Hell is Other People!!!
“L’enfer, c’est les autres” — Jean-Paul Sartre
I am inclined to being a party pooper with an over active anti social streak, so I have often sought solace in John Paul Sartre’s line from his play No Exit where he has his characters express the view that ‘hell is other people’.
But then again……
Loneliness is a sickness, which I think arises from seeing other people being with other people, and being happy. Then we are comparatively alone, and we feel the unhappiness. We yearn for other people. We want to be remembered. We want to have people that care for us. Without other people, there’s no way to define yourself and nothing to define yourself against. And worst of all there’s no one there to notice whatever the hell you decide to do anyway. There are moments where I’m totally humbled and I realize what a novice I am in life. But other people are not always reliable – and the need for other people as well – so loneliness is just a misunderstanding of being alone and overvaluing shallow relationships over ourselves.
People have something to offer – a different history of experiences, which can easily give us insight into our own. However, they also share the same fears and uncertainties whether they’d like to admit it or not. The fact of the matter is this – we’re all in it for ourselves. There is empathy, which helps us feel better when we’d like to think the people who are better than us to feel empathy for us… and perhaps to think that we ourselves are part of those great people.
There is not a clean jurisdiction between people. There are no set boundaries. People amass power and influence, and indoctrinate the weak so as to better themselves. All the while, we’re fooled into thinking we actually need other people, that other people make life fulfilling and worthwhile, and the great lie that life without other people is a fate worse than death.
The next hoax is love. We apparently need love. (Not to invoke Haddaway) What is love? It’s just another socially indoctrinated form of trust, but with different rules (as if it were a game, or a drama). Other people can make us feel better about ourselves, but that’s about all they are good for. Sure they can inspire something great in us, or help us when we are feeling low, but if we could just learn to find that all within ourselves (because it surely is there, how else would it be stirred).
Surely, I feel low with myself at times. But to think where the majority of the cases must be? It would be from lacing self-esteem when comparing myself to other people. Surely other people are much more highly esteemed than me, but I don’t see why it should pressure me or why I should even care in this daily rendition.
So it is clear that no matter what anyone says.. Hell is other people.