The Sweetness of Severance


Loss can become addictive.

Humans do not strive for adversity. Our deepest longings are for love, fulfillment, prosperity, and security, while the pervasive cancer that is our fear is nourished by the prospect of the loss of those things. This fear of loss drives us to success, but can also paralyze us, leaving us unable to embark upon the long and treacherous path of risk. Yet, burning bridges to the treasured aspects of one’s life can become a bit of a drug.

There is a certain air of masochism to the whole affair. For those who have become accustomed to loss, its familiarity can be a source of comfort in uncertain times. It is what we deserve, the only purpose for our wretched existence. Loss is pain, though pain without fear, and fear can be more agonizing than pain itself.

A fatalistic approach to loss can also prove attractive. Cynicism is empowering, as it gives us control over dark circumstances. Predicting with success brings a feeling of pride and accomplishment, and in times of difficulty, the predestination of pain is paradoxically uplifting. Through the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy, even the dullest among us can become wizards.

But all these are mere features accompanying the embrace of loss. Fatalism and masochism alone cannot drive one to actively seek separation from possessions, achievements, and relationships. The true sweetness of severance is freedom. Love’s cruel joke is that the higher the bliss of its arrival, the greater the pain in its departure, and the entire space between the two is fraught with the terrifying anticipation of the arrival of that wretched conclusion. Those who embrace joy unwittingly sign a Faustian deal to pledge their soul to the slavery of fear in exchange for a momentary pleasure. In time, this fear turns delight bitter. Loss, though painful, heralds a glorious triumph of liberation from desire. This sweet aphrodisiacal rush of freedom can turn into a drug, pushing its connoisseurs into increasingly destructive behaviors in order to achieve the next high. In an ultimate sneer of irony, dependence on freedom from desire itself becomes a new and insidious form of slavery.

Loss can become addictive. And, like most drugs, its addicts end up rotting from the inside out.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.