Why do we speak. We speak because we need to manage our lives. But when we’re not managing our lives we still speak. Day after day, night after night, we jabber on and on and on.
There is no such thing as just talking. Casual conversation is a euphemism, an excuse for what is really taking place. We do not speak because we need to. We speak because we are nervous, because we are anxious, because we are incapable of remaining silent. When we are calm we speak less. When we are sure of who we are, of what our purpose is, we don’t even speak at all - we act, we watch, we listen, sometimes we even smile. What is talking? It is a condition of the neurotic. They are directly proportionate.
The act of conversation is a self-consuming one. One forgets oneself in the flow of words. One is in love with the sound of one’s own voice. Just as in war and sex, one is so caught up in the act that one’s self is momentarily forgotten, and with it, the neuroses attached to it. There is also the interlocutor, the other, to whom our ego is completely dependent upon for existence. When we speak we are not saying I am funny, I am interesting, I am deserving of sympathy. We are saying Am I funny? Am I interesting? Am I deserving of sympathy? Though we may come to believe that we possess these attributes, we are constantly asking to be reassured of them. We are unable to remain certain on our own. We have to be given permission. We have to be congratulated, admired, provoked. We have to be told I love you, to believe it.
Lovers who speak incessantly are not necessarily deepening their bond by discovering more of each other but simply reassuring one another of their own self-worth. The words themselves mean nothing. One couple will talk of art, literature, science. Another of television, movies, magazines, other couples. There exists an established strategy in which we seek positive affirmation from our interlocutor that begins in childhood with a parent who smiles and makes faces believing it to be for the pleasure of the child alone. But in the gesture is hidden the question. Because if there was certainty there would be no question, there would only be action. And so the problem remains. And soon the child’s own dependence on the question is in turn created too. Growing up they inherit the same insecurity, looking for assurances in everyone but themselves.
Why are we so reliant on the other? Because our culture is Other orientated. We do not know how to manufacture personal happiness alone. We only know how to work for others to give it to us. What else are the ambitious, the creators of the world, the writers, musicians, architects, scientists and inventors other than those who are either burdened with a greater need for assurance or a greater ability to provoke assurance. Their work is the same as others except that it is more concentrated. They will go for long periods without any assurance at all in exchange for the hope of a great amount of assurance all at once. The creator produces for himself an independent satellite that flows around him and alleviates the need for him to actively seek out assurances one at a time like a foot soldier. The creator is a general who creates an army that now works for him while he sleeps. He need not lift a finger.
When we speak with our friends we are so often entering into a mutually beneficial agreement of self-serving satisfaction. Calling them at the end of the day we take turns to whine, unload our sorrows and exchange our pent up energy simply because we have not been provided with an alternative. We still do not know what to do with it. We have no idea how to transmute it. We only know how to redistribute it, thin it out, either all at once to a parent or lover, or bit by bit to one friend and then another, taking extra care not to exhaust the saturation levels of each. The archaic energy flow of the family unit. The spreading out of a single problem to every member available.
But this does not make psychological problems easier to solve. It enables them and gives them more fuel to thrive. Unless a problem needs physical labour, more people will only compound it. Why do we spread it from one member to another? Because we have been conditioned to avoid opportunities to grow psychologically at every turn. Yes, we are weak, and we cling to it.
The next evolutionary step in human communication is telepathy. For many it is already a reality. But before it becomes widespread the understanding that we are saying nothing will slowly and naturally become the norm. Like bad breath a certain impotence will become associated with verbosity. When the eyes of the other begin to stalk us, our blabbering will drop off entirely. From shame a truer communication will emerge. And thus, by definition, a sparser one.
You wake up and whisper sweet nothings to your wife. She smiles at you and you get it. You kiss your baby good morning, he smiles, gurgles and you get it. You say hello to your secretary at work and a clever phrase to your boss. Again, you get it. Then at lunch you go out and the man at the sandwich counter gets your order wrong. When you tell him your ego is subtly triggered by the micro sensation of superiority because you have been given an opportunity to correct him justifiably. But because you exert yourself sensitively, generously you save his face and he is suddenly in your debt entirely. Handing over your sandwich he nods gratefully. Your victory over him is total.
We have become technicians at camouflaging our demands for assurance. Most go directly but the more perceptive use inverted snobbery. Too wary of the game they simply go the other way. But the need is the same. With more perception one is simply assured less easily. But it’s a game that one plays alone. Manic depressives are simply inconsolable because their minds are too knowledgeable. They arrive at Tolstoy’s conclusion. Everything is pointless. But then they have also reached a threshold. And with a little push they too like the old man may come to find God. And where? Oh yes ho ho - inside.
Wait for assurances and you will wait forever. But provide them to yourself all unconditionally and you will create a state of mind that is beyond games altogether. Then you will have become your own provider and in turn you will have blended with the creator. Then you won’t need anything from anyone ever again. And for the very first time, you will actually be able to give.
Too Many Words by Zedelef
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