April 15, 2008 by Allen George
“Why do you get up in the morning?”
“Because I’ve always done so”
“Don’t you get up because there’re things you want to do?”
“There’s stuff I have to do, stuff I could do – but no, I don’t get up for that”
Why did you get out of bed today? Me? – habit. There’s no deep will or desire driving me up and out – in fact, I have no great expectations of a day, no sense that it contributes to the larger sequence of my life. And if my well of days were to suddenly run dry it would be no great bother; in considering this possibility I…I feel nothing.
This is not morbidity. I am not preoccupied with thoughts of death or dying. But I am conscious of the purposelessness of life, its flatness and its emptiness. The thought of another x years like this fills me with dread, and I wonder how others can continue day-in, day-out, bearing this burden.
That we have chosen to bear it is the strangest thing of all. Why continue? Just to knock some items off an endless, self-imposed to-do list? To search for those events that afford us, at most, a transitory pleasure? To improve our present condition? And does any of this matter? No – you will die, and your memories, your experiences, the hopes you cherished, the goals you slaved for, they will die with you; you will be as if you never were. You now have been, as Schopenhauer says:
The most insignificant present has over the most significant past the advantage of actuality, which means that the former bears to the latter the relation of something to nothing.
It’s all the same to you in the end, so why bother.