Should I Have a Cup of Coffee, Or Kill Myself?

The title of this blog is meant to be humourous; I feel I should say that right off the bat.  It has nothing to do with a dark state of mind, or a morose desire to end it all.  Despite some challenging moments in my life, the idea of exiting by my own hand never found its way into my psyche in any way, shape or form.  I much prefer to be alive, than not.

Having said that, I so enjoy that quote.   I love the depth and complexity of its meaning, and I am attracted to the obvious absurdity of the words.  The dark humour that comes attached has me grinning from ear to ear every time I read it.  It is clever.

For those who aren’t familiar with this quote, it was written by French writer/journalist/philosopher and Nobel Prize winner, Albert Camus.

All my life, as far back as my memory allows, I have pondered the idea of existence.  As a child I often wondered where I came from – what I was before I was, and what I would be, when I wasn’t anymore..  Heavy thoughts for a kid!  As I grew older, my ruminations evolved into questioning humanity’s collective existence, and then of course, existence in its purest form.

It didn’t take long for me to come to a realization about life and existence.  My personal truth is that we can never know the answers to those questions.  We can try to make sense of it as much as we like, but we will always hit the wall.  What is the wall?  The wall, in my view, is the concept of nothingness.   At this point in human evolution, we do not have close the cognitive capacity to understand the notion of nothingness, assuming such a thing exists.  Some thing had to start somewhere and we can decide to believe, in our naive human kind of way, that there was simply a beginning.  But we conveniently ignore the question of what was before the beginning.  Nothing?  What is nothing?  It has to be something.  The questions never end, and you can’t win.  Even if you believe in a higher power, that higher power had to come from somewhere.  It all leads back to the concept of nothingness – the wall.  And that’s a disturbing thought, if you really sink your teeth into it.

While we strive to find a meaningful purpose for our existence as a human race, some of us believe there is no more than meets the eye.  It’s a full-fledged paradox for us.  There is nothing we want more than to understand why we occupy space in the universe for a time, yet we absolutely don’t believe an answer exists.

When faced with the thought that our existence is essentially meaningless in the infinite scheme of things, we may begin to see the absurdity of it all.  We are forced to accept the logic of what we have uncovered, while at the same time find meaning in life.   I have come to accept this truth for what it is.  The only option is to make meaning for ourselves.  To find a purpose of our own.  And the options are unlimited; there is something for each of us if we take the time to search for it.

The reality of our existence is that we are free to make our own choices.  But this unbridled freedom comes with a hefty responsibility.   What stops you from running in front of an oncoming bus or jumping off of a bridge should you get the notion?  There is no physical barrier; there is no one to stop you.  It’s not a question of being depressed and suicidal.  It is a question of choosing to do or not to do.  You have the choice.  It’s slightly disturbing to realize that we are completely responsible for our existence or non-existence, guided only by our own inner truths, beliefs, and ethics.  We have created laws and regulations as a society, but in the end, we alone must choose.

The quote “Should I Have a Cup of Coffee, or Kill Myself?” speaks clearly to the existential notion of choice, freedom and responsibility.  It is humourous in its dark juxtaposition of the dramatic and the banal, and profound enough to have ignited my inspiration for this post on a dark and rainy afternoon.

I choose to believe that life is precious, despite it all 🙂

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23 Responses to Should I Have a Cup of Coffee, Or Kill Myself?

  1. irishkatie says:

    I like this … it …I am glad to know that others think like this. That others make their head hurts with trying to think about the place beyond.

    I do this with time all the…errr….time.

    I mean, what came before the beginning. It just goes…back..and back…and back???? Then I start to think in terms of bending time…and maybe it loops somehow…but….even if it does…or if it “skips” …. there still has to be a “start”…shoudn’t there be a start?!?!? And it makes my head hurt after a bit because I think super hard and cannot get it to click. I know I never can…but I keep trying.

    In a way … it is…comforting to me. That there are some things we cannot know. We can strive to know. But like you say, some things are beyond our capacity to perceive.

    • lthibault11 says:

      Yes, it does make the head hurt. We just don’t have the capacity to understand. We can try but it’s futile in the end. Who knows, maybe in another million years?? It’s frustrating that we have just enough cognitive ability to contemplate, but not enough to ever find the answer. Such is life.. And you`re right, there is comfort in knowing and accepting our limits. All we can do is make the best of the time we have I guess. lol What else can we do?


  2. Zen Greenway says:

    I’ve never really had a problem with the mystery of it all. In fact, thinking about the mystery is one of the things that makes life so exciting for me! I don’t need to ever know the answer for life to have meaning. As for the infinite, there’s a geometry example that made it all clear to me. You start with an equilateral triangle inside a circle (each corner of the triangle touches the circle). Then you draw equilateral triangles pointing out toward the circle on each side of the first triangle. Then you draw equilateral triangles on those triangles. You keep drawing smaller and smaller triangles always pointing out toward the circle. The outline of all these triangles gets longer and longer the more triangles you add. And because in mathematics you can always add another triangle (as opposed to real life where the triangles would eventually become too small for us to see), the length of the outline is theoretically infinite, but it never breaks the circle. This is how you can have an infinite line in a finite space. I think the universe is like this, with infinite layers of complexity contained in the physical space within which we live. So much to explore and understand! So much to never understand because it’s infinite! Yahoo! (By the way, I love your notion of CHOOSING meaning over nothingness. I wonder if that’s one of the qualities that makes human thought so unique on Earth. I suppose other animals may contemplate the infinite, but I suspect our thoughts on the subject are the most elaborate.)

    • lthibault11 says:

      Wow, that’s alot to absorb lol! I am going to have to think about that equation of yours but it will have to be on paper because I am oh so visual. I think I get the gist of it though.

      I personally don’t think animals other than the human kind have the capacity to contemplate infinity, but who the hell knows? lol

      Thank you for your very thought “filled” comment. Yet more to think about..

    • lthibault11 says:

      Ps: What’s with all the adds on WordPress all of sudden??

    • lthibault11 says:

      PPS : Some of it is pretty darn cheesy..ick.

      • irishkatie says:

        Uhmm…I am not seeing ads….

      • Zen Greenway says:

        I’m also not seeing ads. I know people who follow my blog by email say there are ads in the emails, but I think if you’re logged in to WordPress, there aren’t supposed to be any.

      • lthibault11 says:

        The ads are on the top of my comment page right now. This is something I haven`t seen before. They are tacky dating ads with kind of slutty looking women, “2200 + girls – no strings attached”, lol and ick. I am no prude, but I find the ads offensive. Not sure what is going on with that. I would love it if you could post a drawing of the triangles on your blog. No pressure. I`ll look into the Chaos theory. And please, no need to apologize, I find your views fascinating.


    • irishkatie says:

      Ok….sort of getting off the topic a little from the original blog…but the triangle example intrigues me … well, because I am a math geek! lol.

      I am having a hard time picturing what you are explaining (and I went and tried googling images to see if I could find something visual…but no luck.) Let me try to restate what you are saying…I am totally sure I am misunderstanding.

      1) Draw a circle.
      2) Draw an equilateral triangle within the circle, with each point of the triangle touching the circle. (Hence, each point will be an equidistant apart on the circle).
      3) This is where I get lost. Are you saying to draw an equilateral triangle, in each of the spaces between the original triangle and the circle? With…one of the 2nd triangles point facing outward? Or…the point facing towards the center of the circle?

      Ok…enough of that…

      I think your point was along the theme of…you can continually intersect a line … and theoretically never reach a the point where this is undoable?

      • lthibault11 says:

        Lol, you’ll have to direct your question to
        Zen. She’s the math genius, not me. I haven’t had a chance to figure it out yet, but it sounds like you have a good start!

      • lthibault11 says:

        Oops I see your reply was to Zen. Never mind! Lol

      • irishkatie says:

        *grins* …tis ok. Heck … the math was making my head spin….so my garbly-goop response can make yours spin haha. Hopes you are having an infinitely grand night.

      • Zen Greenway says:

        Yes, draw the second round of equilateral triangles in the spaces between the original triangle and the circle. New triangles are always drawn between the outline created by the triangles and the circle. So the outline gets longer and longer because you’re adding new bumps, but never leaves the space delineated by the circle. I also tried Googling for an appropriate image, but couldn’t find one. I read about this in a book on Chaos theory by James Gleick called Chaos: Making a New Science. There’s a Wikipedia page about it, but still no pictures! Go figure. One of the most important pictures I’ve ever seen and I can’t find it on Google. Maybe I’ll draw it and post it on my blog!

      • irishkatie says:

        Ohh….did James Gleick have another version of that book? I had one from him…and I think it was titled Chaos Theory??? I tried reading it when I was in college…but it was too complicated for me. I think I do not have it anymore. At the same time I had bought a book about fractals….by Gödel, Escher, Bach …. that too was over my head. I was trying to be a brain….but ack! lol

        Ok, back to the circles and triangles (and hi-jacking this blog ack)…. I got the idea now nod nods. However … I will be a dork ..

        The concept of infinite when it comes to breaking things into bits….i.e., halving a line constantly … I believe is somewhat of a fallacy? While you can indeed do this endlessly … at those times you do this, you are doing it to discrete points. Lines, like time, are continuous, so when breaking them, you can only do so on a discrete level…which violates the nature of the thing you are breaking.

        Uhm….that is sort of what I was taught anyway. Again, it was a long time ago…and perhaps I just THINK I was taught that haha.

        This is fun conversation though *smiles* …yes….I am a math geek too….or used to be.

        Ok…another potential example of infinity in a finite space … two mirrors faced directly at one another. Though we would never be able to be placed in such a position to see this…it’s interesting to think about 🙂

      • lthibault11 says:

        Lol, I like to think I have certain talents, but math is definately not one of them! I am interested in the Chaos Theory though and will be lookig into it when I have some time.

        The mirror thing is definately thought provoking.


      • irishkatie says:

        Nods…I think I might have finally figured out a way to see that mirror effect (yes…I have been thinking on this lol).

        Now…no matter how big the mirrors are…or where you are positioned, seemingly you would NEVER be in a position to look DIRECTLY into the opposing mirror and see the endless reflections … as your view to see the mirror behind you would be blocked by your body. If you moved to the side a bit to see behind you …you’d only get a shifted perspective view…at some point, the reflections you’d see would taper to the point where it is off the edge so to speak…and not to infinity.

        However …. I will say, I am BRILLIANT! (Unless someone can tell me the fallacy in my logic…which I am sure there must be one….)

        What if….you face two mirrors DIRECTLY opposite one another…and you stand DIRECTLY behind one of them…and it’s a two way mirror…like those ones in the police interrogation rooms. Wouldn’t you be able to see the infinite reflection?????

      • lthibault11 says:

        Brilliant! I think..

  3. Zen Greenway says:

    I also apologize if I’ve diverted the conversation away from your original topic, L. I was trying to illustrate your point that reality and meaning can co-exist with (or maybe within) the nothingness of infinity. One of the reasons I’m attracted to the philosophy of Zen is it’s accommodation of seemingly opposite concepts (i.e. being and nothingness). Chaos theory does the same thing really (simplicity and complexity). Anyway … I think I’ll have a cup of coffee!

  4. Hey! thanks for the musings! I actually prefer a thinker to a brainless sycophant “believer.” I hope you like friendship, even if from someone from the “other camp.”

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