Monthly Archives: December 2016

the distance

What do I care about – really? I has recently come up with the conclusion that my extended horizon of cares only reduces my capacity for affection. That I’m not bothered by anything at all because I’ve drifted too far from the life in community. I reflected again on this today while having lunch alone in university. A guy sat three tables away, facing me, and I turned my face to the window so that I wouldn’t have to look at him. This was another moment when the absurdity of the atomized existence became apparent to me. No matter how individualistic I have become myself, I still find unbearably weird the cohabitation of strangers in postmodern societies – how can people exist in such a proximity while being completely isolated from each other, having nothing to do with each other? Why do we have lunch alone? In another life, I would have my friends joining me for lunch everyday because we would go to school together and would also share other aspects of our life like studying or hanging out outside of the institutional settings. Last time I had that kind of relationships, I was in high school. Since then my relationships with people have become compartmentalized, and the fact that I live abroad only complicates the situation. I don’t have a friend whose presence is pervasive in every area of my life anymore.

Another problem with being “on exile” is the state of being in between, which means not belonging to anywhere, a sense of familiarity and estrangement at the same time with both places – home and the foreign country. So home become foreign and the foreign land becomes home, all the same being what they are originally. This leads me back to the initial question. I cannot, and don’t want to, care about what happens back at home because the physical distance has gradually grown into a mental distance, which I developed as a coping mechanism. I don’t care about what happens here either, all the issues and topics that people are interested in and discuss passionately, despite being intellectually and physically engaged. Simply because my heart is not entirely here, and I can only care when I’m wholly into something, which is impossible in the situation that I am. Maybe I should not be such a defeatist, a fatalist who puts all the blame on the context, the external environment (precisely what an effective neoliberal subject should not do – and everyone who is not an effective neoliberal subject today is regarded as lazy, self-pitying and, in my case, ungrateful for my privileges). Would I have cared more if I had built my life back at home? No, the meaninglessness has always been there. It was part of the reason why I needed to go away. Maybe I was just finding away to not care. Because to care implies to do something about it, to deal with the concrete, with actions. And I live in the world of abstraction and possibilities.