I think understanding is like space. To be understood you need to be with someone with a deeper understanding than you.
I don’t care whether people understand me. I had to let go of that years ago. It’s symptomatic of reading a wide range of literature that people just aren’t going to “get you”.Descartes’ – it could be someone else – said that reading is like travelling and sometimes one can travel so much that they become a stranger in their own land.
I used to be scared of being influenced and I figured there are two ways to avoid being influenced:
1) Isolate yourself from all sources of influence
2) take into yourself as many and as varied a range of influences as you can.
I took the 1st option for a bit, got bored then went for the 2nd option.
So I’ve read literature from all over the world, from all the time periods and cultures that produced literature.I’ve read history, philosophy (a fuck load of philosophy! Really philosophy is all you really need; everything else grows out of philosophy) novels and spiritual texts.
I spent a year in my room reading stuff I didn’t understand because I wanted to know the truth and I thought it was in books. (Good thing I love the sound of the english language).I can remember the first time I made a leap up in understanding. My first epiphany.
It was on holiday.
I had been reading Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Being and nothingness” and the only philosophical text I had read before then was Plato’s “republic”.I had been trying so hard to understand it. Reading the same paragraph or sentence over and over again.
Then one night as I was dropping off to sleep it just came clear. It was like an onion unpeeling before my eyes. All these layers of meaning just unravelling.
I realized that what I thought was me trying to understand the text was really me trying to get the text to say what I already believed. It was me clinging to my beliefs which I’d inherited.
Of course I couldn’t sleep after that and just wandered around the seaside town and the world was different. It glowed. I saw it from two perspectives my old perspective and the new one I had just understood.
I realized I’d managed to turn my head in cave.Since then I have lived for those epiphanies and the world has become more and more beautiful the more I have let go of beliefs.