In my head is a menagerie of selves dancing in the chaos which I submerged myself all those years ago. Each of them vie for supremacy in who gets to be seen and heard in this world so obsessed with labels and with having an accurate grasp of who you are and what you look like through the lens of an everchanging societal microscope. Why do I let these monstrosities breed and violate each other within me, you ask? Because the best versions of ourselves await in the conclusions of such a pandemonium, something which I think people don’t like to experience themselves, much less to feel the collateral damages of through other people’s inner world wars.
But it’s not like this proclivity for safety merely stems from a human nature evolutionarily engineered to technologically and societally advance so that life could be as comfortable as humanly possible (or at least, I hope so). In order to preserve order in society, we have to be viable objects of all sorts of expectations because therein lie the crux of harmony. Besides, as a friend told me earlier today, it’s not like there is no growth to be had in taking the risk and forming bonds with beings similarly or perhaps even more imperfect that we are as an individual.
What I would like to emphasize is that I think we neglect this route of solitude, and all of the hidden gems we could mine through it. As Andre Gide put it, “The fear of finding oneself alone – that is what they suffer from – and so they don’t find themselves at all.”
One of these benefits is the discovery of worthwhile purposes beyond the boundaries of a normal career. Whether it be an advocacy or a work of art, the acquisition of something that far outlives us and that which would earn us a space in the pages of history one day, regardless of how selfless and altruistic the chosen purposes may be. And this is good for society, because it would increase the amount of people who could and would act not just for the sake of preserving order, but for instituting positive changes the previous generations may not have been able to believe as realistic.
Another benefit of tolerating a certain degree of chaos within us is the identification of a genuinely original answer to the question, “What is a fulfilling life?” Many people would the answer to this as a life finally devoted to the aforementioned worthwhile purposes, but there is also an underlying facet of philosophy which would reveal itself to be an obvious implication of solitude if we spend enough time doing it. This is crucial, not just for the sake of the immortalization of the self as previously mentioned, but also because it would allow us to weather through the inevitable and sometimes even seemingly absurd hardships of life as sufficiently resilient beings. As Nietzsche once said, “He who has a why can bear almost any how.”
The final benefit which I would like to shed light here is that feeling of genuine accomplishment which comes after having survived through the both the storm within and outside (as a consequence of embracing chaos), and coming out as an almost transcendent being. We take pride in all sorts of things, even those which do not constitute us becoming the best versions of ourselves. So why not take pleasure in actually BEING the best version of ourselves, instead of being merely satisfied of who we are as necessitated by external forces engineered to keep us from transcending such a necessity, and hence, the institutions which keep those external forces from dying out?
Dad always used to tell me that I need to have focus. However, we live in a world full of all sorts of influencing bonds, and the pursuit of authenticity could be compromised if we don’t allow a significant amount to chaos to challenge the order the world just spoon-feeds us since the day we are born. Implementing focus into one’s actions would render the self to be inauthentic if said influencing bonds are allowed to manifest themselves in oneself without much scrutiny. And I don’t want to live without being me.
And so, for those who are fortunate enough to be able to afford a least a little bit of the chaos present in having to introspect independent of how other people think, then I believe we should make the most out of it. Along the way, we would find that there are a lot of faces to be grateful for, a lot of hearts to say sorry to, a lot of erroneous decisions to not be regretted, and a lot of truly loving people to surround you. Because at the end of the day, the best life has to offer will only show themselves to those who are brave enough to swim through the dangerous ocean within ourselves, descend the deepest trenches, and find treasure chests put there by forgotten names of the selves that come and go as time pass by.
I am born out of love, but made out of chaos.