Opening Thoughts

I shall confront the Human Condition. I wish to find a way to live with this bleakness by facing the despair directly. No wincing, no shying away, just full-on honesty.

Part autobiography, part analysis, part phi­los­ophy, part polemic, this little blog will explore the disquiet and despair that has coloured my life from childhood, and through which the malig­nancy of the modern world is filtered. Some of it, I think, will veer into a sort of prose poetry, as whimsical is it is irrele­vant, included for the sake of not abandon­ing interesting words and strange thoughts that take me to exotic perspectives that I do not want to for­sake. Some will be deadly serious, a vicious and des­perate critique of the modern world, with all its greed and selfishness and suffering and oh, what an awful spectacle it makes… But much is stirred by my reading of books, whose authors and titles are never announced, because it is never wholly clear to me who has stimulated what, and to whom I answer, if indeed I am answering anyone. I am calling out in the darkness, that is all…

There are some, like me, who find life difficult. I would like to get to the bottom of this, to first understand it, and with that knowledge perhaps start again and, in old age, find a new way of being in the world that is something other than con­gealed distress. I must investigate the anatomy of this despair.

What is this difficulty? Well, it is first and foremost feeling uncomfortable. Always, always, from the earliest memory of the day I stopped crawling and learned to walk, I have felt uncom­fort­able. A deep, deep thought is screaming at me, trying to tell me that something is most aw­fully wrong, that there has been the most terri­ble mis­take that must somehow be rectified. But still I do not see its face, nor where this mistake lodges, nor how to rec­tify it.

The flavour of everything seems wrong, nasty, rancid. If I could spit my life out of my mouth, I would. Yet there is no way to do it. Always, always, feeling uncomfortable.

Should I sleep, I know already that my dreams will torment me, and I will awaken exhausted and frightened, and I know already that the day ahead will be a torture of some kind. I see my books, half read, half unread,[1] piled about me like a des­perate defence, for the words of others, of minds like my own, but minds also different, may distract me, as a fairy story may distract from the dreadful pains of the rack.[2] Yet pain can never be reme­died. This is what is constant, and all else, all that may distract, perhaps on occasion delight, is al­ways temporary to the point of fleeting, unequal to the task, a source of the greatest disappointment.

[1] This applies to individual books, started but not finished, and also to whole piles of books not yet even opened.

[2] Did anyone ever read a fairy story to someone being tortured? If so, was doing so actually part of the torture? It must depend on who is reading it, and their motive for doing it.


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