Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things Fall Apart

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.

- WB Yeats, The Second Coming

* * *

Desperation, no matter how dire your circumstance, always yields the same result: failure. You know you're fucked when you recognize the stale, sulfurous whiff of desperation clinging to your thoughts and actions. The desperate are as weak swimmers in the rip tide of their own mind and flail against the current which only hurries their drowning.

To be desperate is to lose control of the one thing you have control over: your thoughts.

It is a tic of the desperate to imagine that life cannot exist on the other side of their troubles, cannot imagine ever getting to the other side. The world contracts to the small, tarry spit of their despair. Their center does not hold and their life falls apart.

Having been so in my life, I will not be so again. I suggest the same for you.

The only way to recover from this dissolution is to rebuild your life a piece at a time through the way you think about your life, and Life in general. It is quite possible that whatever rough beast is slouching your way will consume you, will destroy your plans, harm those you love - and there is no avoiding it or pandering to it to be gentle with you. But remember this one thing: you created that beast, that despair, that dissolution. Even in the most unjust circumstance, where you are blameless in the fucking you are getting you own that beast if you allow it to own you.

Natan Sharansky, in his book Fear No Evil, described the moment he DECIDED to survive the brutalization of the Soviet gulags. He chose to keep control over the one thing the KGB could not get to: his own sense of self. No matter how many strip searches, cavity searches, threats against his wife, misinformation and psychological games to break him he realized that only he could humiliate himself, that the humiliating and brutalizing circumstances he lived in for eight years were outside of his control and he would not yield his selfhood to those circumstances.

And yes, he created that beast by agitating and protesting against his government. Had he shut up he'd have been left alone. Actions have consequences, and doing nothing has the worst outcome of all: despair.

* * *

What is unjust, unfair and senseless is the crucible of living. The question before each of us is: now what?

I believe in the power of life over death;
I believe love is our saving grace;
I believe we are free to choose our fate;
I believe the only sin is to give up.

My advice to you is to live unbruised, live unconquered no matter the beating you may take. In the long run, and only in the long run, will your life find its meaning, will the purpose in your suffering have the gift of meaning.


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