Archive for November, 2019

Wilson? Wilson, Are You Enough?

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2019 by michaelcogdill

I got to thinking about that long, lonesome solitude of the film Castaway.  The isolation.  The hopelessness.  The sure death of Narcissism.

The character played by Tom Hanks survives 4 years with a washed-up volleyball as his only friend.  The face of it literally drawn in his own blood.  Wilson.  Named after the brand.

He talked to Wilson, often.  Season through season, he spoke as if a volleyball can hear.  He eventually grieves Wilson, hard.

Wilson, on the other hand, lay silent, as volleyballs will, even those drawn in blood.

Wilson never paid him a compliment.

Wilson never encouraged with a word.

Wilson had no Facebook account.  No Instagram.

Wilson could not emote with an emoji that  made the marooned man feel even a tiny bit better about himself, or his fate.

Chuck Noland, the character Tom Hanks plays, eventually turns gaunt, grows a fire-hazard beard, lives on speared fish and without a solitary morsel of spoken or written human validation.  A world away from what we see voraciously sought today.  Noland does live with a picture of his girlfriend —  the love of his life  — and the remembrance of her voice.  Her affection.  Her caring and devotion, all in his memory.

And a volleyball.

Not one person in those four years tells him he’s handsome or hot or smart.  Brilliant or strong or “THE  MAN.”

He more than survives without what psychoanalysts would call Narcissistic fuel, or even normal affection from a loved one.  He has himself — and I believe the divinity within us  all — as sole company.  That, and the echo of the lady in the picture.

The lack of more did not destroy him.

We are born to live in community.  We are wired for engagement, intimacy with others we love.  But the lust for a sense of our own importance, a yen for constant attention has become so strong, so rampant and common, the experts largely no longer deem Narcissistic Personality Disorder to be an actual  disorder.

And this begs something of us all.

How much affection is enough?  How much validation do we need, verses want?

And the bigger question — is getting enough from the close love of our life really enough?  It should be.  It must be.  Given.  Received.

Everyone digs likes, hearts, thumbs-up emojis.  But to ponder living without them, marooned into years of life with only ourselves and a personified rubber ball, is to test the very integrity of our humble selves.  It’ll measure the depth of our inner well- being.

I believe it might measure whether we have the character to love and be loved by one.  One who loves us for us.  Period.

Wilson, you were conversant enough for Noland for years on that island.  You had to be.  He didn’t go crazy and start organizing sand crabs into a baseball league.   He simply dwelt in silence, apart from his own voice, outer  and inner.

And the memory of hers.

He lived in the echo of the woman he loved, and who loved him.   Even absent hope of seeing her again, she was — enough.

For 4 years, in fiction, he did this.

In our reality, how well can we?