Writing in an obscure language on a fringe topic means having three readers, five of whom misunderstand you. My perverted ambition is to be misunderstood more widely.
Joking aside, that’s of course not entirely true, though it is how it is sometimes feel; statistics say something a bit different. But it is true that it is a fringe interest, and that readers from Sweden are a small minority of an already tiny crowd. There’s a constant battle in my head: will I write in English or will I write in Swedish? I think I’ll keep doing both. (The bigger question: will I write at all, about this topic or about what I do with it or myself?)
I believe what makes it troublesome, and lonely, is that not only is it a fringe interest – my position within this fringe is more and more becoming a fringe position. Maybe that’s just an excuse for being rather hopeless as a human being. I’ve been consistently doing the ”wrong” thing.
I’ll write generally now, though what I’m saying was partly but very loosely inspired by a couple of comments made to me recently.
I want to speak of the nuances that get lost. One of them is: one may not want a worldview, one may not be on the lookout for a one and only Truth that will explain the universe. It is not a pitiable position to be in to investigate ideas – not even to engage with spiritual worldviews – without being a ”seeker”. Other people may trust in the existential relief that such a worldview can give; I don’t know that it can for me, and it isn’t my aim.
To me it’s no improvement to exchange a certain doubt for a doubtful certainty.
And I don’t think I want the salvation of a solid, stable worldview.
At the same time, it does change you; of course it does, as any quest does. I would be lying if I said it didn’t. The other perspective does change your world, and no matter what your initial ideas were, they are transformed. Miscellaneous opinions are replaced by a broader panorama of — well, the life that ideas get incorporated in when they stop being the objects of mere opinions. Some of it gives life meaning, just like everything you do (though I admit that Steiner is different from collecting stamps).
The ideal would be: not to search for the ”right” thing to think (too much effort, public and private, is wasted on that pursuit) but to think better.
Naturally, Steiner, as well as a number of other people, authors, thinkers, dogs (and so on, even one cat, I regret to admit), have changed the backdrop against which my life and my thoughts unfold. But I’m not shopping around for a worldview, I’m not a seeker in that regard, I don’t resemble those people who show up in a spiritual commune or at a skeptical conference and find community and a meaning of life. I’ve never seemed to be able to achieve that, even as I can envy those who do.
Contrary to what people seem to assume, this doesn’t mean engaging with Steiner (or anyone else who has had an influence on one’s thinking) was a waste. It doesn’t mean I’m driven by an impulse to go ”shopping” for something else in the mall of spirituality and easily digested, ready-made worldviews, because finding one, and settling down in it, has never been a goal.
I like to think that thinking better – rather than focusing on thinking the right thing – increases one’s opportunities. It widens the circle.
But I’m not sure that is always true in every sense. It does deprive you of a community of like-minded people who all think the ”right” thing! And the upside, well, frankly, I have only glimpsed it, if even that. I can see the benefits of a comfortable and safe enclave, and of course I must concede it fills a purpose. My desire is for that, too, on the surface; but something else emerges underneath, like a sea monster, and overrides that desire.
One part of it is perhaps boredom. The wish of my conscious self is to be in harmony with people, to be understood by them; the dream is for someone to share my world. But there must be some other impulse calling from my unconscious, because I constantly gravitate towards those who don’t; I constantly gravitate towards that which I’m not allowed to be a part of, and watch it from outside. The way I’ve done with everything from childhood and onwards. It goes much deeper than boredom – a feeling of not being at home anywhere, anyway. And that, again, is something more profoundly pathological than shopping for philosophies can cure.
I don’t want to find ”myself” (in the most ambiguous sense of that word!) and I don’t think I want to find those who are like me (if they exist) – oh, Dog, I’m so tired of myself – no, I, to some extent, go for the opposite, that which is contrary. I think because, ultimately, I find myself there, too, another self. I find more of myself there.
Occasionally, there’s an epiphany; the one thing that makes everything worth it. A moment of clarity. Only a moment, then life gets everything messed up again. But anyway, the other day I read (in a useless book) some lines by Goethe, intrigued I went online and found the poem, and in that moment I completely understood – even if words fail me now – the consistent and ever-present love Steiner has for Goethe; and I think, in fact, that I understand him better through those lines of Goethe. Strangely, the next day, completely by accident (or intervention of strong karmic forces, obviously), I read a lecture by Steiner where he quotes from the same poem.