Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Cathexis, God as Superman, platonic friends, and bicycle thieves



So I learned a new term today: "cathect," a term from psychology where the individual vests the responsibility for his emotional (and mental?) state on to another being, or object. It is supposedly common in dysfunctional relationships. And so, I did some surfing on the net (try explaining that phrase to someone in the 80s) and found "cathexis." And in the entry under it, is written:

- we can only love that which we allow to become important to us. But if something becomes important to us, there is a risk we may lose it or be rejected. Love anything that lives and it will die. Trust anybody and you may be hurt. Depend on anyone and you may be let down. The price of cathexis is pain.

- to avoid this risk means doing without many things - getting married, having children, the ecstasy of sex, the hope of ambition, friendship - all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant.

- move out or grow in any dimension and pain as well as happiness will be your reward. A full life will be full of pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully or not to live at all.

- the essence of life is change. Elect life and growth, and you elect change and the prospect of death.
when we shy away from death, we inevitably shy away from life.

- awareness of death, helps us realize how precious our time is & the need to make the most of it.


I guess the flippant (I am the undisputed grandmaster of overusing and misusing this word--only President Bush has even the remotest chance of beating me in this malapropistic contest) would summarize the blurb above as "No pain, no gain," but I am no masochist either. Love but love wisely, I guess.

And pray wisely too. Nick Cave has this song, "Oh My Lord," with the most haunting lyrics:

Be mindful of the prayers you send
Pray hard but pray with care
For the tears that you are crying now
Are just your answered prayers
The ladders of life that we scale merrily
Move mysteriously around
So that when you think you`re climbing up, man
In fact you`re climbing down
Into the hollows of glamour, where with spikes and hammer
With telescopic camera, they chose to turn the screw
Oh I hate them, Ma! Oh I hate them, Pa!
Oh I hate them all for what they went and done to you
Oh Lord Oh my Lord
Oh Lord
How have I offended thee?
Wrap your tender arms round me
Oh Lord Oh Lord
Oh My Lord

It lies at the same level of despair as Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah," IMHO. Loss of love, loss of God, how far apart are the two?

Leaving despair aside, 2 very close friends whom I love very, very much asked me to officiate their wedding at a resort in Mexico. I was stumped for words, and beyond honored and touched at such a request. I really hope to be able to perform the ceremony for them. There is very little out that that makes me happier than to join two such wonderful beings together in matrimony. Of course that would mean I need to get some sort of... um.. clerical qualifications in a hurry. As I am not baptized yet, I have no qualms with it, as the end is all good. I like to imagine God as someone like Akhil Sharma's "Krishna with blue skin, a flute and a dhoti morphing into Superman with a cardigan": in other words, He is not fussy.

In other news (old news for those readers on my ICQ list), my brother is getting engaged on the 22nd of this month. He's a Baptist and I consider myself Catholic, and so there is always some sort of tension between us (we love each other though. We just get into so many heated arguments over theology and rituals over dinner than Mum banned discussions of religion at the dinner table). Anyways, here is an excerpt of our "warm" and brotherly conversation:

MY BROTHER: Dude, aren't you gonna attend my wedding?

ME: Nah, too busy, but I will be there for your next one. Promise.

MY BROTHER: Burn in hell, bro!

Maybe I should change my name to "Cain." It is not only a one-syllable name, but ends on the same letter as well.

Read the blog of my childhood friend/ mountain biking buddy's (yes, I bicycle a lot...) gf this evening, and she made mention of the issue of platonic friendships between opposite sexes. Hmm... That's a tough one to crack. I must admit I find the concept of the fuck-buddy totally alien. Call me old fashion (or even--GASP!--slightly feminine) but I think an emotional connection eventually arises out of coitus. But I digress (and very often too!). There must be chemistry and a level of sexual attraction from BOTH parties for a platonic relationship to be in danger of changing into a romantic relationship. Case in point: I have this friend. Both of us are English majors. Both of us are a perfect fit intellectually and interest wise. She also had the hots for me. But I just wasn't interested in her as a girlfriend. I treasured her as a friend though. And believe me, I tried to see her as attractive "in that way." It just didn't work. It's the equivalent of attempting to convince me that the phrases, "French technology" and "Gallic valor," do not fall under the category of oxymorons. No way, Jose; it's not going to work.

Here's another true story:
I had this platonic female friend. Let's call her Ellie. She had a thing for me (I never knew, so dense was I). So, after a couple of years of having no results, she decided to make a last-ditch attempt at me: after treating me to an expensive aged-steak dinner, she said the night was too young, and requested that I take her on a fun drive. So I took her into the mountains via HW 9 in my modified Supra Turbo.

Several times in the course of the drive, she would point out to several look-out/Vista Points, and remark how nice a view it must be from there. All I replied was, "Uh uh" or "Watch how fast I can take the reducing-radius turn ahead." After 45 minutes, feeling nauseous, she gave up and asked to be taken home.

OK, so I took her home. She asked me to stay for the night and just talk all night. I think, "Oh, OK, why not?" As I climbed on to her bed, I noticed her taking something with a glass of water, and so I asked. She said it was birth-control pills. When I pointed out that she doesn't have a bf, she replied, "just in case" and smiled at me.

Well, we talked a long while, and I dozed off. The next morning, I happily drove home. I did nothing that night but talk and sleep. She never called me again.

When I die, the DoD is going to disinter my cadaver and use my brain as a replacement for depleted uranium projectiles.

However, if I am attracted to this individual, then the "What if?" and "Just maybe..." mentioned by the very attractive gf of my childhood buddy inevitably go through my head. That is not to say that a course of pursance will follow though. We CHOOSE to love. I like to believe in that.

That is not to say that it is not painful to pine and love from a distance though, as anyone who has read Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, or watched its movie adaptation, can attest.

A substantial number of bicycles have been stolen from campus lately. My one-man campaign to convince individuals that many of their U-locks are practically useless have fallen on deaf ears. Here is a picture of how easy it is to defeat a significant number of U-locks out there:


A 5 cent BIC pen, 30 seconds or less, and your bike is gone.
Laugh at my heavy uncuttable chain and lock all you want, dude.
Enjoy shopping for your replacement bicycle *smirk*

Last but not least, here is another blasphemous joke to deflect accusations of me being a bible-thumper:

Mrs_Grima_Wormtongue: My dad once said that we should just combine Hanukah, Groundhog Day and Easter.  We spin the dreidl, and if it lands on "Nun," Jesus has to stay on the cross for 6 more weeks.


Postscript:
In the spirit of ecumenicalism, since I have been exclusively focusing on Christianity with my irreverent jokes, it is only fair that I have a go at Islam as well: enjoy the lyrics of this song.

Behead me, my sweet beheadable you
Behead me, you irreplaceable you

Just one look at your mask
My heart grew tipsy in me
You and your scimitar alone
Bring out the gypsy in me

I love all the many charms about you
Above all, I want my arms unbound, you

Don't be a naughty jihadi
Come to Allah, come to Allah do
My sweet beheadable you

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