Being whipped in the head by something that isn’t physically there, and being hit over and over again until throbbing emerges: that’s what I’d call an existential crisis. Or maybe the right word is boredom.
Thinking back to the time when I did study solipsism and phenomenology and all that other stuff, it’s come to my attention that knowledge of anything doesn’t really lead to a more satisfying ends. Life is arbitrary and you can’t measure your existence based on whatever is in the books. You’ll be given news that’ll shatter your heart. You’ll hear things that change the way you see life.
Why am I picking on knowledge? Because it’s what compels us to know anything or do anything. You certainly couldn’t have woken up today without the knowledge of the waking world. Perhaps it adds to the question of whether or not waking is an inherent thing. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But if the dream world was all you knew, then I envy you.
In this day of one up-manship, knowledge leaves you wanting more to feel better about yourself in comparison to a peer (or the guy or girl you hate really). You have to know this or that in order to feel competent. Growing up never sounded so cool. But I’m only half kidding.
Call this a philosophical jibe, a throwaway, a stream of consciousness, but let me be more specific. I’ve tried to learn as much as I can in order to amuse myself and convince myself that it’s worth noting. If anyone has the knowledge to defeat the absurdity, the angst and tension of life, let me know.
“The dynamic mind knows no bounds!”
The truth is I’m okay with scratching at the surface of a boundary. It reminds me that I need to go from my comfortable state and explore a scary dark territory, I.E. being a grown up. It also tests me to work within a framework. Except that’s something a labrat would say. It’s summer all I want to be as free as a Sunday lunch for children at the Greenstreet buffet.
As a sidenote, boundaries. Boundaries are interesting. They could be as simple as the minimum word count on an English paper. There’s an incentive to go over a limit in any given paper for brownie points and to squander the other 29 competitive students in your class, but sometimes writing the 1500 word minimum could test one to find the answer without rambling on to 3000 words. Hell, a thousand word limit to this blog could be condensed to 500 – but setting a goal is sometimes healthy.
Which leads to the next point. What is the goal in defeating boredom? Is it to exceed your state of being? Is it to break even with the negative feelings that one is feeling? Is there one static point of defeating boredom or are there a dynamic set of options to beating it. One thing’s for sure, there are many different results.
Sometimes it leads to arrested development: for example, skateboarding; no matter how hard I try to learn all that technical, flippy, insane stuff that kids do nowadays, I can only manage with the basic tricks.
Some times I am led by my own motivation into a false sense of accomplishment. I’ll film a video (without any screenplay or words to help) thinking that it will be an artistic achievement that’ll make Kubrick rise from his grave to want to shake my hand for finally succeeding him. But in all honestly, a two minute film about me brushing my teeth, reading a book, lounging around, and eventually staring out of a window is a harrowing look into the reality of my mundane life.
Some times I read a book that is interesting at first, but I am stunted by the fact that the novel takes place more inside the protagonist’s mind as opposed to the external setting that he encompasses.
No matter the amount of literature, film, music, and image that gets me through the day, it all becomes dust the moment something, or rather nothing, is there to pester me. The knowledge of voracious reading and participation is zilch. Sometimes, most of the time, it’s always there to bother me despite my attempts to find peace within myself. Maybe that’s the goal. Find peace in one self.
“Just have fun” most will say. “Have fun and it becomes less about growing and advancing and more about being in the moment to feel the air hit your face, or the idea touch your brain.” Sure, this would work if it weren’t for all the adult responsibilities that are breathing down my neck. Hence, the purity of time – the most perfect gift that you could give to yourself or anyone that you love. I need the time to have fun first.
These activities, might I add, supersede the idea of bad faith: the fact that I practice good faith in trying to do as much as I can with as little time given is my little morsel of trying to find humanity – what Truffaut would probably label as defeating boredom.
More specifically, observe the following.
In response to his wife, Christine Darbon, being bored, Antoine Doinel responds:
“What do you mean, bored?” he says with disbelief. ”I don’t know what boredom is. . .There is always something do do. I can cut the pages of a book, or do a crossword puzzle, or make notes. I wish each day had 30 hours. I’m never bored. I can’t wait until I’m old so I’ll only need five hours sleep!’”
– Antoine Doinel (Canby)
Perhaps the reason of doing anything is to combat boredom and find humanity. Maybe because I’m a bloody writer, it’s an attempt to forget that I’ll never find glory in a postmodern society that emphasizes meritocracy. Of course, many others would disagree and say meritocracy doesn’t exist, but to an existentialist that doesn’t mean shit. Ideally, the self is above institution . . . but it is never above the reality of the institution. You’re still going to get the boot to the head. Everyone at one point of their life will be subject to crunching numbers, tapping keys, and having unimportant conversations.
To be honest, what does this even all mean?