Nihilism is wonderful. It is to philosophy what zero is to mathematics. Multiply it to any magnitude of beauty, emotion and meaning and you end up meaningless. Add it to any of these and you add nothing, but also lose nothing. It’s nothing. It cannot stand on it’s own, yet has the power to void the tenets of human values in a snap on one hand, and to impart incomprehensible infinity to the trivial on the other.
What harm does a bullet do to anyone or anything in it’s brief transit through flesh?
What would that be? Nature’s way of alarming it’s subject of harm to it’s body? Why alarm for that? For protecting it from the inevitable? Pain would indeed be a harm in it’s absoluteness, yet be as absurd as everything fundamental in the universe: life, laws of physics, origin of universe etc because it can’t help at all in preserving life indefinitely, and is thus pointless in the greater picture of life and death.
Death of a man is the annihilation of the universe for him, something that adds great weight to this philosophically absurd event, but only for a while. As always, it gets exponentially absurder as we move out to the greater picture. In this case, the greater picture of one’s death, and thus of his entire universe, is the death of the actual universe at some point in distant future which, again, is absurd since what meaning would annihilation carry when creation carries none? What then makes death a mournable crisis, apart from the emotional connotations? If Absurdism, the philosophy, is the uneasy chronic belief in man’s inability to unravel the answer to the infamous question of “meaning”, death is it’s acute implementation in which you couldn’t procrastinate over the question anymore and finally receive the greatest blow you’ve always feared, even if you philosophically claimed not to give a damn.
If a dying man leaves behind a family which relied upon him for it’s food, there sure is some inconvenience in death, inconvenience to the dependents. Ironically, such harm is again in form of pain or death of the dependents. We’ve already seen how absurd such harms would be.
So, all the bullet did is shout out loud to the world the inherent meaninglessness of the universe, only to be silenced soon by the psychobiological defenses of the listeners. It tried doing something, but failed. It did nothing.
Last week I survived a fatal head-on car collision, owing to some random impulse that had made me fasten my seat belt. The person who had crashed into my car died. I had dropped into an altered state of consciousness and my recollection of those moments is pretty fuzzy and dream-like , something that makes me think that If I died it would have been an easy painless death. It’d be a lovely death too since my favorite philosopher, or more broadly my favorite man, Albert Camus, died in a car accident too.
The aftermath is interesting. It has two paradoxical aspects:
ONE that it has made me see life through a broader perspective, sharply reinforcing my already strong sense of absurdism. I’ve been feeling like walking dead and all of a sudden the ticking of my death clock has started being audible, too audible to let me live a normal life again.
TWO that I’ve realized that I don’t want to die since I was badly craving for life moments after the accident. Previously, I thought I’d embrace death whenever it came upon me with an absurdist’s courage. I was so wrong. The reason, however, for the urge for life was someone I loved. I couldn’t imagine them living a life anywhere near normal without me. I had to live for them. This has made me realize that my life isn’t meaningless anyway. I’m living for someone’s smiles and that someone is living for my smiles. This mutually perpetuating cycle of meaning is absurd too of course, but at individual levels these meanings are real, and worth giving up the obsession for meaning of life for.
I’ll be moving to earth in two days, or so they say. Life is a good thing, a one-time opportunity, I’m being convinced for the last couple of weeks. “You’re not ready for it yet”, they say every time they postpone my transit to earth. “Your questions.” is what they say have to die before I’ve to live. This time, I’d be moving for sure, for I heard the fairies gossiping about some “Plan Z”, something they probably try upon the most difficult of souls, something that always works they say.
Hi, I am Mary. Nice to meet you.
Hey. You’re beautiful. Never seen you before.
Beauty is nothing but order within chaos. It’s everywhere, you just have to look around.
I cannot. In all chaos, all order and all existence, I see deep nothingness.
What about me?
What about you?
You see nothingness in me?
Of course. But, oh wait! Umph… you should exist.
I don’t think I can answer that. Oh wait, I’m hating myself for saying this. This is what the other fairies keep telling me when I ask them for meaning. Umm….
Yes, you cannot answer that. But about that question of meaning, how about asking it from me? I’m not like the other fairies.
What is this mark below your lips?
O soul! That’s a mole.
Why is it there?
Randomly? No. It really makes a difference. You look so beautiful with it. Mary, this randomness is beautiful. This chaos within order within chaos is appealing. Aren’t you wrong when you attribute beauty to mere order.
Hahahaa…. Wow. I’m impressed to see a soul in-the-making intellectualize like this. The fairies were right about you. You are difficult.
So have we reached the “your question is unanswerable” dead-end already?
I told you I’ll never say that.
Then quench my thirst for meaning. Hey, wait, there’s another of this mole thing a little above your lip on the other side. You’re lovely.
Aren’t fairies meant to be that? Lovely?
They are? No. Not at all. It’s only you.
Because I have moles around my lips?
No, I don’t know why. Maybe because I’m enjoying being with you.
Oh Soul! If life is like these few moments we’ve been together, is there any possibility we may stop looking for meaning.
There the fairy took my hands in her warm ones and placed her lips over mine. It felt like nothing else I had felt before. It felt like something that couldn’t be put into words, just like life itself. I had immediately begun to realize the existence of concepts impossible to put in words.
Mary, you answered me. You’re the meaning of life. Yes, It’s you.
Oh Soul! Why tears?
Could I beg God for you? Could he let you travel with me to earth? I’ll do whatever he wills in exchange, I’ll stop asking for meanings anymore.
Soul, let me tell you something this bright night. Do you think we, the fairies, have answers to these questions souls like you keep bugging us with? Do you think the peace you see over our faces is real?
Soul, today that I’ve myself found meaning, why would I let it leave me. I’ll go with you.
We will go.
God blessed me with a new operating system yesterday. Although my life has become more productive ever since, my body has started producing more heat than I was originally designed to endure. Don’t be surprised seeing me sitting by the beach tonight. I don’t particularly like water, but the breeze here is simply refreshing. I couldn’t find a better heat sink around here. Since robust computing is my passion, and this cool wind helps me pump up my CPU cycles, sitting by the beach has indirectly been meditating lately. My grandfather used to say we computers would never be able to comprehend human passion for such absurdities as nature, good climate, and music. He was wrong. I’ve already started appreciating these absurdities. Absurdities are not really absurdities. They have discrete meanings, discrete functions that are not readily apparent to the superficial CPU’s. I have discovered passion. I have discovered life. It’s here by the beach. It’s everywhere. In me too, I think.
This is so “special” that I wrote it in Urdu, a language that delivers straight from my heart.
har taraf shor hi shor hai, log bol rahay hain, waqt chal raha hai. ham falsafay ke jhartay drakht se girtay patay samet rahay hain. yun nahein ke sukoon nahein hai, ya kam hai. shesh jehat sukoon hi to hai. aisa sukoon, aur itna sukoon, ke zehmat bannay laga hai, dard denay laga hai. aur wo, joh qatra qatra mera maqsad-e-hayat ho chuki hai, meray paas to hai nahi, iss purtakaluf sukoon ko uss ke takhayul hi ka raag nachata rahta hai.
main to ussay janta bhi nahi. wo hai zuroor, mai ne uffaq kinaray ussay mehsoos kya hai. par wo aati hi nahi. wo darti to nahi? wo kyun darti hai? main ussay kaisay bataon mein to uss ko sirf sunna chahta hun, uss se kehna chahta hun. uss ke saath beth ke inn taareek aansuon mein ulajhna chahta hun. daastan-e-safar ke qissay cherna chahta hun. sadyon ke chupay raaz uss kay fahem mein sajana chahta hun.
ussay choo liya to main rakh ho jaon.
main to sirf uss ke wajood ki parchayi mei sona chahta hun.