Friday, July 24, 2009

Sartre, Camus, Beckett and Some Buddhist Guy

"I think it is time for my existence to end."

I remember reading this line a couple of decades ago and it has been echoing in my head all day. I don't know who said it first, it could be from anywhere. It is vaguely Sartrean, or maybe from Camus. Perhaps it was spoken by a character in Giorgio Bassini's Garden of the Finzi-Continis or it's in Waiting for Godot or even Waiting for Guffman. A Zen koan by Gyomay Kubos? It doesn't matter; in my mind, no more powerful ten words can ever be uttered. I like that as a statement it is neither maudlin nor looking for a response. It is a proclamation of fact, sanely put, definitive, full of purpose and short of either drama or despondence. It epitomizes the concept of stoic and makes perfect sense right now.

A friend said, "I feel as if my personality has done all it can. I can't think myself into or out of things anymore." That makes sense too. For me, it is more of a sensation that my insides--what I hold dear--no longer work with the outside, if they ever really did. I am out of step; the values I've established over a lifetime seldom apply anymore. In fact, even the limited skills I've developed really are no longer relevant. I'm still waving a buggy whip around as traffic speeds past me.

That's an interesting--and freeing--realization. And somewhat scary, I admit. It puts me, and several people I know, squarely on an extraneous soapbox. There's not that much to talk about, even if we spoke the same language as everyone else, and we don't. The evolution of the mother--or other--tongue has either left us behind, or we have refused to keep up. Ideas, like humans, have their times, and my ideas, the things I am able to imagine, to conceptualize, to act upon, those are dated.

We're often told in various 12-step programs to wait until the miracle happens. It's a good concept that stresses acceptance and patience but overlooks the obvious. What if the miracle already happened? What are we waiting for now? Another one, somewhat smaller and less meaningful miracle? Or perhaps someone else's miracle, where we can participate as side players?

Many questions, no answers, which is precisely as it should be. I do not anticipate any great changes in my existence, and it will cease to be when it is time, which sounds portentous but is not. I may live to be a hundred or be run over by a moped tomorrow, so all this is nothing but conjecture. Still, I like that: "I think it is time for my existence to end." That's the kind of thought that gives life meaning.

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