Wednesday, 2 April 2014


Miasma. Bad air. You can't see it, but you can feel it entering your body each time you step outside.

Being a teenager in the early years of the 21st century was a very special thing to experience, secondary school and university even more so. Now, as an adult, nothing can come close to those short and busy years. There's no freedom or fancy anymore, no love or spontaneity or imagination. Life ends as soon as you become a grown-up. Deep in our hearts, we all know that this is the one chance we get - this is it. And still, we're expected to live up to obligations, expectations and responsibilities. Our lives, our one and only lives, are not meant to be joyful or recognised. We live merely to sustain; to provide; to do what we have to do. We live because there is nothing else to do. Nothing is great. Nothing is good. It's all just ok. And we keep going.

Perhaps I'm not thinking straight:  there is nothing more morose and self-absorbed than a man in the grips of a month-long depression. But what wouldn't you do to escape this hideousness? And I don't mean your day job, your marriage, your illness. I mean it all, every atom and cloud that comprises what we coin life. Given another option, some different reality, some alternate form of existing, would you take it? If to exist could mean more than just to live, if you were allowed to choose, for example, at birth, what kind of existence you'd prefer, what reality you'd like to live in, what sentient or unsentient being you'd like to be, is this what you would choose? I can't outline specific scenarios - like you, my imagination has crumpled over time under the brunt of proof that this, Earth, the Universe, is the sum total of everything. But try to envision another universe. Space and time but not as you know it. A life completely unfamiliar to you, unsampled by anything that has existed in our reality up to this point. Imagine it - something different, something good - and wonder whether here and now is what you want or merely what you have to make do with.

There is, of course, no escape. However much you might want to disappear you are trapped in your body, trapped in this universe by physical logic and laws that prohibit magic.

This is the illness talking. I used to see sparks strike every time I opened my eyes. Efficient, structured, discernible - the machinery of our universe was once, in my mind, the most wondrous thing. But now, just five years after I turned 18, it fills me with dread, dread that life, famine, misery, suffering, cruelty, all of it, is inescapable and that life is merely a prison.




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