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The Intimacy of Loathing

A small thought:

A friend of mine and I were talking about people who vanish into their jobs. We've all seen this happen. They become more and more fixated upon their work environment until finally they have little or no contact with anybody not connected to their job.

We were wondering at the gradual erosion of intimacy that these people go through as their friendships wither away; that loss of a sense of your place in the world, in the community, in your circle of friends.

The fact that these people often do not in fact seem to LIKE their co-workers or even the job itself seems to have no bearing on this. Indeed, obsessive complaining about one's job is often a precursor to their vanishing into it.

And then an idea came to me: What if their intense loathing of their co-workers actually provides all the intimacy that they need? What if part of the reason why they vanish is that the passion they invest in the hatred of the people in their life is all the passion they want or need, leaving no room for any passion for any friendships? What if their place, surrounded by their hated co-workers provides them all the place in the world that they need in order to situate themselves?

I've seen this happen to some very interesting and worthwhile people, who have gradually become less and less so - less interesting, less worthwhile, and less like people - as time goes on. It's always depressing to watch, and I don't imagine it to be a very happy or fulfilling existence, but perhaps in terms of the human need to be a social animal, it is minimally satisfying?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment or comments. )
14th Sep, 2010 17:55 (UTC)
Maybe because they hate their job and job environment so much they have to go full on into the work to keep them distracted on how terrible it is. And as they get more and more into the job they hate where their life is going and have to go even more into the job to avoid realization on how terrible their life have become.

And it just goes on like that into a horrible spiral of misery alienating them from what they truly like in life (their true friends etc) because compared to what they actually have to deal with on a daily basis is so much less.

Unfullfilling work really is a nightmare.
15th Sep, 2010 03:53 (UTC)
There's a book by Robert Ardrey, the territorial imperative - available online here http://www.ditext.com/ardrey/imperative/imperative.html
that goes into this at length, how human and animal groups define themselves not so much by their members as by their opponents.

The science is apparently a bit iffy and out of date but it's a good read.
14th Dec, 2012 04:10 (UTC)
This happens to me if I feel totally unimportant & depressed. You go into the daily monotony until it becomes all that you are. At some point you just realize the boring rut you are in is all that defines you. Then you have to decide to leap out of it with all of the discomfort that comes with it, or not to.

Even if you HATE your workplace, if it's the only place you feel useful, important, or seen, it becomes the top priority. Work, Money, Looks, Who You Are Dating/With/Marriedto/Bedding, what is kindness or creativity compared with things that are so easy to judge?

I had one friend of over 10 years who I was close to just stop talking to me entirely. She decided that I put more into friendship that she wanted to, and she couldn't compete with that. What the hell? Like I'd ask someone to change into me to be friends? I work at home right now, so I can't get lost entirely in the work environment, but I still am tempted to do things that make me feel important and needed rather than things that make me feel fulfilled, free, and healthy.

If you could understand the misery of being the huge man in the airport that you saw you'd understand that he must drink diet coke, and if he eats in public, it will be a salad. Not for his health, but because it's not acceptable for fat people to eat. As if what you do in public defines everything about you. A really brave obese person is one with the confidence to look you in the eye and be present in their body in any state. We're all judged by how we look, and we'll all be ugly before we die. It just takes working with the very ill & elderly to see through some of the unimportant things we use to make ourselves feel safe.

When I was in Europe, I didn't lose weight. I just missed ice cubes. There is more to fat than just the environment and what we eat. It's physical, behavioral, emotional, mental, and genetic, and I don't believe we understand all of it yet. We've build a lifestyle so stressful & uncomfortable in many places in America that obesity is one serious side effect. It isn't the only one. We've just started to see the drug overdoses that we WILL be seeing if things continue on as they have been.

Thanks for the interesting read & the hilarious animal videos on youtube. I was researching echidna and your video showed up.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment or comments. )

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