There is a class of hyper-social people that have some restlessness in them that keeps them from ever wanting to be alone. There is a psychological specter that creeps in whenever they’re in solitude, so they use others to ward it off. We all use others to shield us from loneliness, but these individuals are avoiding something more.
Most of us can offer ourselves agreeable company for a time, and some of us enjoy our own company more than any other’s. But this type of person finds something sorely dissatisfying in the time they spend with themselves. Often, it is a deep insecurity, and, always, it is a shallow thinking life. Anyone who doesn’t take time for reflection becomes something of an automaton. There is a piece of our consciousness that is only kept alive by regularly receiving attention. If you distract from yourself for long enough, a part of you ceases to exist. If you are constantly drawing in influences from elsewhere, you become a reflection of all around you and less yourself. A lack of individuality mimics non-existence.
The creative impulse is soft-spoken. Creativity is not some weed that will force its way up through cracks in the pavement. It will not push its way into cramped quarters; unless a room in that palace of the mind is perpetually left open for it, it will cease to visit us entirely. In our busy modern life, you see people marveling at the fact that great insights come to them only when driving a car or bathing themselves. Is it any wonder that the mind begins to produce only when given a moment of repose?
Creativity requires emptiness — empty spaces, blank canvases, open air, silence, and stillness. Like a loyal friend, creativity offers to work for nothing, but to be given nothing it must insist on. One eats so they have the energy to do, but eating is not doing, and if we were to constantly eat, we would have little time and attention for much else. So, too, does the mind require time to digest what it takes in each day; if it is constantly fed new faces, places, and ideas, everything will be left half-processed.
The most obvious sign that you have encountered an individual such as the one here described is that they are never so good a friend as they are a conduit for friendship. They seem to instinctually seek out people like a collector of precious things. And they draw others to them by the repertoire of people they supply. They entice new faces with the beautiful and intelligent faces already ranked among their collection. They tend to have a wonderful ability to pierce the veil of shyness and introversion. Rarely do two quiet intellectuals meet if not by some intermediary, and these individuals function as such. They are like a whirlpool, which draws everything around it into itself, though it hardly has an individual existence to point to. Once it stops its moving; it leaves no body. It never really was; though referred to as an object, it was only ever a force acting on some mass. This individual, too, is more of a force than a thing.
There is a grave misfortune at bottom with this personality type. They want always a new face in front of them because the ego is built in such a way that if our eyes have nothing specific to look upon, everything becomes a mirror, and we begin to look only at ourselves. Whatever it is they see in those mirrors, they find it quite unsettling. What does the mirror see when it looks in the mirror?
Most people live in a furnished home, supplied with what is needed for the days and weeks to follow, requiring only episodic excursions out into the world. But these walls are bare, this kitchen without sustenance, and their shelves without anything to entertain or educate; there is nothing but desolation and deprivation awaiting them in the home of their mind. Home is for them an uninhabitable desert because their mind is a dry, desolate, lifeless place. It cannot supply its own wants. It starves in solitude. Thus, they must constantly rush off to some foreign place and some foreign face.
We are all conduits. Some are banks on a river of information; they memorize and memorize, but only to regurgitate the information undigested. Others are little more than unimpeded instinct and impulse, a simple expression of the animal spirit seen throughout nature. Yet others channel unconscious, intellectual, and spiritual forces from deep within, making them more a shoot on the Tree of God than anything individual. And this type of conduit is a parrot and echo, taking what they heard this morning and repeating it throughout the day; they become a waterway for the wellsprings around them.
Martin Vidal is the author of The Ambition Handbook: A Guide for Ambitious Persons