Tuesday, 24 February 2009

A Disagreement.

I heard someone declare that Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground (or Memoirs from the Mousehole as a more accurate translation would have it) was "crap".

Well, great books are great mirrors. If all you see is crap, then look unto thyself.

Or, more prosaically - shit in, shit out.

The first and perhaps greatest existential novel. Here follow some very random thoughts half-remembered while smoking furiously in the garden and looking at the unfeeling stars.

What is existentialism?

It is the realisation that you exist - and there is no particular reason for you being here. You are here. That is all you know, and all you can rely on. There is no wrong or right, no good or evil. There is just here.

We are like plants, growing, pollinated, breeding our young where the wind takes them, dying, rotting away to the soil. We are the consequence of a runaway chain-reaction of chemistry that had the lucky knack of perpetuating a certain complexity that either thrived or died according to its ability to thrive.

We still feel, hurt, weep, and bemoan our lot. To be US, and to be so meaningless. We feel so strongly, so deeply, and it is all for nothing. How hard is that to accept with a laugh and a sprightly walk?

The whole world is a ghastly lie set up to pretend it isn't so.

We smile, provide for the future, as if it makes any difference. We care about our children, as if it makes any difference. We destroy the future for our present gratification, as if it makes any difference.

And then, and then, and then, we still have to exist. How do we exist? Why don't we get out?

We find ways. Humour. Comedy. Laugh at the ridiculous void. Laugh at the distance between the hope and the truth. Black laughter. It's all we've got.

Pleasure can be taken along the way, but the store of dishonesty, or cowardice mounts up daily.

We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here. (Old WWI song).

So we may as well stay here as long as we can.

Almost any misery is better than death. In fact, to a gourmand of misery, I would scratch out the almost. Even agony is still the only existence we have.

There are still, however, plenty of good reasons for trading our store of existence in for the benefit of others who may be more innocent. Self-sacrifice is another lie, but one of the most noble ones.


But keep fucking laughing at the whole caboodle!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And try to be good, because it helps other people keep their eyes closed.

And finally, sometimes I think we who are all supposedly damaged goods, are simply the ones whose scales hath fallen from their eyes.


Abysmal Musings said...

Due to some weird comment verification balls-up, they weren't working last night. An interesting response over at Mandy's: http://itsallabouttheprophets.blogspot.com/2009/02/being-screwyan-insiders-take.html

Abysmal Musings said...

Oh balls - link this time: http://itsallabouttheprophets.blogspot.com/2009/02/being-screwyan-insiders-take.html

Mothy said...

i was looking for commenting last night but could not Post. The moment has passed anyway but I curious if I can post a comment today.

Philippa Brodie said...

`Time is a river that carries me away, but I am the river; it is a tiger that mangles me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, alas, is real; I, alas, am Borges.'

Thank you for hanging in there D.

fightingmonsters said...

I think as long as we can ask these questions, we have a purpose. It is when we stop wondering, caring or inquiring that the emptiness is better echoed.
As long as we can ask why are we here, we have a reason and a purpose to be here. Maybe it's an echo of Plato and Socrates but we have been asking questions the same questions for millenia - it is just the answers that change..

differentlysane said...

I've never read Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, but I'll look into it.

People tend to get annoyed when I point out such things to people.

Why just last night I 'depressed' someone by pointing out that whether he wanted to or not, he would die eventually and that therefore my 'take it or leave it' attitude towards life would in the long run cause less distress. (Not really existentialism, but a related concept I think?).

But yes, laughter is the most important thing to do.


Alarryyk said...

great post...laughter is the key and we are here because we here...love it :)