Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Discussions of Intimacy and Burgeoning Friendships

Posted by Simon Halliday | Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Category: |

It is a strange one when you think about it, the idea of intimacy. In what ways do we construct the methods by which we become intimate with people? How does our intimacy with certain people grow? Is it through the mutual uncovering of histories, of the objects and subject which make us 'us'? To what do we owe a discovery of relatedness, of the things that make us similar? Do we necessarily have to become sexually intimate in order to cross certain boundaries of understanding with other people?

For me, I have a genuine enjoyment of trying to understand peoples stories, I sometimes do so in an almost invasive manner because stories intrigue me so much – the things, the people, the ideals and values that people hold dear. These are important to me. Perhaps it is part of a personal quest to attempt to understand myself and that which I perceive is important to me. Perhaps it is simply because I am inquisitive and need to satisfy that desire. Regardless of either of these, the fact that I like to get to know people is interesting to me. I also like to meet and engage 'new' people, uncover and relate to new stories. This does not mean that I value the stories and the lives of the people that I know any less, it simply means that I derive enjoyment from the creation and relation to new connections, new ideas and the ways of life of people who I have not encountered before.

Of late I have been interacting with a group of US girls. They are variously from the East and West coasts of the US. This makes them far more liberal than the average US citizen. Apart from this fact, which makes it easier to relate to them, they have intriguing views on life, on people and the interconnectedness of different methods of living. We have had funny and interesting discussions on the differing cultural bases of our two societies (as much as either South African or US society can be accepted as a single agglomeration of 'one' titanic geo-culture). Apart from this, they are uniquely interesting women (I have interacted with the women more than any of their male friends).

Now this brings me to another interesting sphere of self-analysis, I am not that interested in relationships and/or flings right now, for whatever reason. I am enjoying just getting to know these ladies, something which relieves the pressure greatly (for there is almost inevitably social pressure to engage people sexually) is the fact that two of them have boyfriends. My accession to my disinclination to engage them sexually is not a comment on their attractiveness, in fact they are attractive, greatly so really. What is more important to me is the relating, the getting-to-know, the rapport and the dialogue. This equally does not mean that all of this is a 'learning process' for me, it is a combination of me enjoying meeting people and getting to know them, as well as needing to be away from the normal. I am restless at the moment, for numerous reasons really. Meeting and getting to know new people both relieves and spurs this on. What fun!

So yes, why am I restless? Is it simply because I need to get away from history? I definitely like the idea of blankness, of being something onto which people can project some idea. Equally my past, my history is a part of me now, it has aided in my construction. My restlessness is, I claim, part of a desire for distance. To use the common metaphor of burning, one is more sensitive immediately prior to such an experience, and even more so if it is exacerbated by other actions (of others or oneself). Notwithstanding this, I do also want to know more, experience more, and, because I am 'working during the day' (so to speak), I feel that my time is available for other things. Sociability. Avoidance. Intimacy. How do they relate? A subject for contemplation I am sure.

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. Hi Simon, I enjoyed reading your work, particularly the Issue of Descent. Your website was recommended to me a few months ago by Les. It has spurred a re-visit to my long-neglected website, where I too delved into the secluded world of words…