• Our Forum Hosts will be doing maintenance sometime in the next 72 hours and you may experience an outage lasting up to 5 minutes.

Some thoughts on form

Kyriakos

Creator
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
70,214
Location
The Dream
In a passage first recited as an anecdote by the russian novelist Turgenev, to the french novelist (and his friend) Flaubert, later reproduced as part of a story by Guy De Maupassant, we read that Turgenev once had a very strange, and nightmarish, experience.

He was out bathing in the river, in his native country, and as he was getting ready to leave the water he felt something touching his shoulder. He turned to see what it was, only to be met by the most fearsome image of what appeared to be some kind of monster. A bloated, large head, eyes which appeared to look at different directions simultaneously, pink skin, and an overall anthropoid presence, but horribly distorted.

He later on found that it was the "mad woman" who was in the habit of bathing in that river, and she was chased away by his men. But the point of the story, as Turgenev stressed, was that for an instant, for all the time that appeared to prolong itself, while still being incapable of knowing what it was that was touching him, he felt a horrible emotion which could only be termed as terror.

Of course the sensible reader will also reflect on this little tale by placing himself in the position of the unfortunate woman, and feel sorry for her and her plight. But Turgenev's narration centered on the emotion of being alarmed by something you cannot caegorize as anything, at least anything you are familiar with.

*

Today i was at the hospital for some affair. There i saw a lot of people waiting. People with various malladies (i was at the opthalmological clinic), old but also young. Outside, in the small park, even more tired-looking, unfortunate, downtrodden people were to be seen.
However when i stepped inside the building i had to be in i saw a sight i had witnessed in the past as well.

In the past i had seen that person- for i know not if it is male or female- taking the bus. I was very sadenned at the time, since i still was of the habbit of projecting my emotions onto other people, by chance of their peculiar form. And this person was ill-fated enough to be quite distorted. Although i have once also seen a person with elephantitis, this was the second most severe case of somatic distortion i have come face to face with.

Naturally i did not look at that person anymore, and instead did the introverted thing, and tried to take advantage of this so as to rid myself of all projections onto others. For i reasoned that i could not know how that person felt. Surely that person's life was hard, but again what does this word mean? My life has been hard too, and maybe all people's lives have been hard, no matter what they look like.

So in the end i concluded that i privately hoped that the possible plight of that human being will be overturned perhaps, in some future life. Of course this was just a rapid move of exodus from miserable thoughts, but i really wanted it to be so. In fact, if there is no other life, i simply fail to see why there is no "why" to be asked in such cases. Since all people should be equal, but clearly are not, since all people should feel pleasant at times, but many do not, one might at least ask that all people be given the chance to lead a better life in the future.

I feel that many brush aside such sights. I recall giving small amounts of coins to people who were maimed, back in London. But i did not do this out of some kindness; i merely thought i knew how they felt, and in a way i was buying their continued burdening of themselves with my own negative emotions. Surely this was just an imaginary, and wrong, occupation of mine. But i needed to feel that something good can be done even in such a case, without just brushing aside the person with the plight.

I wanted to ask you how you react to such cases. Do you feel nothing about them? Do you ever wonder how life is for them?

Anyway, sorry for the gloomy note.
 

dusters

Emperor
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
1,229
Location
Latvia, EU
Well, bravo for such existentialism story, Kyriakos! :)

I do feel the pain, I cry a lot due to the suffering of others. I do believe "all are one", therefore I must do whatever I can to improve the situation. This leads me to a thought that I'm a mere weakling, a pathetic human being who, despite having a big heart, only has two hands and a head which fails quite often.

What I can do, is to care. Care about everyone who shows that he/she would benefit from being looked after.
 

Kyriakos

Creator
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
70,214
Location
The Dream
I think there is little to be done though, in most cases, at least in so severe ones. I mean i wanted to convey that i accepted that person as another human being, but outside of acting "normal" there was little more i could do.
It is a bit crap that people have to suffer. Some even seem to suffer due to no natural fault either, for example people in african countries who get parts of their limbs chopped off merely to act as a statement of might by some warlord. The world has a lot of horrors.

But it helps myself at least to remind myself that pain is mostly a psychological experience, and that means that you cannot really calculate what the other person feels. I know i felt hellishly bad years ago, but others around me did not seem to notice at all. So maybe the opposite also happens, that is one tends to falsely attribute widely negative emotions to one, when in fact the other person is not experiencing them- or at least not in such a dramatic degree.
 

dusters

Emperor
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
1,229
Location
Latvia, EU
That is about right. Once a grandma died, my friend's grandma. I didn't get to hospital in time to give her goodbyes and flowers. I wept like weeks after that. The friend itself was like "That's life, nothing special". The grandma was like 85 and in wheelchair.
 

Kyriakos

Creator
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
70,214
Location
The Dream
It should be considered that it does no good to identify with anyone else. No way to really know how they are, and the best one can do is ask them how they feel, and expect to form a view of it in general.

Though i am developing a heavy dislike of hospitals now, too much misery in them. There is also little companionship going on there i suspect, there is a short story by Anton Checkov titled "Enemies", which is exactly about people in dire situations, who end up hating each other.
 

Glassfan

Mostly harmless
Joined
Sep 17, 2006
Messages
3,956
Location
Kent
Years ago I was working part-time in a fast food restaurant for some extra cash. There was a young man also working there full time (8 hours daily) who had a very serious "club foot". We were on our feet virtually the whole shift and it was clear he was in pain much of the time. He would winch and bare his teeth and bump into things. When he would turn, his shoe would spin around and face backwards, and people would stare. As we became friends I began to learn his history - he was East Indian but his family had just emigrated (escaped?) from Guyana in South America, where they were part of an oppressed minority. Naturally they didn't have decent medical care during his youth.

So I began to explain to him that this was America and he didn't have to continue suffering. I told him about welfare and Medicare and surgery and prosthetics. Naturally this was an embarrassing topic for him and he seemed to blow me off.

Then a month later, he was gone. I asked the manager who said he was on Leave, and was getting surgery for his foot.

I quit soon after and never saw him again. But it's a very happy memory to think that I might have helped him in any way.
 
Top Bottom