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 🙂