Sensitivity 101

Good evening ladies and gentleman

A strange recent mental development of mine is  it seems that modern society is actively trying to be as cut off from people as possible, forever filtering opinions and beliefs of life and love for fear of ridicule, of supposed “abnormality” and humiliation, all to manage the inevitable wave of pain washing over you, as if everyday after a troubled and reluctant sleep mired in your over active imagination, you climb into the shower for the same feeling to flow through you. We become so familiar with this pain, it doesn’t really register on any mental level as an emotion anymore, nothing more than an oil painting hanging up against the back wall of your life. So we cut off. For if we build up the walls and keep the risk away, the oil painting remains in the background, not becoming any more of a problem, even if it means it never goes away.

None of this matters though, for we cannot feel that pain again. To me, there is an event, a memory where we have all felt so much the effects are so severe it as if you’ve just bee clocked with an uppercut from Muhammad Ali, so profoundly powerful to you that nothing will ever be the same again. You feel like no amount of pleasure would be worth risking that feeling , so you make a conclusion, a “best case scenario” of dealing with this middle ground. This way life will continue and we cannot fall, even if it means facing the possibility of never truly feeling pleasure and success or understanding half of what pain is capable of.

This idea has made sense to me for some time- that we deal with the “necessary evil” of limited pain and pleasure so we never find ourselves plunging the depths of that feeling, that severity that dragged you so low that the light at the end of the tunnel seemed nothing more than a distant fantasy. However, you always have that memory that caused so much, stored away somewhere, just off the main corridor of your conscious memory in a safe, under lock and key and ignored most of the time. Yet still there, for occasionally you find yourself drawn to it.

Why? What causes us to keep this memory so close- yet so far away? For what it makes us feel is unique, something i shall call, for the sake of this point- “painful pleasure”. My connections between pain and pleasure are based in the fact these memories come from is visually a powerfully pleasurable experience, while tainted with the severe negative “awfulness” of their ending. We keep them for it proves in a world where being cut off seems so much of an easy route, we hold something back from the world and to some extent, ourselves.

This, in a way, is your very own sensitivity 101. Dramatic loss of something so utterly beautiful in your life creates a memory carved into the very centre of your soul- its never truly forgotten. We are so sensitive to so many of the little details in this memory, for it all seems so relevant to how you felt at the time, the heights of pleasure, to the inevitable loss at the end. Its like your watching your favorite movie, only where you have seen the sad ending a bunch of times before. While we take some solace in this singular memory, a near perfect reference and definition for what pleasure means to you, pain and misery never seem to far behind.

We learn so much from studying this memory in great detail, seeing all the mannerisms, environment, conversations and language, the resulting decisions and happening that led to the “inevitable” result. The fear of this result is what makes for the mental fine tuning, this need to see the details to avoid those thoughts and feelings re-appearing to keep an eye out for any little glimmer that a similar experience could result in that utter brilliance and feared ending could make a comeback. Through this learning process, you not only become aware of whats happening, emotionally speaking in your everyday life, you start to notice so much more of everyone else.

We become sensitive to the way people are feeling based on what they say and do,  develop a different way of seeing things- beyond your own thoughts and feelings. We look past the way we feel, for this logical “analysis” seems the key, the rationale behind what “pleasure” is supposed to be. This is the “necessary evil” within sensitivity.

You feel everything because of that memory, but you have a process, its managed feeling. You look so much for those thoughts and feelings to try and understand them, for we hope it means that we can change the ending. I guess in a way its related to perfectionism, seeing everything in the hope you might win the “final battle” against the inevitable ending of pain. We spend our lives to manufactured, controllable and understandable ideas,  making them nothing more than another oil painting cluttering up the forever mundane attributes of modern life.

Nothing seems natural these days- designed by a committee or a focus group, surveys and “happiness charters” telling us how we are supposed to think and feel. Seeing this from your perspective sways thinking, to needing to see all the details, for the details give us information, the details help us make conclusions, to move the balance of power in our favor, to achieve that “pleasure” we have been working so hard towards. There is always a pay off though- something that is only yours to bear.

I have that memory. That memory that creates nothing a feeling like nothing else. The parts that felt good, that felt so awful its like my soul had died. We need all the details, for being lost in the pain and pleasure of it all means it might happen again. I feel that memory so severely, sometimes losing myself in its brilliance, regardless of what I know is coming. This feeling, good or bad, is the cost of the details. We limit it though. We keep the floodgates closed to the rest of the world, for fear that fresh memories could re-create that feeling, without the details that we have become convinced are the key to this manufactured pleasure.

We fear these memories. These moments where we feel so much, that we don’t know what to do, to think, to feel. I wander if we fear this sensitive nature- for we don’t know what it will do and what it will make of us. We feel like we have control of the memories, for they are over. Fresher memories, as far as you know, could have a much more profound effect.

For everything ends and its always dreadful.But i wander as hard as we try and as many details as we notice, that nothing ever fades. Not really.

Yours, with love as always.


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2 thoughts on “Sensitivity 101

    1. While it has its place, this idea in modern society that “to be sensitive” is the key to a happy life, seems a preposterous cliche. Its that idea that we can be told how to think or feel, the feelings of a group decided as a group without taking into account the thoughts of the individuals. We are all perfectly capable of being sensitive, to an extent deemed relative to the emotional context of the situation. A twist on the idea is that we have a need to notice, to sense everything that is happening- for the flow of information we need for “success” is often combined with the over-sensitivity. Its this over sensitivity that makes for the pleasure of those memories to return, regardless of its inevitable pain.

      Yours, DR.

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