The Dangers of Self-Inquiry

The existential rabbit hole is a journey of no return. Anyone who has stepped into the seduction of self-inquiry realizes that if they pursue this path, their life will never be the same. And so, they are confounded by two options: one, abandon the quest early and swiftly; or, follow it to its bitter end.

Luckily, the frenzy of daily living inoculates us from this dangerous sort of introspection. Why is it dangerous? Well, simply because no one can help you with it. No one can inhabit your consciousness with you. And perhaps that’s the crux of loneliness, the cornerstone of existential anxiety. It’s a stone better left unturned, a path better left untraveled.

No person, place or thing, can palliate the angst aroused by self-inquiry. Because the truth of the matter is that no one can solve the riddle of “who am I and why am I here”.

No psychologist can liberate you of the restlessness provoked by a completely rational question (why do I exist at all?)In fact, the DSM diagnosis for a preoccupation of this kind, may be that of hyper-rationality; a mental illness elicited by simply thinking too thoroughly.

So most of us avoid the question entirely, because the end result is too harrowing to confront. Self-inquiry forces us to ask, why live? Why put a herculean effort into living, when life amounts to nothing at all, if existence even exists at all?

And those of us who do ask, quickly discover that we are entirely alone in the cosmos. And we rightfully walk the tightrope of insanity until we are tugged back into another dismal distraction.

And so, we spend the majority of our lives skirting around the fact that we are alone. Alone in a family, alone in a friendship, alone in love.

“It’s a question of point of view. How can consciousness exist in a material world? Perhaps consciousness is an illusion. But if I perceive consciousness to be an illusion, then surely I must exist. These questions give me so much anxiety. I can’t stop thinking about them. I’m not attentive when other people speak to me. I forget to clean my room. I don’t do my homework. I can’t learn my lines in drama class. It creates so many problems in my life. My parents tell me: ‘You could win this award.’ Or: ‘You could easily make these grades. But you don’t care enough.’ They’ve taken me to ten psychologists. Never a diagnosis. They just say that I’m a dreamer. And in this world dreamer is not good. Dreamer means child. I need to become an adult and do material things. So that I’m stable. So that I can buy a house one day. So that I’m not just living beneath a bridge—thinking these thoughts. But it’s so hard to find the energy. Before I begin I must know if life is absurd. I can’t live in an illusion. I want to be lucid. I need to know that I’m doing things for a reason. That I’m expending energy for a reason. If death is the end of all this– and nothing but emptiness after that– then it’s a terrible problem. It would be better to not exist than to exist in a world without meaning.”
(London, England)

An Existential Insecurity

In the mirror
I look to see
Is that truly me?
They call my name
And I’m left a-stutter
Could I possibly be contained
In a mere 4-letter marker?
I am here now
But before I was not
So where was I then
Before here I was brought?
In the empty space beyond
Or could I have been conned?
And if I was somewhere
Twiddling my thumbs
To where will I return
When this identity comes undone?

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