First SessionSo, what ails?
Nothing and everything.
Could you tell me about that ”nothing and everything?”
Not really. I feel a sort of malaise. It’s always with me. It’s always been with me, I suppose. I don’t feel much of anything.
What do you do?
I like to stare into space. It’s my meditation. I will sit in a chair and stare for hours. Straight ahead.
What do you think about when you stare into space?
Nothing, really. That’s the point. I want to free myself of earthly cares. I think about nothing. And that’s a blessing.
Do you have any friends?
Now or ever.
Well, right now I don’t interact with anybody. I suppose I have no friends. I have friends of the imagination. But not physical beings. I don’t have friends in the normal sense. That is I don’t interact or have relationships with real people. If I could meet people who share my passion for staring into space, that would be a different matter. We could stare into space with each other. It would be our shared passion.
Did you ever have friends?
I don’t know. I mean, how would one know that? I’ve interacted with people. I have had acquaintances. But how does one ever know that one has friends? Suppose the people I thought were friends were in fact false friends. Fair weather friends. Or not friends at all. Just acquaintances. I mean it’s hard to say whether one ever has a friend. Simply because you interact with someone –- you have a relationship of sorts –- does that mean that one has friends?
What do you do?
Nothing. I pride myself on my ability to do nothing for seemingly interminable stretches of time. I occupy my time with nothing. I do nothing. It’s a talent I’ve cultivated over a lifetime. A lifetime of doing nothing.
You don’t work, I take it.
That depends. Doing nothing is a chore. When you come down to it, it’s work doing nothing all day. Often times at the end of the day, the end of a day of staring into space, interacting with acquaintences — acquaintances who may or may not be friends –- I am completely exhausted.
Have you ever considered doing volunteer work? Some people gain satisfaction from doing things selflessly for others.
That wouldn’t work for me. I am a selfish person. I don’t think I have a selfless bone in my body. I pride myself on my selfishness. Honestly, it’s a skill I have nurtured all my life. Living only for myself. If I am not for myself, who will be for me? There are many selfish people. But the art of being selfish skillfully, well, that’s, as I say, an art. And I strive for perfection. To be the perfect model of the completely selfish individual is my goal.
What do you hope to achieve in therapy?
Nothing. I mean, what can I accomplish here with you, with another person. I live for myself. I pride myself on my selfishness, I spend my days staring into space.
And yet you say you are in a malaise.
I am. In some way I feel unfulfilled.
Can you talk about that?
Not really. I don’t know in what way I feel unfulfilled. But I suspect that there is more to life than what I get out of it. I see people doing things. Living their lives. I wonder how they do that. It seems amazing to me that people do things. I don’t really live. I live inside my head. Can you help me?
How would you like me to help you?
I don’t know. Could you help me with my malaise, my vague sense of a lack of fulfillment? I am overwhelmed with the nothingness of my life and yet I find it strangely gratifying. It’s as if by doing nothing, I have made time stand still. I seek out that feeling. I wish that time would stop.
Without time, there would be no life.
Precisely. I yearn for a life that is not life. A timeless expanse of nothingness. I yearn for an end to all yearning. I want to live completely inside my head.
Our time is up. I can see you twice a week. Good bye.