Thursday, March 02, 2006

Existential Song

You’re looking for clarity and meaning, but this world, baby, offers neither.

Yet, while I acknowledge that life is meaningless, I still choose to live; that choice makes me one of Albert Camus’s “absurd heroes.”

I’m squeamish about calling myself “hero.” But maybe, by not choosing suicide, or by not choosing the artificial meaning offered by religion—by choosing to blindly pluck meaning from the small moments of my life, by happily taking on the Sisyphean task of dragging the proverbial boulder up the hill that keeps on rolling down for all eternity–maybe I should sit a while and accept the fact of my “heroism.”

Maybe people like me are people like Lampedusa's il Gatupardo: you're life's crashing down all around you, yet you bear it all with solemn dignity. Traditions die, memories taper into nothingness, gray areas govern the edges of our time, but like Lampedusa's Leopard, you choose to move on rather than die with the empire in your head.

Maybe, my decision to choose life amid all these makes me incredibly brave, after all. In an absurd sense.

You just don’t realize it, but life’s always a race for some little thing—a race that’s often not really about getting there first, but about not being left behind. In a nice world, it would be great if we all arrive at the same time. But even simple orgasms don’t happen that way.

Maybe you just don’t realize it, but life’s about little fears. Fear because you know you won’t always be intelligent. Or pretty. Or cutting-edge. Or cool. You won’t always have that body that attracts countless suckers. You won’t always win. You won’t always be brilliant. You won’t always be able to smile for every single dawn or dusk that comes your way.

Because you can’t stay forever up in that tower gazing for new incoming waves, for paradigm shifts. Eventually, time and circumstance will force you to go down and mingle with those you used to deride. Eventually, you’ll be weak and helpless. Eventually, somebody has to bury you.

And in the face of all that is meaninglessness. And in the face of such meaninglessness are “absurd heroes” that quietly, silently plod through their days, creating, thinking, loving, remembering. Or trying to forget.

Then you keep going back looking for clarity and meaning.

But this world, baby, offers neither.

For similar posts, see Random Acts of Strangeness.

No comments: