“Treat people like you will never see them again.”
Art is so pointless sometimes. Don’t you think with all the thinking that artists have done over the years that we would have figured out the meaning of life by now?
You know what I think about the meaning of life?
Why would God create us if we are going to die? But not really even that. Why would God create us with the capacity of knowing we’re going to die? Why couldn’t he just have made us live forever? Or at least make us unaware of what death is? That’d save me a lot of trouble. I’d be happy. But you know what? Have you ever seen anything amazing come from an ignorant creature? I don’t think so. Ignorance isn’t bliss, because without knowing what dark is you can’t know what light is. Without down there’s no up. It’s like explaining color to a blind person. Live forever? That’s not the way to go. It’s in the struggle, the fight of knowing that we are going to die, and having the choice to give it our all and fight, and fight, and scrape and crawl and bleed; fight until there is nothing left in us, until we are everything we wanted to be, or become everything we hate, until we see the light and release our last breath saying, “That was all of me. That was everything. That was my magnum opus.” It is that fight that brings out the worst in us, the absolute worst of desperation, greed, malice, jealousy, and wrath. And it is that same fight that we can triumph, love, heal, conquer and live. LIVE. Really live… and that’s what makes it worth it. That’s what makes life worth living. That’s why we are alive. That’s why we were created. But do no mistake the possibility of life with real life. Do not mistake defeat for death, and hope for triumph. It is a fight. Nothing is guaranteed. Many will fail, and many will succeed, but one thing for certain is that all of us will die. You don’t need me to tell you this. It’s not a surprise. You know it’s coming, and so we are left, not even with the choices we make, but just one choice: Will you fight? Will you fight? Will you live?
But why don’t artists just say that? Why does it take them their whole life to figure that out, or maybe even never figure that out?
That IS the art. Art cannot be summarized or broken down or paraphrased without its meaning being summarized, broken down, and paraphrased as well. Art can’t be explained; it has to be experienced. How do you hear music for someone else? You can’t. How do you taste a delicious treat for someone else? You can’t. How are you supposed to live for someone else? You can’t. I could tell you the meaning of life, but it wouldn’t be the meaning of your life. It takes a lifetime of experiences to understand the meaning of life. Not just the meaning of any life; the meaning of your life. Life is the art, and art is life. We cannot live for someone else, but we struggle to, we try to pour our soul into art so that someone might feel a glimpse of the same thing we felt, live a fraction of our lives, and thus keep us alive through art. We don’t need to live. We don’t need to think. We don’t need to do anything; so I ask you this: why do we? …Your life is art, and you are the meaning of life.
What is wrong with people?
What do you mean?
Like, relationships. You don’t see bears in the woods cheating on each other.
True, but bears aren’t people.
Sometimes it seems hard to tell.
Yeah, but the difference between us and bears is that bears don’t know that they’re going to die. That’s why they don’t just start yolo-ing all over the place.
They can’t be completely clueless.
It’s not called the animal condition, it’s called the human condition.
I beg to differ. Animals in general avoid things that would kill them. I’m almost positive that they know they can die.
Yeah, that they can die; not that they will die. It’s nothing more than a reflex.
So if you knew you were going to die, would you go on a crazed sex rampage, or would you keep to yourself and one other person?
What are you talking about? I’m not going to die.
What’s on your mind?
Every living creature dies alone. That sort of thing.
That’s not always true. I’ve heard sometimes big groups of people, like in cults, come together and have mass suicides, like a big suicide party–oh and don’t forget about natural disasters. Lots of people die together in those.
Thanks. I feel way better now.
Well don’t drag your shit onto me. I’m feeling pretty good right now and I don’t want to deal with your existential crisis. I’ll deal with it when I get depressed on my own accord.
You could have just said that first. You don’t have to be such a jerk about it.
I was starting to feel bad, so I had to knock you down a few pegs, which made me feel better I gotta say.
Haven’t you heard of sharing the load to make it lighter?
Haven’t you heard about turds in punch bowls? I don’t want your shit in my mouth.
But we never talk about this kind of stuff. No one does.
And for a reason. People want to feel good. Yeah, we all know we’re all going to die, but we’d rather just distract ourselves from it than spend time thinking about it and dealing with it. Why do you think people are always on their phones doing dumb shit when they could have a quiet moment to reflect? Why do you think we distract ourselves from thought in general?
Yeah. I guess we’ve kind of gotten soft. No one wants to do the hard mental work to find true satisfaction; they just want to play fucking candy crush and feel happy for beating the next level or watch some fucking cats doing cute cat things.
Well yeah, that’s just the way it is, so deal with it.
Well you’re sucking at it. Try harder.
But if I just distract myself it won’t actually change anything.
…I’ll give you some advice that my great grandpa gave me before he died, as long as you promise to shut up.
When you feel like you are going to die — don’t die; and you will survive.
He said that?
Well, I’m translating, but that’s the gist.
Well it’s what he said. Now shut the fuck up and eat some ice cream.
There’s no way he said that.
He was on the forefront of wisdom, what do you want me to say?
How about what he actually said?
But that is what he said.
I object! You expect me to believe this ill-conceived hearsay?
Why not? Everything is hearsay anyways. You wouldn’t even know how old you are if someone didn’t tell you. Everything can be true or false; it just matters if you believe it. You see, there’s a certain point in life when you realize that you’re not the judge. You don’t decide what happens, so you try to be the lawyer for a while, arguing about why it happens and all the time-consuming, convoluted questions that go along with that. But then you realize that you’re a crappy lawyer and are only confusing yourself, so you take another step back. Your real job is to be the jury, and decide what you want to believe. Because believing is the only choice we have, and the only decision worth giving a damn about. So don’t tell me you’re going to die, and don’t ask me why it will happen; just tell me what you’re going to do about it.