In the late stages of starvation the body turns to its own muscle tissue as a source of protein, literally devouring itself in a last ditch effort at survival. The functioning of the brain becomes impaired as cellular processes fail. The subject becomes listless, apathetic, and withdrawn as he consumes himself.
The solitary man, having by chance or choice found himself removed from society, must also turn inward, as his psychological needs for love, companionship, and human contact must be sated. He too consumes himself.
Take it from me, I know. All this other stuff I talk about; well, I’m a fraud. What do I know about the affairs of the world, of human nature, of man’s relationship to society? My knowledge is all second hand, acquired by reading or worse, watching television, run through my shoddy filter of a mind, fouled by my vanity and prejudices, worthless in the end because only the lived experience achieves anything near certainty. And while my education is merely paltry, my lack of experience is a scandal. Snatch anyone out of a crowd at random, you’ll almost certainly have found someone who’s done more than me. I can’t help it. My natural state is dull torpor. Want to know about sloth? Listlessness? Apathy? These are the materiel with which I wage my campaign of inertia.
I was sullen from the moment I was forced, literally kicking and screaming, into the harsh light of day. I believe my mother once told me that I was a relatively well behaved baby. This was no pleasant disposition; I'm sure I'd already made up my mind about the futility of effort. Why waste your breath?
As long as I can remember I’ve been looking back; even as a child I remember thinking that if only I could go back to some earlier point and start again, then I’d shake this thing, this curse, this personality that I'm sure belongs to someone else, that I carry about with increasing fatigue and resentment. Sometimes when I catch sight of myself in a mirror I think I see the stranger who’s hijacked my body, there behind the eyes, faintly mocking, the bastard.
My whole life I’ve gazed longingly into the past with bitter nostalgia. But it was never so very good until it was gone, this life. That part of it spent and squandered is mourned; that which lies ahead is feared; its end is resented.
But life does grow sweeter, in spite of me. In spite of this undeserving ingrate, this incomplete creature bestowed with an awareness he misunderstands and manhandles, like an ape tearing the pages from a book. Life has never been better, truly, than now--yet still!
Mankind is glorious; man is wretched.
Don’t mistake this for modesty or low “self-esteem”, whatever the hell that means. Talk to me about self-esteem and I’ll punch you on the chin. You will likely then beat me senseless, because I can’t fight either and I’m an awful coward, but that’s beside the point.
No, quite the opposite. I think only too highly of myself. As do you. We cannot help but turn inward, even when we look at the heavens. This is the source of our dispossession.