Friday, 30 November 2012

Life


Listen to the newborn infant’s cry in the hour of birth- see the death struggles in the final hour- and then declare whether what begins and ends in this way can be enjoyment.
 

True enough, we human beings do everything as fast as possible to get away from these two points, hurry as fast as possible to forget the birth-cry and change it to delight in having given a being life. And when someone dies we immediately say: Softly and gently he slipped away, death is a sleep, a quiet sleep- something we do not say for the sake of the one who died, for out talking cannot help him, but for our own sake, in order not to lose any of the zest for life, in order to change everything to serve an increase in the zest for life during the interval between the birth-cry and the death-wail, between the mother’s shriek and the child’s repetition of it, when the child at some time dies.
 

Imagine somewhere a great and splendid hall where everything is done to produce joy and merriment- but the entrance to this room is a nasty, muddy, horrible stairway and it is impossible to pass without getting disgustingly soiled, and admission is paid by prostituting oneself, and when day dawns the merriment is over and all ends with one’s being kicked out again- but the whole night through everything is done to keep up and inflame the merriment and pleasure!
 

What is reflection? Simply to reflect on these two questions: How did I get into this and how do I get out of it again, how does it end? What is thoughtlessness? To muster everything in order to drown all this about entrance and exit in forgetfulness, to muster everything to re-explain and explain away entrance and exit, lost in the interval between the birth-cry and the repetition of this cry when the one who is born expires in the death struggle.

                                                                                                                Kierkegaard

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Dazzling, Wearisome Mediocrity of Humanity


A few people have requested I put up a new post, as they were finding it awkward/impossible to access all the comments on the last one. Apparently, to read them all, you need to enable Javascript (thanks, Laura!). Having nothing new to say, I shall merely bitch.


I think the reason I loathe London so much is because it smacks the fundamental mediocrity of humanity right in your face; there is simply no escaping it. The bottom line is that most people are mediocre, they really don't exist as thinking, self-aware creatures at all. They suck up the shit dished out by their parents, the tabloids and television and never have a thought in their lives. I don't mean this in any Nietzschean Ubermensch crappy way, as I, too, am a mediocre, loathsome, self-serving, morally delinquent specimen, but merely as a sad statement of inescapable truth. Living here would have extinguished any notions I ever had about humanity if they hadn't all died a long time ago, but even then, to come and live here in the midst of the flood is something else altogether. I think that's why my fundamental feeling these days is a great lassitude and weariness. Humanity is going nowhere and accomplishing nothing; it's just pigs in a trough, and that's being unfair on pigs, who are very clean animals.

On Monday, circumstances forced me into taking refuge in one of those awful 'Pret a Manger' chain cafes. I tried to stick it out, but the awful food, the vapid music and the fake cheeriness of the staff inspired a desire to commit a Brevik-style massacre, so I ran out into the rain. That evening, while waiting for a Tube in one of the blandest of the bland London suburbs, I felt close to fainting, such was the nausea induced by exhaustion and the endless crowds of joyless, stone faced people all crammed on to the Auschwitz cattle-cars that are the Underground.

A lot of my more 'optimistic' friends are those who still live in small places, all frustrated and dreaming that 'civilisation' and 'culture' inhere in the big cities. Some even think I am 'living the dream'. I try to disabuse them, but to no avail.

There you are: humanity sucks!