In Oliver Sack’s “On The Move” book, he discusses his three B’s, Bonding, Belonging and Believing. A recovering alcoholic acquaintance once told me, we drink to fool ourselves that the world we desire exists. Maybe we are trying to creatie the three B’s artificially.
Here was a brilliant man named Dr. Oliver Sacks that left his mark on the human landscape, yet was very lonely. In this article he writes about how after finding someone at 77, he had to relinquish “the habits of a lifetime’s solitude… like decades of meals that consisted mostly of cereal or sardines, eaten out of the tin, standing up, in 30 seconds.” I don’t think he was a lonely man in the sense of the homeless who feel invisible, as he was professional and must have had many associates, but there was something alone within him as it is with many artists.
If you read between the lines, you will realize that he must have been a bit awkward and probably shy. Being gay in that period must have been another difficult hurdle for him too, but he does discuss how he was free in Amsterdam as they were ahead of their time in accepting gay people. Still, he brings these three B’s up and for me it say something. It says you can still be a productive human being regardless of how you think of yourselves or others might perceive you. You can produce great work and add a page to the human knowledge. Isn’t that what Don Quixote is about, follow your dreams regardless of what anyone thinks.
There is this really intriguing documentary called “In the Realms of the Unreal” about a strange human being named Henry Dager, who is described as “Visionary artist, Janitor, Novelist”. He must have gone through life extremely alone but produced some really interesting work with barely any money or social contact.
What this teaches me is that you have to create those three Bs for yourself, if you find them important. You can bond with your work, you can bond with an idea, you can bond with a feeling and equally believe in them and belong to that place you created. We can’t sit and dwell on why they don’t exist and have our only action end up being self pity. You can create this but from my experience, you can only create it from a place of peace.
Yes, based on all the research done on happiness, it keeps going back that nothing material or adventures like a good vacation makes us as happy as the essential human social contact. We can’t push this aside, but if one needs to feel alive and connected and struggle with some of these attributes, then you have to recreate it with your own flavor and gradually work your way towards the social part. I am not a Doctor, but I know enough to say that you can’t ignore good science. You can’t live by wanting it all now but have to build it gradually in your own way and without the pressure. That pressure is a killer and having something like the three B’s or similar traits to worry about, can do great harm. In Oliver Sack’s life, he ended up being alone from the age of 42 until 77 but still lived a productive life. My guess is he could have still been productive but felt more joy if he had shed some of these burdens and limitations, but who am I to really know that. Just a guess.
There is an ancient saying “drop by drop you make an ocean”, start making those small drops in your life and shed the negative or any unhealthy expectations of yourself.
Enjoy the moment, feel the life. Have a good day.