On warmth


For a long time, people have asked me to concisely detail my philosophy.

For a long time, I’ve resisted fixing it to one particular school, one particular explanation or one side of the given spectrum – I am young, foolish; occasionally, I’m even mistakenly arrogant; I am neither content all the time nor am I discontent – what good then would putting a philosophy down in words be?

It is [as it seems I must] back to Beckett to answer that question:

Perhaps it’s done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story, that would surprise me, if it opens, it will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.
-The Unnamable

Permit me a short while and I’ll go on a short while.

This is just one element of my philosophy but it is a central one: warmth.

All of us – healthy, not, young, old, impassioned, embittered, followers, freaks – all of us need warmth.

I don’t mean simply heat, we’re an adaptable species and have developed internal chemical reactions to provide heat but warmth – to me – comes from perspective: if we can see that all humans – the racists, the aggressive,  the criminal – are simply scared then we are somewhat closer to the perspective needed to see the importance of warmth; some people would feel anger, pity and a commonly described feeling of wishing for distance when encountering others who make them scared. These are all entirely understandable however, what is it that makes humans build up their defences to the point where they become scary? Being scared.

In order to rid ourselves of that very cycle, all of us need to attempt to see those who scare us as scared themselves.

Xenophobes are an excellent example – xenophobes are indeed scared of the ‘xeno’, or strangers and that which is strange to them. So they immediately build up their defences and many become racist so as to have a tribe, a line in the sand: defences.

Those of us who are considered sportsmen and sportswomen build up a physical resistance to the outer world and push our bodies into limits they may never have encountered with some drive, some obsession, some constant will – this too is building up defences against the outside world. Building ones body is a form of self-defence, this is evident, what isn’t evident is that it can often do more harm than good because this building work forms an architecture of reactionary defence.

***

There is no defence for reactionary defence, there is no offensive manoeuvre that will catch it off guard.

But we, as compassionate humans, cannot simply let those building their defences do so as it will harm them to do so.

We must show them warmth but in order to do so, we must first see them as in need of warmth.

Once again, warmth isn’t heat. Warmth doesn’t burn but is simply there – constant.

Be warm, be constant when you can and, most importantly, be warm to those who scare you, who annoy you, who you feel are deeply misguided. Be warm to them. Difficult as it may be, be warm to them.

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