So I haven’t posted for a while. Mainly I’ve been busy. I suppose that that is one of the keys to life. Fool, distract thyself! Mostly it’s been humdrum paying bills, and working for the man. What can I say, I’m not special! On the other hand I have been studying for a part-time MA in Existential and Humanistic Pastoral Care, and it has certainly been everything I had hoped for. Yes, everything is pointless. Yes, the past is done with. Yes, people can be shit. But that’s where existentialism takes off: we are free to disregard and build anew, knowing full well that anything we build will become just as done as anything else. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t life. As part of my MA I have been exposed to a hell of a lot of philosophical work, and coming from a science background it has been very refreshing. Sometimes it feels as if science exists within its own vacuum. There are actual people out there trying to understand actual human being, not seduced by the meaningless jigsaw puzzle that the universe appears to be.
Earlier this year I was a bit down. A long term relationship was ending. And I was quite despondent about the future. I felt like I was in a Mexican standoff with the universe. And at this stage I had kinda decided I didn’t really care if I was the quickest draw in the West or not. I had a big argument with someone and it upset me. Driving to work the next day I contemplated the nearness of death. The fact that a slip up during my morning commute would end my emotional distress. And who hasn’t wished for the peace of non-existence? I was listening to an audiobook and this quote by Kierkegaard was read out to me:
Marry, and you will regret it. Do not marry, and you will also regret it. Marry or do not marry, you will regret it either way. Whether you marry or you do not marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the stupidities of the world, and you will regret it; weep over them, and you will also regret it. Laugh at the stupidities of the world or weep over them, you will regret it either way. Whether you laugh at the stupidities of the world or you weep over them, you will regret it either way. Trust a girl, and you will regret it. Do not trust her, and you will also regret it. Trust a girl or do not trust her, you will regret it either way. Whether you trust a girl or do not trust her, you will regret it either way. Hang yourself, and you will regret it. Do not hang yourself, and you will also regret it. Hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret it either way. Whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret it either way
And I laughed heartily. Well no shit Sherlock, but isn’t it nice when other people recognise the absolute shitness of life sometimes? I mean, don’t get me wrong. Life has some significant upsides. I have a new "girlfriend", and life has never been more fun and exciting. But still, I think Kierkegaard communicates a deep truth about existence. The bereaved often experience this feeling. That no matter what you do for your dying relative, you regret not having done differently. But, as Kierkegaard says, do or don’t do, either way you will regret it. I don’t take that as a negative philosophy, just an understanding that when we make choices, we are fixing ourselves. That anxiety of the future looms as a multiplicity of eventualities, and yet once it comes, it becomes an actuality. Helping others appreciate this aspect of life is something that I often do when I work with the bereaved, and yes, it does actually help. And not just with the bereaved...Go Top