Sometimes I actually wonder.
What is the meaning of life, again? What’s the actual point to our existence?
(I ought to apologise in advance, this isn’t going to be one of those blog posts that’s all positive, far from it. Nor will it have any significance beyond me just venting. Rambling. So sorry if you came here for some entertainment.)
Thing is, I reckon even rambling might have a purpose. If there could possibly be a purpose to it all.
It’s the weekend, and I’ve had plenty of time to do “stuff” but for most of it, I’ve just been moping; sitting, thinking, looking.
Being, rather than becoming; being rather than doing.
I have a novel I seriously want to write. And just the whole fact there is a novel there, gives my life meaning. There’s a goal with an intrinsic value that I want to attain. I want everlasting life; I want something for my kids to be proud of; I want to be able to write a ‘dedicated to …’. Attaining the goal gives purpose; reaching for the goal gives purpose.
But I’m not writing. Well, I’m writing here, but why am I not writing on the novel? I know the significant plot lines, and I know the characters. I don’t need any more planning than what I’ve already done. Why am I not writing it?
Is it because I cannot see the goal being attained, and therefore the value shattered? And from that, is life now worthless?
Not quite. But stick with me here.
I bought a book on Friday. A real book. One that you can hold in your hand, touch, feel, smell. A pleasure to the senses beyond the immediate see and hear. It’s about Neitchze and an exploration into his thoughts about the meaning of life characterised by inescapable suffering.
Yeah, right up my street. (So thank you Roxanna, for bringing Neitchze into my line of sight)
But why do I need a book to tell me about the nature of samsara? Surely just reading Neitchze would give me all the comfort and grace that I could ever need? Haven’t I read and witnessed enough from Buddhist teachings to learn, to accept, the first of the Noble Truths?
Well, two things:
- Neitchze writes in code. In a language that has been designed to be understood, and not understood at the same time. Currently I am not worthy, because I’m just hearing a stream of consciousness. And re-reading doesn’t help me. So, I don’t have the wisdom (yet) to fully understand and take in his very thoughts, his very essence
- Assuming I could de-code the Rosetta Stone, none of what I want to understand is in a single place, in a single book. It would be a long time before I could honestly say I was even on my way to discovering the things I needed to know because it will be many years before I get to read all his books (or rather, all the ones that deserve attention)
- Like everyone else, I need answers now
Ok, three things.
But the last of those was kind of tongue in cheek. Kind of. Because I’m dying. And I’d like to understand the nature of what and who and why before it all ends.
Anyway, one of the disappointing things I’ve discovered is that just because my life is meaningless, it doesn’t mean that I’m a nihilist. You see, a true nihilist would argue that all life is meaningless for the very same reasons why my sole existence is.
Oh. So I’m not special after all. That was disappointing. But that disappointment is also part of the necessary suffering which we can never escape, which is our constant companion even beyond death. It’s part of life itelf. It’s part of who and why we are. Which thereby gives life meaning again. My life meaning.
Long way to go yet. But I have plenty of time. Or do I?
I remember once, I was driving around a car park, looking for a parking space. There weren’t many available. None in fact. I was following behind a woman. We were both seeking the space. And one became available, a car pulled out of their space.
Now the woman in front had pulled ahead too far, and so I had the opportunity to slip in. But instead, I flashed the woman to come back, after all it was rightly her spot, she was ahead of me in the order of who should be parked first. It was only right I give up the space to her. I flashed. She reversed. And took the space.
And she never said thank you. She didn’t even acknowledge me.
“Well FUCK YOU LADY” is what I thought in the moment.
But, think about it. Did I give up the space because I wanted gratitude, or because I thought it was the “right” thing to do; was I seeking acknowledgement for being an awesome human being, or was I being honest in my offering of the place.
Why did I have to get so upset with her? She may have been ungrateful, and what I did was right when assessed against my personal values. But perhaps she was extremely grateful, and I just didn’t see it; there was no outward acknowledgement that I noticed.
Perhaps I just crave attention.
Or maybe just affection.
And anything that rubs up against that value simply makes me feel unworthy, disrespected, meaningless.
And perhaps I’m in my moping mood because of that very value being ignored, that very personal value of “what’s right” being shat upon.
I sent an email the other day asking for help on a particular issue, not from a friend, but from someone with whom I’ve interacted with occasionally, someone I would have hoped could at least ease my suffering. I know she read it, because I have an indicator in my emails that lets me know it has been opened. She has never replied. Not even an acknowledgement, or a “no, sorry.” She effectively ignored me. So what’s the point?
When in my creative writing course, I asked for feedback, I gave first before asking, and I was ignored. Not just once, but by three people. I really needed, wanted, was desperate for guidance, support, friendship. Here, have some shit in return. So what’s the point?
I was on a bus a few weeks back. I saw an old friend, standing at the bustop, who I hadn’t had coffee with for ages. She loves a particular coffee shop, and I could drop by there any time and would probably find her there. I waved from the bus; she waved back. I mimed “coffee”; she gave the thumbs up. I texted “such a coincidence to see you. when would you like to meet up”; she responded “let me check my diary” and that was that. A promise never to be fulfilled. Three weeks. Nothing. So what’s the point?
Should I ignore these people, realising they are not worthy, that I shouldn’t waste my time on them? Should I be more tolerant and realise that they too have their samsara to deal with, that they too all have a meaningless life? Should I just try and find someone who will give me the affection, the attention, the love that will keep me alive?
If I wave, I’m happy with a smile in return. If I smile, I’m ok with a nod. If I nod, a micro expression will suffice. But ignore me and you stab me; ignore me enough and I just die a little more.
I don’t need the moon-on-a-stick in return, Just an acknowledgement, a meaningful “ok, I see you and notice you and you have a place in this world and you are alive” nod, wink, smile. Whatever.
Otherwise I’ll just assume “what’s the point” and come to a conclusion that this is a meaningless life, that this is never going to change, that this intolerable suffering is the norm, and so any additional suffering on top won’t make the blindest jot of difference. And so in that case, we should seek out more suffering, and seek out not just the Truth, but the ultimate hedonistic lifestyle of anti-Truth …
… it’s just a thought. Another in the many.
I downloaded an app the other day. It reminds me at several points in the day, asking me “what do I have to be happy about” and you can post a photo or a thought or whatever. And others can like your happiness post. It’s about learning to be grateful for everything in life, seeing the beauty in the mundane.
It’s not working for me. Nice idea, but either my eyes are closed, or I am refusing to open them. Can we really force happiness? Can we really contrive to see beauty everywhere, or are we just living in delusion, kidding ourselves that everything is fine as we rush headlong into oblivion. No brakes, no airbag, no safety net.
But if my senses are dulled, that the flower in the field has no scent, that the sunrise has no warmth, then truly what’s the point?
Anyway, this isn’t getting my novel finished. But at least I’m doing a little more than moping, sitting, looking, thinking.
Maybe I’m changing the world. Maybe I’m changing me …
p.s. this isn’t a criticism or poke at anyone in particular. It is just a rant; a rambling; my own stream of shitty consciousness. So don’t take anything personally. #justsaying