I don’t want to be tired of you. I want to be tired with you.
“Thus we sat—in my recollection always out of doors in the afternoon sun—savoring our common tiredness whether or not we were talking…A cloud of tiredness, an ethereal tiredness, held us together then”– Peter Handke
This passage speaks to me. I feel it in my soul. It resonates with much of what feels present as I look at the world.
Or glorifying them as lifestyle aspirations. Using them to symbolise how we want to be seen rather than what they might make possible.
We are good at packaging universal truths into products we can use to measure and categorise human value. It makes sense in a world that sees health and happiness as a matter for the individual.
But I don’t want to do that. When we feel alone in our efforts, our attempts to alleviate tiredness make us even more exhausted.
We learn to see our tiredness in what Byung-Chul Han calls “achievement society” as solitary tiredness. It has a separating and isolating effect. Peter Handke calls it “divisive tiredness” (or “I-tiredness”), which is the tiredness of an exhausted ego.
I am intrigued by the universal experience of this kind of exhaustion. It seems to be rife and ever more present today. Driven by the demand to earn self-worth and acceptance by being more productive, efficient, and remarkable.
This feels like a lonely way to live. Isolated, atomised, and striving for something forever just out of reach.
In The Burnout Society, Han writes, “a purely hectic rush produces nothing new. It reproduces and accelerates what is already available.”
In other words, we embark on a futile quest believing (hoping) it serves some greater purpose. But really, we keep producing and reproducing more of the same – but faster and faster. It is underpinned by an illusory belief that “being more active means being freer”.
The Eradication of Betweens
Han writes that the world has lost the gift of interruption. Acceleration abolishes intervals. “Betweens” and “between-times” are lacking.
So you might say we are successfully defeating boredom.
But what are we replacing it with?
The Inspiriting Power of Fundamental Tiredness
Handke describes another form of tiredness…
Fundamental tiredness inspires (allows our spirit to emerge) through the between.
In this between, “no one and nothing dominates or commands”. It involves “not-doing”. The inspiration of tiredness tells us not so much what we should, as what we need not be.”
It’s the tiredness we feel together whether or not we are talking.
This “we-tiredness” isn’t being tired of others but tired WITH others. It’s the connection in the face of exhaustion society and the demands of a world that doesn’t let up. This kind of Sabbath spirit is time free of all “in order to”. It’s a moment of “not-to”.
“Tiredness is disarming. In the long, slow gaze of the tired person, resolution yields to a state of calm.”
This “cloud of tiredness, an ethereal tiredness”, holds us together. Where tranquility sits alongside the “gift of listening” in the “community of listeners”. In this space, we find rest through the “ability to grant deep, contemplative attention—which remains inaccessible to the hyperactive ego”.
Do you ever feel lost in a wave of “I-tiredness”? Do you long for a deeper sense of “we-tiredness”?
In a world that demands more than we can ever give, I want to connect with people in a state of we-tiredness. It sits at the heart of my vision for The Haven and underpins my slow coaching philosophy.
Permission to be. Spaces of in-between. Gathering within the cloud of ethereal tiredness. A site of gentle rebellion and compassionate connection.
If this resonates with you, I encourage you to check out The Haven. It’s a virtual sanctuary for weary travellers and sensitive souls looking for calmer rhythms, a community of like spirits, and a deep breath of playful creativity.