I’ve been starving for a long time — and I fear this hunger might destroy me — but I have no idea where to find this peculiar thing which I crave tonight.
When you’ve been hungry for long enough, you eventually quit feeling hunger. If you don’t believe me, go on a fast or at least stop eating sugar. At first, you’re desperately hungry and you crave what you’re not getting. But after awhile, your body chemistry stabilizes and changes in some ways that aren’t worth getting into here. Then you quit feeling hunger. Even if you’re starving to death, your body might not feel hunger.
My hunger isn’t for food. This hunger won’t kill me physically. But I haven’t had this need met for so long that I had quit noticing the hunger. I’ve been operating as I am for so long that I’m numb — in ways that are intellectual, emotional and spiritual.
But something happened tonight that triggered the hunger. I was reminded of what it feels like to have this need filled — and the realization of the painful need was back like a forgotten forest fire raging out of control. And now it threatens to consume me.
I was listening to a CBC radio documentary about Ayn Rand on the way home from work. I’m not an objectivist and I have very mixed feelings about some of Rand’s ideas, but her work was very influential for me early in my life. Whatever else you could say about her — and I could write quite a bit about her, both positive and negative — she was someone who took ideas very seriously.
When I was a teen-ager, some of her ideas enchanted me. Her ideas about the relationship between economics and moral philosophy resonated with my intuitive beliefs. Although I rejected much of what she taught in the philosophy she called objectivism, she was the only writer I knew at the time who was standing up for the rights of the individual as a matter of simple morality.
As I listened to this documentary — especially the parts that dealt with Rand growing close to (and then falling in love with) a man who shared her ideas — I felt a hunger for that kind of intellectual and spiritual communion.
I felt as though a violent wildfire had suddenly slammed into me with massive force — and I was left gasping for breath as I suddenly recalled what it has felt like in the past to experience that with women in my life. It was such an emotional realization that I felt like crying — and my soul can’t quit craving this like a junkie who desperately needs a fix.
I introduced Rand’s novels to one former girlfriend. We talked about the books for hours and debated Rand’s ideas. She wasn’t just a passive student soaking in what I could teach her. She was brilliant and incisive, developing her own love and understanding for certain characters and themes.
The same girlfriend and I used to read books to each other and talk about them. Early in our relationship, I recorded an entire book and emailed sections to her because she was having trouble with her eyes at the time and couldn’t read easily. (She later told me that a friend who found out I did that told her, “This guy is worth keeping.”) In the later stages of our relationship, she recorded sections of Rand’s “The Fountainhead” for me. We had both read it multiple times and knew the material well, but her reading to me like this was her way of feeling close to me.
My point here isn’t about that particular woman, though. I’ve experienced this meeting of minds and souls with other women through books and ideas. There was another woman with whom I used to read books. We would alternate who read aloud and we would stop and discuss passages, either for understanding or for quibbling with the author. We read things ranging from Machiavelli’s “The Prince” to Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.”
I’m not saying I’m hungry to join a book club. That’s not the point.
I’m hungry for the intellectual and emotional intimacy that comes from encountering the soul of a brilliant and curious woman. I’m hungry for the communion and intellectual intercourse that come from sharing ideas and becoming excited about shared growth.
I haven’t had this sort of mind and soul communion for a long time. I realized tonight just how desperate I am to have it again. I don’t mean I have a particular script it has to follow. I just mean with the right woman — a woman with a mind that’s curious and compatible with mine — this meeting of minds is just as exciting as sex.
This sort of need is difficult to describe. I don’t know how many people understand it in exactly the way it works for me. For me, it’s something powerful which exists at the intersection of intelligence, curiosity, ambition, attraction and sex. It’s a high which not everyone has experienced.
Since I know what it feels like — and since that hunger was reawakened tonight by being reminded of what it feels like — my mind and heart are desperate for it right now. I need to taste the soul of the right woman who can experience the same thing.
I’m desperately hungry for something I had forgotten I need. And the pain of not having it is too intense to bear. That pain is the reason I eventually get numb just to survive. I understand that.
But my heart and mind long for a kindred soul to touch deeply again before I lose the intensity of this pain. I’m desperately hungry, but all the food in the world can’t fill this hole. Only a kindred soul will do.