Understanding that you must, one day, die is not profound. Knowing that there are things that we do not know is not profound either. Though there is value to the art of keeping these things in mind, such an act does not warrant any individual special merits. Knowing that both death is inevitable and knowledge is limited is inherently universal. Everyone knows this, or at least they should
All of us are wandering aimlessly through this life, in effort to discover our purpose. This looks different for everyone. In my own case, it appears to be more aimless than what could be viewed as the average person. The bulk of my time is spent on contemplating, my mind wandering in attempt to grasp and take hold of the many things that I desire to accomplish with my free time. As I have made it clear, I never get around to doing those things.
The nature of our minds, nay, the plasticity of our brains puzzles me greatly. I could not have anticipated the difficulties that would come with growing older, moving into my twenties as a teenager.
There is something so tragically sublime about recalling the things people tell you in your youth. For example, “take care of yourself.” I have always interpreted that as a generic greeting/departure phrase. It’s not exactly common to hear it in a conversation nowadays, as far as I am aware. Personally, it is something I have always heard from my grandparents and other older generational individuals.
What I mean to say about something as simple as “Take care of yourself,” is that it should be taken literally. It is not a mere “goodbye.” It is a beckoning of one party to another. It expresses a deep concern, one which desires to see another in a healthy state of being.
Our lives are dust in the wind. Who knows when the cock will crow? Who knows when we will meet our end? As I have already mentioned, understanding this within ourselves is not profound — by any stretch of the imagination. It is, and should be, second nature.
Each of us knows deep within ourselves that the end is within reach. It waits for no one.
I sit here and write this after having just finish Dazai’s No Longer Human. I spent the better part of my evening lying down on the couch reading it. As I perused each page, I had one of those immersive experiences that is the result of interacting with literature.
No Longer Human is a “we live in a society” esque novel. Written in first-person, the protagonist (known as Yozo) recounts the various events of his life — which led him to the state of affairs that is revealed at the end of the book. It is a brutal, harrowingly honest account of tragic life lived.
It is not within my aim or desire to recite and summarize the plot of the novel. I am far too lazy for that, at the moment; also, I do not excel when it comes to memory — even if it is short-term. What I do want to touch base on is how this made me feel. It definitely goes without saying that whether it be from the people we encounter or the books we read, the emotional impressions we receive as a result of such encounters are far more relevant to us…at the end of the day.
After reading another individual’s review on the novel, I was taken aback. It brought me face-to-face with a period of own life, where I also was in a state of being akin to the aforementioned reviewer.
As far as I am able, I avoid pretentiousness. There is no measurement for this phenomenon — at least I am not aware of it if there is one. If I have said it once, I have said it a million times, “I do not intend to sound pretentious.” I desperately want to avoid it, at all costs. In the same way that I flee into external stimuli at the faintest thought of my own mortality, I shout from the rooftops that I despise pretentiousness whenever I feel that I am dipping my foot in the waters of delusional grandeur.
With this being said, let it be known that I had fits of “he’s just like me frfr !!” when I was reading this novel. Though I did find him relatable in some respects, there was a time period in my life where I would have experienced a more intense kinship with this MC. Without getting into the details, I use to browse r/AntiNatalism religously. I do not think it would be a stretch to call the me of that time period depressed.
There’s not much that can be said to a person in such a state. Judging off my own limited experience, the individual in question is well aware of their issues. If they are anything like Yozo, I would say that they are far too aware of their own state of being. They are hyper-conscious. The last thing that such a person needs is for another to look down on them.
To the individual in possession of insurmountable guilt, there is nothing to gain in being chastised or condemned by peers. To the cursed one who has been disqualified of being human, there is seemingly nothing that can help them — especially if it is anything which resembles that of criticism. A person held captive by the weight of their mistakes can be damned, as though they were “dwelled up to now as in a burning hell.” Expecting anything else is like expecting a crippled man to get up and walk while proceeding to kick him on the ground yelling, “WALK.” That’s not how things work. Not how life works, rather.
“I thought, “I want to die. I want to die more than ever before. There’s no chance now of a recovery. No matter what sort of thing I do, no matter what I do, it’s sure to be a failure, just a final coating applied to my shame. That dream of going on bicycles to see a waterfall framed in summer leaves—it was not for the likes of me. All that can happen now is that one foul, humiliating sin will be piled on another, and my sufferings will become only the more acute. I want to die. I must die. Living itself is the source of sin.”
Our mistakes eat at us. Though I cannot even begin to fathom the depth of Yozo’s despair, I know what my own pit looks and feels like. It can be so easy to be swallowed up. The desire to escape, to run from past mistakes is ever-present. Actually, it is more suitable to refer to this aforementioned desire as an impulse — in the strictest sense. It is something that just…takes over. The impulse to hide from these humiliating sins manifests in a number of different ways. It’s just how it is.
At the end of the day, there is no “right way” to getting out of this state of being. Being completely overwhelmed by both the weight of our own mistakes and the grim reality of the world is nothing to be ashamed of. I daresay that it is a normal feeling. Though this is the case, it becomes an issue when it becomes destabilizing. Uncontrollable sadness. Melancholia, even.
I do not have a solution to the problem that is this life. Yes, it is true that this world is brutal. Yes, it is true that our mistakes are overwhelming. Yes, it is all true. All of this is true, and more. Despite these truths, I feel confident in stating that each and every one of us is capable of overcoming feats such as these. I am of the opinion that no sin is beyond forgiveness; each and every person is far more capable of what they believe they are.
I did not mean to go off on a tangent like this. My intention was to just sit down and write whatever thoughts came to my mind. That’s usually how it goes. Given the circumstances of my day today, that is how this post ended up becoming what it did. My apologies to anyone that had to bear reading this.
That’s all I have got for tonight. Hopefully everyone is doing swell.