Toilet Ruminations #38

Here I sit, enduring myself. When the great philosopher E.M. Cioran was asked what he does from morning till night he replied, “I endure myself.” This is the best any of us can do. We seek in vain for ways to escape ourselves. For solutions to ourselves. We pay thousands of dollars to find a technique, a way out of ourselves. We embrace ideologies, belief systems and other people to get out of ourselves. We will do anything to be able to escape from ourselves. We seek liberation from ourselves. We sit in meditation. We get drunk. We get high. We work. We get oral sex. We spend hours in strip clubs. We conform ourselves in front of television. We hypnotize ourselves in front of smartphones. We overeat. We will do anything to escape from ourselves. Most people’s lives are just a futile effort to escape from themselves. At the end of their long, exhausting and expensive journey they finally realize that there is no escape. They are still in themselves. They have been searching so long and hard for a way out of themselves but they are still here. Most people’s lives end with this kind of disappointment. A quiet life of desperation. Think of all the other things they could have done with their time? The hours spent looking for a way out of ourselves are always wasted hours. All a person can do is learn to endure themselves. Those who liberate themselves from themselves have athletic endurance. Is this not the talent of Zarathustra? These athletes of the self can tolerate themselves for longer periods of time than you and I can. They can live with all the horror and fear that their selves generate. They can live with all the anxieties and self judgments. All the confusions about what to do and who to be. All the self-doubts and apprehension. All the worry, unfufilled desire and unhappiness. Those who truly liberate themselves from themselves are better able to endure themselves rather than trying to fix or escape from themselves. We all know this to be true but we live within capitalism. Capitalism is a system that must continually be generating profit in order to survive. It must turn us all into profit seeking animals. So we seek profit from one another and we convince one another that if you buy this product, if you purchase this system, if you spend money on this psychotherapeutic intervention- you will find freedom from yourself. But we know this is never true. What we are sold is snake oil. We can only endure ourselves. No one can sell you endurance. Endurance of the self is not profitable. This is why no one mentions it to you. But endurance of the self is the best any of us can do. It is the most sensible and sane practice any human can undertake. It seeks no God. I sit here on my toilet and I endure myself. I let my mind run wild and I observe my mind’s machinations. I endure my mind’s machinations. I am not seeking to change myself in this moment. I am practicing the skill of being able to endure myself.

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