In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of “world history” – yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.
One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no further mission that would lead beyond human life. It is human, rather, and only its owner and producer gives it such importance, as if the world pivoted around it.
— Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense”
Someone made me think of something that happened in an Entourage episode I’d seen and I ended up watching like the entire show. Which is the lowest of the low, but it made me realize I’m rather disinclined to fill this time with things that are meaningful. I almost want to fill them with the most meaningless thing possible because to fill them with something meaningful implies a future of some kind.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
My birth. I agree with Sophocles: the greatest luck is not to have been born - but, as the joke goes on, very few people succeed in it.
“Not to be born is, beyond all estimation, best; but when a man has seen the light of day, this is next best by far, that with utmost speed he should go back from where he came.”
— Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus
“For two and a half years, Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel disagreed. These say: It would have been preferable had man not been created than to have been created. And those said: It is preferable for man to have been created than had he not been created. Ultimately, they were counted and concluded: It would have been preferable had man not been created than to have been created.”
— Babylonian Talmud, Eruvin 13b
Sometime in this past year, I just stopped caring, and now I can’t quite remember how you trick yourself into starting again. You lure yourself into any major undertaking—a vocation, a marriage, life—with certain hubristic delusions: I will be rich and famous. We will be happy forever. This all means something. And once you’re disabused of those, you need to find truer, more enduring motives to go on. If you can.