it will always be
the end of time

the end of law
the end of life
~Mike Doughty

There's a point in Daniel Quinn's book Ishmael where the narrator realizes, with the help of his teacher, that when human beings choose to believe in a myth that places themselves at the end of time, it predisposes them to choose actions that help bring about the end of human life. It comes as a great surprise to the narrator, who has believed in such myths himself without even recognizing their narrative bias. The story that places man at the endpoint, the apex, of a long struggle of evolutionary progress can be just as apolcalyptic, in its own subtle way, as the story that names man the heir of God's new kingdom which will rise from the ashes of an imminent armageddon.

Over these past weeks, while I've been unemployed, I've come to realize just how much I rely on my social environment to provide working material for my internal narrative. Not only what I'm doing and with whom I'm doing it, but why I want to, why it matters, why I even exist, to a certain extent. Strip away the emotional bonds through which beliefs about reality are absorbed, and the ability to confront reality on a solid psychological footing gradually deteriorates. Isolation, as the God of Genesis remarked to Adam, is not good for us.

The social environment, as I've often discussed, is the proving grounds in which people develop their identities. There the fantasies and desires of the interior ego confront the necessity of taking on social roles, adapting to others' viewpoints, and effectively drawing on the personality's resources to meet the challenges and stresses of action in real life.