The way I usually conceptualize myself to myself is twofold, not to say contradictory.
On the one hand, I’d say I’m reluctant towards anything that might define me, turn me into a coherent persona. This is why I try to belong to several social worlds at the same time, why I hate having to think of a too-constant future, and why I get angry when somebody tells me, ‘you are the kind of person who…’. Indeed, some would scornfully claim that it is impossible even to tell me ‘you are the kind of person who gets angry when somebody talks about her in too definite terms’.
This would seem an easy starting point for writing about The Lottery and what The Lottery makes possible. But actually it is much easier for me to write about The Lottery through the opposite starting point:
For in truth, at the same time, I never quite released myself from the (childlish?) attitude that confronts my ‘Real Self’ with ‘The World’. with which the ‘Real Self’ is forced to co-operate, and which might embellish it. The previous examples might also be interpreted in this light – the multitude of worlds, the dislike of being defined, are just my way to ensure non-commitment; that is, non-commitment to anything external, anything other than that beloved ‘self’ , which I’m afraid might be taken away and made into something alienated, ready-made.
Social interaction is a classic example of this, as if forces on the self an implicit social law system. And this is what’s difficult for me: it’s not the fear of possible consequences of what I might say, neither embarrassment about it, rather, the difficulty lies in having to function inside this mechanism of laws, which regulates what I might saying, how I might move around, etc.
Well, there are many ways to solve this dilemma given life as it is. I have my own personal strategies, other people might have others which are just as good.
Another possible solution would be to live in a world that is one huge Lottery.
Because The Lottery makes the implicit ‘laws’ obvious, and turns them into something truly external, truly independent of us. Not because we know what they are, but because we know they exist. True, we know this well enough on our daily lives, and maybe we can even sometimes point out these implicit laws in action, especially when we’re watching somebody else. But on our daily life, this doesn’t at all lessen our internalization of them.
The Lottery, more than anything, frees me from responsibility – not towards what I say or do, but towards the regulation of my saying or doing it. The Lottery enables me to say and do something meaningful without worrying about that second order meaning, the meaning of having done or said it. I can be myself without thinking what kind of person this means I am.
Ideally, anyhow. In fact, of course, The Lottery is far from this perfect state, and will always stay so.
This is, firstly, because The Lottery has its own implicit laws. On my first Lottery, for example, I felt the situation was becoming too much of a ‘theatre game’, and thus, that I’m failing whenever I don’t follow the laws of being ‘a good improviser’, ‘funny enough’, ‘un-self-aware enough’ etc. (Or to follow my reason: that I fail when I do follow them, because then I become alienated and hate the fact I was forced to be ‘not myself’.)
But there’s another, more acute danger: The Lottery might spoil the ‘Real World’ for us. If we are given a state, where ‘pure’ situations can exist, which are not regulated like those in the real world – this could spoil the real-world magic, the imagined ceremoniousness of life. If I can make out with somebody for no reason at all, and enjoy it with the same ease and intimacy, then the tension of the ‘natural’ process leading to making out in the real world is lost. The ‘second order’ meaning is lost.
So I don’t know. A world built only from the ‘bare bricks’ of existence, without the conventional meanings that are uniting them, is an ideal which offers a lot of freedom. But we seem to be giving up a lot of the (illusionary) comfort these links do offer.