prune away the fence you grew through

I want so badly to post today but I think today's not a good day for it. We'll see.

Had a very strange experience yesterday. Loneliness.
Now loneliness is not the same thing as missing a particular person. You'll think of a person, or have a feeling or mental state aspect that reminds you of them, and say to yourself, "ah! I miss so and so, I wish they were here or I were there." Loneliness is an entirely different animal. The difference between the emotions is a difference of kind, not merely degree. I must be changing in more ways than I can say, because it's been one of those things I just don't "get", like jealousy is or relaxation used to be.

It only lasted a few seconds. I'd just hung up the phone from talking with Amber, it wasn't be time to call Dave yet, I didn't need to call Pearl, and Dad was right in the other room but I didn't want to talk to him. And without going in there and at least talking to Dad first I had no way of getting on the internet, with its many forms of almost-interaction. I wanted friendly, positive human interaction and the loneliness came when I became aware that just then I couldn't have it.

Maybe that's why I don't usually "get" loneliness. Because the main ingredient is the desire for human interaction. My comfort zone is at a pretty low overall level of that.

Mmm...maybe "human interaction" is not specific enough.
After all, hatting, creative or purely intellectual discussion, definitely counts as interaction. But the thwarted desire for hatting does not produce loneliness; it produces resentment. "Here are all these lovely minds all around me," the hat-deprived person feels, "who will not reconfigure themselves to give me what makes me strong and happy. Fie on them. Behold my pouting!" And this resentment quickly sours into the hubris/humiliation thing. You know, where the hatty person turns up their nose at others for not being what they'd prefer, but at the same time has great self-disgust and self-loathing for not being able to be like everybody else.

So okay. Being more specific. The main ingredient in loneliness is the desire for the presence and positive regard of trusted persons. Er...silver or above, if we use the metallic levels that I'm increasingly unsure about. I worked out in my notes that silver is the level where you begin to be able to absorb norms and operant assumptions about the nature of reality directly from a trusted being's personality. If trust runs both ways then the two people can simultaneously "feel out" each others' perceptions and reactions. The greater the level of trust, the less conscious oversight is required by or applied to this process. Close friends can come to a more harmonious mutual understanding of reality without external information exchange through symbol sets such as language. This is the magic of trust, and it's a doozy. Like that inspirational poster says, "The language of friendship is not words, but meanings."

That's why I'm fond of saying that telepathy exists, but it works only for people who don't really need it. Surface thoughts can only be exchanged by those whose underlying cognitive and emotional structures are already virtually identical in the content areas to which the thought refers. And if their cognitive and emotional structures are virtually identical, odds are they both would have come to the same conclusion independently anyway. "What would Fred do?" is a question best answered by good friends of Fred.

I've known for longtime that when I don't "get" or don't often experience a major emotion or emotional category, that's a red flag that my personality is missing a vitally important piece. Even if not experiencing the emotion is comfortable and a relief. I've met plenty of people who would give one of their arms to be missing that piece. But completeness trumps comfort. And hell, some of the best songs and poems in the world have been written about loneliness, right?

I suppose there's another point here also. As occurred to me when I posted "the poison tree", not feeling an emotion is NOT the same as not being in the state which produces the emotion. The fact is still true even if you force yourself to be ignorant. Having people I trust and craving their company, becoming aware that I hurt for its lack, is a really important step towards spiritual health. Even if I only felt it for a few seconds.