On Silence and Loneliness: In Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

I can’t help myself. Embracing solitude in anxiety and comfort is greater than remaining habitual. But as humans, we do both. Extract the good from the bad. Accept it. And still remain confined to what feels familiar and ours. I felt this conversation clinging to me when I was reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, which is wired to her emotions as my own. Revisiting her The Bell Jar, I found myself taking down notes page after page, not to review, but to deeply connect to and understand her work. And modernity doesn’t meditate on such loneliness the way this book does. These sentences, for example, extract the singular meaning of what makes humans vicious yet so purely beautiful:

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”

Some of us feel loneliness in the lack of physical contact, some in conversations, and some in emotional and sexual intimacy. And there are some souls that feel it all; all at once and for a long time. This stretch of time refines our sense of being, doesn’t it? And while this happens — we lose things too. We lose our ability to familiarize with words that we used to manifest so conveniently. Words like hope, happiness, responsibility, strength, love, and loss. For me, my loneliness is the embodiment of invisible objects awakened for silent protests of intimacies that go beyond my understanding.

Somewhere in the space between the present and the future, this silence has consumed me. But here’s the interpretation of it: it’s not something that has happened, is happening, or will happen. It’s the kind of lacuna that exists as is as a part of me. If there’s a word for self-reflection — for the feelings that appear and re-appear in a sequence of time — each time it devotes its significance to my own prelude to existing and living: then this is it. My loneliness is my vessel of familiarity, of being erratic, and of having to succumb to cause and effect in the happenings of my life. And suddenly, my own silence occurred to me as if I was thrown back into placid reflections. Reflections as inescapable as breathing and as delicate as dust that I can’t help but embrace time’s inevitable passing. I am sure of what my loneliness means to me — and The Bell Jar reminds of its unwavering significance. What is loneliness? Is it yours as much as it is mine, or is it the measure of what we don’t say? I am not sure — but of what I am is, for me, a breath of fresh air.

On Reasoning Over Reason Itself: In Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem (A Report on the Banality of Evil)

The degree to which the phrase — “Incredibly Complicated Machine of Destruction” — taken from the book Eichmann in Jerusalem, written by Hannah Arendt, regards itself as a disorder that has the power to make one blind and indifferent. But the indifference is not as unsettling as the idea of relentless and unquestionable manipulation over reasoning.

Can something be used against an entity to such an extent that it only conspires to serve its purpose? And that its (which is the elimination of culture itself) destruction may become admirable and second-nature? That a human being is capable of allowing such deception by means of metaphysical and supposedly superior objectives to drive one toward their own inevitable and ironic destruction.

What I’m trying to illustrate here is the birthplace of a disorder so transparent, yet forsaken that it imprisons itself. And with it all of human life.

When I read the words “incredibly complicated machine of destruction,” which, in the book, is written to portray the mannerism of the Nazi Germans who availed themselves to different chains of commands and leadership groups toward the killing of Jews — I couldn’t help but write about it. Not about the book or what that statement means in connection to it, but about the psychology of manipulated reasoning toward ideas and actions that overshadow, and ultimately, destroy physical consequences.

If I concentrate my attention on the psychology behind such undeviating and wistful manipulation, I think about the impact of our intuition on the human condition, which is personality itself. It feels as though a privilege to be able to speak the uncomfortable truth about ourselves without having to conform our truths to all others.

If we’re in the territory of doubt and fear, is it that obvious that we must get out of it? And if not then try to sublimate it? This brings up a flood of questions that counter faith, purpose, and meaning. Mind you, in a circumstance as vulnerable as this, purpose and meaning do not share the same definition.

Coming back to my point, if intuition is the spine to all our told and untold emotions and experiences, how can we, warped and conscious, trust it?

It’s because we don’t that we’ve become our own incredibly complicated system. But not of destruction, but of survival, awakening, and nurturing.

Humans have conspired a highly distinguished system of constant reasoning and systematic interpretation that in layman’s terms is famous as “personality.”

It’s an ocean of our time. An understanding of human nature. And a poetic and vexing ode to our own reflections.

So, when I talk about an incredibly complicated machine of destruction, I’m reminded of one that had originated long before that of anti-Semites and the Nazi regime, which through consequential control and egotistic alienation has become its own childbirth. And that is what crowns itself the badge of destiny, which millions have fallen prey to.