Some of us may think that life is a theater in which everyone plays only their part. For some of us that’s ok, cause we can appreciate the aesthetic of an artificial reality. Others may believe in a higher meaning of life, so that they are convinced there must be an almighty entity that created the universe and us. By no means, can live have come into being by accident. How dare anyone even doubt that. There have always been many believers and they were ready to use force to spread their conviction.
Nevertheless, there were brave doubters. The world is not flat! The cake is a lie! God is dead! Love is just chemistry! Our illusions were shattered. But we have already overcome that. At least, that’s what we believe.
We grew up in a world of infinite possibilities. An oversupply of hopes and dreams, utopias and dystopias. Anything can happen, and we are the authors of our own stories. There is no good or bad anymore. Just a way that may or may not reveal itself to us. We are free but: Which is the right way? Only you know the answer. Do you? The age of confusion is over. It’s the age of movement now. A time of great changes. Either good or bad. We came so far. Now we have to face our biggest challenge. What a time to be alive, isn’t it?
Isn’t it exciting? Artificial intelligence is no science fiction anymore. Skynet is finally real. The second industrial revolution is rolling. People are talking about the biggest change since mankind started to settle down. We’ve created an interconnected world where nobody has to suffer alone. Think about it. We are even allowed to talk about it in public. And you know I’m not talking about China. China isn’t that open about it’s suffering society. We are so much more enlightened, right?
But still, something feels odd. Somehow this positively motivated way of thinking feels strange to me. We always love to talk about things we like and what plans we make to change our life. It feels so good to talk about our ideas and motivations and the things we believe in. Talking to each other makes us feel connected. It’s how we build up relationships and relationships are vital for every human being. But: Do we always believe in something or do we sometimes find that life is just a theater whose aesthetic is not even worth a smile? Is that just a matter of attitude and how does it feel to think so?
To find that out, who do we talk to? Our family, our friends or our community? Are they listening to us or do we have to ask a god if it’s ok to believe in nothing? I have to ask myself: Is the meaningfulness of my life a prerequisite for communication with my fellow human beings? If that’s true, I have no choice but to believe in something. Woe to anyone, who does believe in nothing, if that is even possible. How can you even move a finger without a greater plan, right?
Oh, holy kow. I’ve spent most of my free time on a sofa or in bed and I’m pretty sure there was no greater purpose in that. Let’s leave my workingtime aside. That’s another story but I can say: For most of my life, I saw no meaning in it. Now the question may be: „Was it good or bad for me and is such an evaluative question also a question of faith?“ I could just say: Go away and let me watch my netflix-series.
Or if I was in the same mood like at the moment I wrote this essay, I would give you a long philosophical answer and that’s what I’m trying to do here. Will it be a satisfying one? Yes, at least the same kind of satisfying answer as the number 42 was, to the question of life, the universe and all the rest but certainly more exhausting to read, than just a two-digit number. So, why not answer every question with „42“ and move along?
I’ll tell you that but unfortunately or luckily -depends on my writing skills- it won’t be a short answer. First, I want you to realize why I talk so much about the bush, even though I’m aware that you already know the answer. We all know: Even if 42 was in fact the right answer to every question in the universe, we wouldn’t be very satisfied. And the reason that I tell you this, although it is already clear to you, is the same reason why people talk about the weather. When I say: „The weather is beautiful“, it’s not because I suspect you to be totally blind or ignorant to your surroundings. The reason is one of our most primitive needs. When I say something, it’s almost always an attempt to establish some kind of connection. Speech may be the most distanced way, but also the most common.
Like I said before: Building those connections is vital for every human being. Even I know that or maybe I should say: I know how it feels to be alone. For a year and a half now I’m living alone in an apartment for the first time of my life. I had many depressive episodes before, but this year it was very bad. So bad that I got an anxiety disorder. For the first time since I was twelve -at that age I saw Alien for the first time- I got scared in the dark and I couldn’t sleep without lights or TV on. And yeah I have friends but guess what: I’m still isolating myself like a sick rat cause I don’t want to poison them with my dark thoughts.
Before I started to write this down, I was lying in my living room, on the sofa -lights out, TV out- For a long time I was just staring into the darkness and thinking of nothing but how worthless my live is and which way was the cleanest and easiest, to end this unloved story. This wasn’t the first time I had suicidal thoughts but this time the plan was already made and I can tell you so much: It’s a small step out of that downward spiral but you have to find the right direction while spinning around without orientation. Positive actionism appears as the right direction, even though it triggers the pressure that brings you closer to the „point of no return“ What did I do to find my direction?
I did what everybody does, in the face of an unspeakable darkness: I closed my eyes. I looked away. I just took a break and I know that sounds cowardly but I don’t even want to think about how often that saved my life. So, instead of getting me a 9mm handgun on the black market in the darknet, as one-way ticket to a different kind of existence, I made myself something to eat and meanwhile, I filled my head with thoughts like: „Fuck you all. I do what I want. I’m ok the way I am and there is no need to change that. I don’t have to believe in anything. The only thing I really have to do, is to take care of myself“ I know that sounds selfish and although it was just a little distraction it worked. At least this time.
It reduced the pressure on my chest. It interrupted a dangerous, monopolizing and degenerative thought spiral and created space for positive, creative thoughts. After a short time, I took my first creative action for months and started to write down my thoughts. Of course, the impulse of this creative work was the preservation of affirmation and thus connection to other people. A short time ago, that impulse was blocked. Here we can finally look behind the scenes of my charade. I’d still lie on the sofa, maybe someday with a bullet in my had, if the only thing I could say to my self was „you have to do something, now“ even if that sentence is true. I would not have written a single line if I had only thought about the goal to reach people and thus fulfill a basic need, because it would have constantly reminded me of all the uncertainties that I associate with social contact.
Let me get to the point. The more I look straight at my actual goals with a sense of the big picture, the more I realize the consequences of failure. To cope with this, I play a big show. A look behind the scenes would reveal unspeakable things of unimaginable dimensions. So I don’t look directly at it. I use tricks to overcome my fears. I use excuses to achieve my actual goals. I am hiding my real intentions, cause they lead directly to the most vulnerable structures of my soul. There will always be some discrepancy between „knowing what I need“ and „doing something to get it“. My theory is that the extent of this discrepancy correlates with the severity of my depression.
What do I learn from that? Is there a conclusion? Does all that mean, it’s ok for me to close my eyes or run away from any challenge? Would it cure my depression if I found a meaning in life or is it the missing fulfillment of primitive needs that stands in the way of my healthy soul. Is there a bigger purpose in written words than in thoughts? Would this text be more meaningful if someone had actually read it or even liked it or would it just appeal to the reward centers in my brain for a short time? What should I believe? It’s probably just that I’m trying to feel better in my current situation although ultimately it’s just a matter of my perspective. If it’s that easy, why are so many people in our society suffering from depression? Drive is something, that can also drive you mad. Amen