My first “project”, beginning many years before my official intellectual life, was to penetrate the psychic, emotional, and intellectual barriers of individual humans and to learn their identity. By this I mean that every person has a kind of individual barrier around himself, by which he regulates his interactions with the world, by which he controls his actions, regulates incoming stimuli, etc. Collectively this is called someone’s “personal space”. Humans very much value this space (that is to say, having the personal remain personal) – transgressing it is an intimate act with all the dangers and benefits that holds.
Extremely early in life I recognized a deep void in many if not all humans i met. the most accurate single word for this is “nihilism”. Most humans are incapable of recognizing this void, and even if they recognize it they seem helpless to do anything about it. As I became more and more alarmed which then turned to sheer panic as I saw more of it and more of its effects (such as social disintegration) I took on the project of transgressing against people’s personal space in order to learn more about them in order to help them.
I of course immediately recognized this as abusive, but I also recognized that the nihilism itself was abusive to both the individual and society, and I felt I didn’t have the time (or rather, that the world didn’t have the time) for an approach more respectful of personal space or individual will.
One intellectual crisis I’m currently going through is the debate of whether or not America is starting to effectively deal with this nihilism, at which time it will no longer be necessary for me to continue this project.
I am most likely reaching the point of ending the project.