They keep a small portion of themselves at the very center of their personalities, but allow the rest to be adopted by paying customers, guilt-bearers and social influences.
If you like chocolate mousse, it’s good food, even if all your friends think it’s horrible, or the government bans it, or big media tells you that eating chocolate mousse tortures Koalas.
Even more importantly, there is a sense of your values and what you want life to be like. These are two separate things; the first is a set of yes/no preferences, the second, a creative vision.
In the world of profit, making friends, getting along with others, writing advertising, making a crowd laugh, or selling indie rock, there is no self. There is only image.
The best artists translate that inner self through beauty toward their audience. They have resisted assimilation; it’s no surprise most of them were loners and many lived in isolated areas.
Externalization is a complex process that involves others taking over your personality because you defined your personality using external factors. It can work in either direction: you first, or them first.
You offered up yourself as a social token, and they became linked with it, in turn influencing it. Or maybe this was forced on you, and defensively, you used an external object to justify yourself. Now that rules you.
Although modern society is a nightmare for many reasons, its worst attribute is that it swallows souls.
By slowly forcing you to place the drama of others before your own needs, by convincing you to join a fake crusade of guilt and narcissistic individualism so others can think their constant self-expression is important, and by reducing all beauty in life into money, votes or popularity, modern society attempts to consume you every day.
If you listen to it, you will adopt — in the name of defending yourself — the same methods that will erode your soul and erase not only who you are, but the greater meaning of life you carry in yourself.
As we might observe watching a character in a novel, the greatest expression of self is not what it does for itself, but the values it impresses on the world. Soul isn’t about being alone with your pleasures.
Other people would love to see your soul eaten because they have, long ago, given up and now are enraged and bitter at the world. They resent it, and resent you for not being broken like them.
They want to drag you down and crush your child-like appreciation of life as theirs has been crushed. They want to make you serve them by losing what it is in you that keeps you whole.
“All must serve,” is the dogma of a tyrant, indeed, but it’s a tyrant in the souls of many. It’s a spiritual disease that afflicts those who have lost their way by allowing themselves to be externalized.
The more I venture into life, the more I see that the essence of conservatism is conserving the inner soul and the sacred, the natural and the reverent, against this tidal wave of doubt, fear, guilt and hatred.