The I in Ennui

It is my day off. I’m drinking unconscionably carbonated Topo Chico on my porch, with a jet black neighborhood kitty fighting my keyboard for a spot on my lap.  It’s in the mid-seventies and I’m in the shade. I put on real pants to grab a bagel from the spot down the street from my house with Kendrick disassembling Drake on the Aux.

This is not how I imagined happiness. If I’m lucky, I’m just about past the staples of my life. I had assumed there would be something more than this. Something more persistent and profound. Where’s the  mythical oasis rolling the red carpet and ushering you into a festival of fireworks and mouth stuff?

Today I understand a bit of philosophy I studied over twenty years ago. This asshole, Jean Paul Sartre describes a phenomena called the negatite: the origin of negation. For my three friends who all understand Sartre better than me, don’t @ me.  Be with me in spirit as I water down this concentrate. To be a person, is to experience the world as a special kind of being. One whose very existence is an issue for it. Stuff is designated as in-itself. Human consciousness is a for-itself. And we demonstrate this through negation. Don’t swipe yet. We’re almost there. Essentially, to be human is to project our desires onto the world. We experience the world as incomplete because we desire something more. But the world is solid through and through. It lacks nothing. We create the holes in the universe. It is our unfulfilled desires which create nothingness.

And this tiny afternoon, I felt the lack subside. The life I hoped for is gone, but the world remains the same. It is us that lacks, not the universe. We are entitled to nothing. The world does not owe us a dream. It doesn’t care about your self-fulfillment, your art, or your happiness.

Today I choose to shut up and enjoy a lovely day, a bunting kitty, and a schmear thick enough for the FBI to identify dental records after a good chomp. Maybe this is all there is. And maybe that’s enough. 

Goddamn it. I was going to end it there, but then something annoying dawned on me. It’s not enough. I’ve been advocating for renunciation. Give up your dreams, and hopes. Renounce your desires and you can be happy. But that’s not quite right. That’s bad faith. That’s treating yourself like stuff. It’s ignoring the part of you that is supposed to dream, to reach for something more than what is. We must project the lack. The TL:DR of Sartre is shut up or kill yourself. Ultimately, you are subjected to radical freedom. It’s a burden. It’s not always a righteous guitar solo. We hide from it. It’s too unwieldy.  Fucking hell. Fine. I get it. I still need to dream. We can’t shake the feeling of being perpetually unfulfilled. Good game, Sartre. Perpetual discomfort. Copy. Incessant wrestling with our nature and purpose. Got it. This shit is exhausting.

No comments :

Post a Comment