Skin is an envelope. It protects us from the elements that remind us of our vulnerablity. If it were not for our skin, we would either have been mobile in a very limited way or not mobile at all. Imagine the marks of all the thorns, all the dust, all the corrosive insect-bites on our naked flesh. We wear clothes to protect our skin, our skin in turn protects our flesh. If both of these were absent, our survival would have been threatened.
Our skin does not protect us from conflicts that affect us emotionally. For that we need to be able to develop opacity in our minds. Our minds are not simple to pry on. The electrical signals involved in thought have not even been understood enough for them to be hacked into. But the expressions of our thoughts are easily manipulated.
By stripping us naked, into naked desiring bodies, we are often exposed. The ceaseless heat of our desire flows outwards into the world. And no amount of religious or moral training can inhibit this flow. When regulated, desire bends inwards and becomes a part of a unwieldy knot that forms the map of perverted mind.
Thick-skin is a means of preventing our desiring body from being manipulated.
A capacity to trick the manipulator into becoming harmless and ineffective develops slowly from having a thick-skin.
But why are we worried about manipulation so much? Isn't communication a kind of manipulation itself? How does language manage to have the desired effect if not through manipulation?
We are not worried, we are only conspiring to break free of the loop that culture locks us in. Manipulation breeds angst, angst breeds manipulation. The cycles of culture thus entrap us.
What do we want to achieve once we are free?
Really, there is nothing to be done.
But slowly fading away is better than being tossed and bounced around like a ping pong ball. Both the faded and exhausted presence and the tossed and bounced ping pong ball are equally insignificant. We are not conspiring to accumulate power or relevance.
Our conspiracy only seeks to achieve one end. And that is to keep us tethered to the here and now. To not be aligned to any tangent, to not follow any chronology. If this conspiracy succeeds, we will be able to experience our moment of departure fully. With as much excitement and enthusiasm as any other adventure that might have come our way.
Surely, departures are not just episodes of diminishing. Modelling departures to be processes of transition, that have a destination as well as a transit time is possible. Our conspiracy is positing that if we commence a transition in a heightened state of awareness, then we might not be bogged down at that point by regret, memory and fantasy.
We conspire only to travel with the empty mind of the traveler who is busy performing the travel, the witnessing of varied landscape, the stillness of time.