Existential Dread

I love my life; it’s all going really well. I’m scared of saying that out loud for fear of dying. I am a dyed in the wool atheist, and my complete absence of faith in a higher power than myself is absolutely unshakeable. However it would seem that I am a rather superstitious person, and that does not sit very well at all with me. I am calm, I am logical, and I am rational; yet I fear that my happiness is the path to the dark side; how on earth has this most moronic situation been allowed to come to pass?

I take as read that he who has the most to lose will do the most to protect what they have. That is human nature, and it is why people tend to become progressively more right wing as they get older. That does not explain an increase in the levels of superstition, and imagined anguish, however. I feel blessed that I have a balanced life of peace and happiness, with a family I am comfortable to be part of, and a career which I find genuinely rewarding. Why do I feel like that is going to get me killed?

Nightmare visions fill my waking view; ghastly crimes against humanity, committed upon my nearest and dearest, the darkest evils falling upon the best of the best. I confuse myself at the best of times.

If someone dies, I cannot not claim to myself to feel sad; I cannot let out a sigh of pain at the loss of someone I have absolutely no personal connection with, someone who is no better than a stranger to me. I suspect that I will be struck down on the spot if I do not. I feel that not feeling sad about the passing of some random celebrity, especially if it is reported on the six o’clock news, is another example of me being astonishingly disrespectful, and that it will lead to pain and suffering for me.

I do not know the source of this pain, this suffering, this existential dread, but I feel it. I know that we are the top of the food chain spiritually, and that there is no power who can pass judgement on me. There is no god, there are no ghosts or ghouls; there is only pain and utter suffering in this one life.

Why then do I feel the need to doff the cap for someone I have never met, and for whom I feel no kinship whatsoever? Has a culture of deference been engrained in to us all, over several generations of collective observations of each other’s behaviour? That feels like the most comforting of all of the possible explanations. Better that than believing in some simplistic monotheistic higher power.

Every time I feel comfortable in a friendship group, it all falls apart, and I learn that I was never one of their friends after all. It makes me scared when social interactions in my life go well. It’s rare, but whenever I feel at all comfortable in a group of people, I start to feel that everything is about to fall off a cliff again, and I am about to be sat on my own, attempting to start from scratch. Again.

This one has a lot less to do with superstition, and a lot more to do with the repeated experiences of my life to date. I understand that I am the common factor here, and that I am not the nicest person to be around. That’s fine, but there have been actual experiences of being told that I am a valued friend – unbidden – and then finding that everyone has lost my phone number all of a sudden.

There are lots of relationships I have just allowed to drift off, simply because I fear the abrupt end over the long slow goodbye. This makes me a bad friend, and may be the root cause of some of the losses I have experienced. They are, however, minor occurrences when viewed against the big fat groups of friends I have lost over the years. And just as I was starting to enjoy knowing people.

Any time I feel relaxed, accepted and having fun, I am terrified that I am about to be told that I am too drunk and need to calm down. I am that scared of my own poor powers of social interaction. I am not the life and soul of the party, but some times I do seem to catch the winds of a good mood, and start interacting in a more free and easy way with the people I am with. That’s a good thing?

The problem is that I wake up the next day and find that my mouth feels like a woollen sock, and my head feels like there is a small German town residing within it. It is at this point that I become “Haunted” by the memories of conversations, of tickling, of acts of violence, which were not as fun as I had intended them to be. These hauntings are as to a scrapbook of my decades so far, and each one burns, as fresh as the day I woke up seeing them. I cannot escape my own stupid behaviour.

Once in a blue moon I am called out for it before things get out of hand. At the time I feel angry and bitter; I may even make cryptically dark notes to myself for future blog posts. The next day I feel an elation that all did not go wrong, and that I escaped a haunting. I wish these happened more often.

I absolutely hate judgemental people; there is no place for them. My dread is that by expressing my thoughts and my tastes, that I am mistaken for one of them. I tend to have strong views, and I like to voice them; I associate strong views with flag waving morons and the exponents of hate speech. I am not one of them, I fear being assumed to be one of them, but I do not want to hold my tongue.

I know that homeopathy is horse shit, but that makes me sound like I’m passing judgement on each of the suckers who use it. I may be passing judgement on the fraudulent whores who make a living selling flavoured waters, but I will never judge desperate people who want to feel better. This same reasoning applies to all of the bullshitery which dances around purporting to be “Alternative” forms of medicine. My views is that the alternative to medicine is death, but that seems very judgemental.

I judge things, not people. I judge concepts, not their users. I judge myself more harshly than I judge any one or any thing in the world around me. The fact that people do not quite understand this gives me the impression that I am alone in this regard. I would feel happy, but it may all fall apart if I do.