Empty Days

Friday, July 23, 2004



On life.

I live a life that is entirely purposeless. As a matter of fact, I came to see all life as fundamentally purposeless - those who pursue goals and see their life through this framework are probably oblivious to what is. These things are like all-absorbing games, an illusion. Yet without this illusion, the limitless indefiniteness of life is indeed hard to bear. To begin with, because it's incomprehensible - and being part of it makes one incomprehensible to oneself.

Eric Hoffer cites Cromwell: "A man never goes so far as when he does not know whither he is going."

With life irremediably purposeless, the only thing that's left is to keep going - no matter where it takes you. I guess the unknown and the uncertainty are the unnerving factors. To stave this off you finally stop caring - salvation and explanations are illusory, essentially interchangeable.

Then there are desires. The question "what will make you happy" asks for a definition of a predominant desire. It's usually difficult to answer, because desires are indistinct and interwoven, or more likely still - unavowed. A desire unacknowledged is like a clot in the vein - it will cause havoc. I think suppressing desires is not really feasible. What's feasible is a mutation of these desires into their opposite.

For example, a solitary naturally longs for impossible friendships because, well, man is an animal, and a social one at that. But there are too many entangled things that prevent this and make it impossible. Consequently this desire eventually mutates into something else: hopeless view of people and ardent desire for solitude, which is in fact an inverted desire for company. It is not really strange that once the desire for solitude is realized it does procure fulfillment - it's a form of liberation from an impossible desire.

In fact, even hopelessness occasions hope. Achieving hopelessness is a liberation from a number of impossible desires. I would counsel suicide to anyone too entangled to breath - hitting the wall is likely the best cure for complexity. Hopelessness affords negative freedom, but freedom is equal to hope in many respects. Yet desires never disappear - it's the force of life, the ability to feel. Cynics and suchlike ostensibly profess complete indifference which is actually fake. They get tired of wishing for the impossible, for explanations, and it's this wholesale fatigue that passes for their equanimity. But inside every cold cynic there sits a deeply burried romantic, just like inside every nihilist hides a credulous soul - this duplicity is their greatest ridicule but life is funny that way.

I was never tempted to seek peace in meditation and the tired mantra of "desirelessness" is repellent to me. Perhaps because it is not peace that I want but a transmutation of my will - and thus real freedom, which I imagine to be the one thing worth living for. If all life is purposeless, then will must be purposeless too - by nature rather than by design.

Finding out what I really want has been a long and senseless struggle. For the moment I know what I do not want - but stripping myself of all the unwanted propositions is still a long way from touching on the positive element. Negative freedom still needs to be achieved before it gives way to my will.

Christians etc say it's pride - but then Christians are nothing but parrots of their holy writ, they rarely know what they're talking about. Try to live without holy writs - try to avoid assumed wisdom - and life becomes a deep sea without beginning nor end. It becomes a purposeless, senseless affair - and that's what life really is, when seen up close and without interpretations.

Perhaps it's better that way.





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