unbeing dead isn’t being alive – e.e cummings
Wikipedia (my high-school teachers will CRINGE at the thought of me using this site as a reference!) defines Existentialism as; “a term applied to a school to a school of 19th and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject – not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. In existentialism, the individual’s starting point is characterised by what has been called the ‘existential attitude,’ or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.”
I have sometimes thrown out the term, “I am having an existentialist crisis!” without ever actually having researched the meaning so decided to do so to try and fathom out why in the world I am starting a blog! I think I have quite literally decided to do this to have a place to sort out all the thoughts that flit across my tumultuous mind on a daily basis. Let’s just say that I am indeed experiencing a “sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.”
I could ramble on for days on why this is so. Why do we all spend 35% of our days at jobs that most of us hate, to spend money on homes that we barely spend time in? Why do we work to pay an au pair thousands of Rands instead of looking after our own children? Why do sit in traffic for two hours a day, wasting time when there is technology out there which means we should be able to work from wherever we please? Why is it expected of human beings to be monogamous? Why do we feel the need to have better clothes/jewellery/beauty products/cars/homes etc when we for a fact that there are starving people out there? Why do we pay gym membership fees but then take the lift up and down buildings? Why? Why? Why? These questions sound so incessant and common to me that I have now typed them down. Although I am quite sure they are questions with which many of us struggle.
The reason I have called this blog “A Contradictory Life” is because that is exactly what my life is like (or so I believe). I studied a degree towards a very corporate career – I would love to wander around the world with a backpack helping people and exploring. The corporate ladder-climbing world does not apply to me at all. Maybe by being in this field I can help change the perception of it? I was raised a Christian and do believe in God – I have so many arguments that the religion should be adaptable to modern life. Maybe I am more spiritual? Can I not just incorporate aspects of all different kinds of religion that I agree with into my life? Is that not hypocritical? I claim not to be materialistic – In reality who isn’t? I love watching mindless TV sometimes – My love for reading and education is a part of me, always has been. “Quiet Person. Loud Mind”. This last one sums me up the best. I am an observer. A thinker. A questioner. I struggle sleeping most nights as my mind will not shut up! I often wish I had a “power off” button. But I am also so grateful for my active mind. It makes for interesting company 😉
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “What we agree with leaves us inactive, but contradiction makes us productive.”
I have had quite a few difficult years behind me but this blog is not about moping about them or rehashing past anguish. This blog is about becoming a better person. A person with purpose. A person with a passion. A person who resonates love. A person who understands herself. A person with faith. Faith in life – Faith in the fact that there must be a reason as to why I am here. I will find my niche and contribute with all that I am to humanity. That is one thing about me once I enjoy something I will put my ALL into it. I am dedicated and an extremely hard worker when I see a point (and have an interest) in what I am doing.
I have decided that 2012 will be MY year. And all the ones to follow.
I have also realised there is no faery out there who is going to come and whisk me away to a magical land. A world where everyone is happy, there is no poverty, no sadness, no strife, no harm, no confusion… It is up to me to make the best of what I have.
Soren Kierkegaard, widely regarded as the father of existentialism, maintained that “the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation or boredom.”
By just existing I am not alive. And being alive is the greatest privilege of all. Do not slap life in the face, it will slap you back – and harder.