secret truth, hold on with dogged teeth. That is your wellspring, whether shame or pride, that is the eye to your abyss. All the rest, the intimate secrets, are knit like threads between the souls of those who know you, who could guess it all, for they are you and are in you. Like burning a corpse is giving these writings to the people. But to those who know, they are as natural as rainfall or the teasing winds. There is a net that catches the wise that never catches fools -- regret of life. Teaching a wise man to smile, teaching philosophy optimism, is the triumph of this age.




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