Earlier, I was flying high but now there is an emotional contortion running through my body. The worst part? It was triggered by a conversation on my Facebook wall. Yeah, I know. Gross.
It began shortly after I posted something I had seen written in the bathroom of a coffee shop that I had been to the day before. It said: “Make love to the mystery and the mystery will make love to you.” How cool is that? Right? Right?! POSTED!
Awwww yeeeeaaahhh! All is well and good in the neighborhood, ya’ll.
But wait! Here comes the first comment!
It says: “Nothing matters.” -bathroom stall, U.C. campus
My reply? “….way to harsh the mellow.” (Sad I know, but that’s the best I could come up with in the moment.)
This is were things get interesting.
Roommate replies: “Nothing matters is actually quite a liberating thought.”
Me: “I disagree. It’s a nihilistic thought.”
Roommate: “So there’s no liberation in nihilism? Is it strictly binding?”
Me: “I don’t know. You tell me. What I do know is that being nihilistic is a shitty way to live.”
Now I won’t go into detail about the flood of comments that followed because they aren’t important.
What’s important is this terrible physical response I’m having to this conversation. What the hell is this?!
The text that follows was my (minimally edited) stream of conciousness attempt to answer that question by deciphering my emotions and articulating my thoughts. Note: after reflecting on this, I realize that this is in no way a complete representation of my thoughts around the ideas. Some of it lacks a certain cohesion because I wasn’t writing this with the intention of sharing it. But I think you may find value in seeing my thought process unfold in real time. Finally, by the time I finished writing this I felt 90% better.
I’m a little saddened by the comment they’ve made and how I see Roommate living life. He’s rather helpless in many ways. He doesn’t work and he perpetually goes to school and lives off of student loans and his parent’s support. He’s got a drinking problem and wastes too much time on the internet. And I guess part of me resents him for this. I’ve been guilty of it too. My hands have blood on them as well. I’m not trying to paint myself as innocent here. I see in him what I don’t like in myself. It’s just so far removed from how I want to be living…
It’s a negative influence on me. BUT, what can I learn from this situation? I can learn about myself, because on this path I’m going to have people challenge my beliefs. They are going to challenge what I’m saying and the way I’m living my life.
Part of it is sadness. Part resentment. Maybe even a little anger… I’m lower on the ladder than I want to be. I’m going to go for a run in a few minutes here.
I’m also frustrated at myself. Simply because I’m not elegantly backing up my own beliefs and I have a hard time doing that. Which is why I’m here writing this… Practicing articulating my own experience.
So it’s really me that upset me.. Not these comments or the other people. There is something that I’m not facing up to. Something that I’m ignoring. So what then is it?
My inability to make clear arguments. Or rather my lack of a skillset to do so? My wish to have everyone agree with me and the way I think? My desire to help people that don’t want to help themselves?
Being challenged like that makes me upset. It’s something that I’d like very much to overcome. I want to be rock solid in my convictions. And I am. Intuitively I know I’m right…for what feels right and true for my own life… And even if I’m not right… Even if it’s not the ultimate truth.. the more immediate truth is the reality of my own experience. So does that idea improve my own life? Yes or no?
Being nihilistic doesn’t work for me. I’ve been there. I’ve resigned from engaging with life, to sit back and say “fuck it all. Nothing has meaning. What is the point in chasing meaning?” That to me a shitty way to live. That’s all I really need to know.
Getting bogged down in the philosophy of the cosmos only serves to remove ourselves from the reality of our own experience. That’s the point I’m trying to make.
We are meaning making machines. That’s what we do. And I see people creating meaning about things in their lives in ways that don’t serve them. It makes their lives miserable. I do this too. I’m guilty of this as well. We are the creators of our own life. Whether life has any instrinsic meaning or not isn’t the best question to be asking because it doesn’t have an answer. And even if it does, we’re going to drive ourselves into a frenzy by continually defining and arguing and contemplating.
We manufacture meaning. We make meaning. I don’t know about you but I want to make meaning that is going to enhance my life and empower me to create the life I want. We have the choice to be victims of circumstance or to take ownership of the way we respond to the world. Who cares if “nothing matters”. Even if nothing matters, I’m still choosing to enjoy myself in the truth of the experience that I continually find myself in and make the best with what I’m given. We are free falling through the mystery of life. None of us know the truth. If everything is an illusion, then I’m going to make my best effort to enjoy that illusion. And not in a hedonistic way. There’s a big difference.
I’m also becoming aware of the fact that because I’m in the process of changing my paradigms, from the old ones that are no longer serving me to ones that are more empowering, these paradigms are, at the moment, fragile… and this argument is shaking things around and I’m concerned that it’s going to break and that I’m going to fall back into the old way of seeing things; of being in the world. After all, this discussion is why my roommate and I get along in many ways. Because we live together and there’s a desire on my part to minimize friction, we have to share much of the same paradigms about life. I’m an adaptible person and when I turn away from guarding my conscious thoughts my inductive reasoning factor is not engaged and I’m therefore becoming deductive to thoughts that are not producing the results that I want.
But, as a good friend pointed out: “‘Nothing” does matter. If I run out of gas in my car and there is nothing in the tank, that matters to me.”