Monday, October 17, 2005

Eternal recurrence

As the Architect in the Wachowski brothers’ film would have concluded, it was an anomaly in an otherwise perfect equation. I woke up on a Saturday morning feeling shitty. And with a terrible migraine. Felt like a vice grip was about to crush my head from the back, behind the ears. Had a tense exchange with an ex-partner the previous night about something that I was supposed to have done a long time ago but still haven’t managed to accomplish. Thanks to my preoccupation with work, other people and a million other things. Quality time with my second daughter mercilessly cut short by a house rule that requires her to be in bed before 10 pm (even if she’s still wide awake, having nothing much to do the entire day except play and take naps). Especially when she’s spending time with her father.

Been worrying about and texting a dear friend who has suddenly turned melancholic and weary explaining to other friends why they shouldn’t despise me for my recent blunders. Worn out from putting up a brave front with all those terse, almost uninterested replies I’ve been getting from her the whole day. Was too tired and morose to have dinner. It was way past dinner time anyway. Had some energy left for one or two more text messages. But with no other responses forthcoming (she was probably exhausted from that day-long trip), I went to bed with an empty stomach and a waning will to go through another day. Talked to my oldest daughter in the morning and convinced her about going together to school to pay her tuition. An hour later, she told me she changed her mind and would not be coming along. Seemed then like there was no end in sight for this darkness that had befallen my existence.

In the afternoon, on a bus going home, these fictional dialogues between Nietzsche and Joseph Breuer from Irvin D. Yalom’s When Nietzsche Wept took hold of these thoughts. What if instead of an immortality in some supernatural future, this life, this moment that we're currently in has been happening and will continue to recur for all eternity. Every choice and action we have taken and not taken, every anxious thoughts, pain or suffering and joy or passion we have experienced, every life lived and not lived, repeating itself infinitely. You can let the “heaviness” of each decision or action and its consequences in this life drag you down like a dead weight around your neck. Or you can simply rise above it all and love life with an “unbearable lightness of being”, basking in the thought that this moment has been here before and would always be overflowing with possibilities for realizing your own liberation.

A great weight was lifted off my shoulders with that realization. The thought that I had willed this life and everything in it kept running through my mind like pictures on a roll of film and gave me comfort. Felt the whole day like a saturated sponge that was already dripping with all these anxieties, pain, sorrow, anger, hatred, confusion. Suddenly, after letting the idea of eternal recurrence possess my entire being, it felt like the sponge grew to infinite proportions. And all those feelings became mere drops in this eternal game of existence. A woman sat beside me, carrying a small pretty girl who kept on crying despite her mother’s soothing efforts. Impulsively, I touched the little girl’s hand and smiled at her. She hid her face for a while into her mother’s bosom. But she had this beautiful smile for me as soon as she emerged. She kept glancing towards my direction as her mother stood up and carried her away. Got off the bus later, ecstatic at having found a kindred spirit.


I no longer feel in common with you; the very cloud which I see beneath me, the blackness and heaviness at which I laugh – that is your thunder-cloud.
Ye look aloft when ye long for exaltation; and I look downward because I am exalted.
Who among you can at the same time laugh and be exalted?

* * *

Courageous, unconcerned, scornful, coercive – so wisdom wisheth us; she is a woman, and ever loveth only a warrior.

* * *

I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance.
And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity – through him all things fall.
Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!

Thus Spake Zarathustra
Friedrich Nietzsche

1 comment:

Cecile said...

My dear friend,

As much as I would want to comfort you, the distance that has befallen between us has left me confused and sad...

You are a friend I found and now I feel like I am losing you even before I have completely found you...I was just starting to get to know you again, now I am left with just a smile I put on everytime I remember the chats we had...a few short ones...

Now, I am so far away again...yet, I do not feel that way when I read your blogs...what disturbs me is why you have not written me...maybe it is not fair to ask, but I am just thinking about what you told me...that "now that I have found you that I will never lose you again..." this phrase rings in my head all the time...

I hope all is well with you...and, I wish you well...I do hope you know that you do have a friend in me...no matter what happens in this crazy world of ours, we can weather many things, and distance is just the least among them...

I leave you with the thought that I am always listening to the CD you gave me...I love it...thank you, my dear friend...please know that I will always be here for you if you need a friend...

Always,

~Cecile