I'll admit that I'm drunk as I write this. I'm drunk. I have been getting drunk a lot lately because it seems like everything is going crazy anyway. I'm still working. I still have a job which I realize makes me luckier than most people these days, but I'm nearing the end of my 30s and still not working in the field I spent 4+ years studying in college - and am still paying off the student loans, which seems to me to be the only thing I really got out of those four+ years of work. I'm not lazy. I've hustled plenty so don't start off with the "you should stop drinking" Drinking is actually a new thing for me, but lately I wonder why I didn't start years ago. What is the alternative really? If we're lucky, or maybe unlucky, we live until we're about 70 and then get really sick and, since we're in America even if we have some health insurance we'll still bankrupt ourselves and our families in those last few painful months. If it even comes to that. I have already lost a few friends to various diseases and accidents and everything else. Married friends are getting divorces. Friends with kids are terrified every day. Single friends are either clinging to their pets or wantonly fucking everything they meet online (I used the word "everything" on purpose there.) Meanwhile I spent this evening with a good bottle of wine, then a cheap bottle of wine. I read a bunch of stuff and stayed home and watched yet another blizzard dump a foot of snow on nearly everything in my state. What difference does it make? What would I have done otherwise? Started a(nother) band? No thanks. Created a website? What seventy billion websites aren't already enough? Created a podcast? (see previous reason not to) Written a book? When the local mini-branch of my library is already choked with more books than I, or anyone, could read in seven lifetimes? What is the point of any of it? Better to sit quietly and enjoy the slide into oblivion isn't it? As long as I don't drive and accidentally kill someone. Even though it is a distinct possibility that sooner or later some drunk is going to run me over. Or if not, I get to die of some horrible disease as previously stated. It is all bullshit. I don't see much difference if I live another 40 years or 40 days, and I think most, if not all of mankind is pretty much the same - even if they don't think they are. The planet is a couple billion years old. What difference does on life make whether it is 10 days long or a 100 years long. We are all insignificant. You. Me. The president. Rock stars. JK Rowling and my dog. We have no real reason to be here. I think the fact that we, as a species, understands all this is the biggest cosmic joke of all. And the people who think we're somehow special because of this, that we're created by 'god' as some special thing haven't been paying attention. We're flukes. Consciousness is probably an evolutionary deadend and we're too full of ourselves to even realize it. And dolphins are probably smarter than we are anyway. All our big brains have done is caused us to delay death and give each individual member of mankind more time on the planet to fuck up the planet. All we're going to do is make it harder for us to survive, and sooner than most people think it is going to be impossible to keep seven billion people alive on this planet, and when we're gone, and I mean when all of us are gone, no one is going ot care. Even if there is intelligent life out there somewhere else, and I'm pretty sure there is, they're as fucked as we are. like amoebas on different continents, we'll never know the others are there anyway and we'll all just wink out like a candle that has run out of wax. It isn't a money thing either. I told you I'm working. I can pay my bills, I can continue to be a good citizen more or less, but I don't see any point in thinking any of it matters. All I can do now is laugh at what I see on the news. We're all absurd. All of us. fighting over bullshit when the real truth is that none of it matters. Not me. Not you. Not your website. Not my student loans. Walk by any cemetery and pick a stone at random. Who was he or she? Some nobody who lived for a while then died and no one except their kids and their spouse and their dog even noticed - and might not have even cared - until of course they died and then nobody cared. I read your website and people ask all these questions when really the only question is: What's the point and the answer is: There isn't one. The joke's on us all. -- Realist.
Dear Realist -
At least you found a way to fill your evening. Glad my inbox could be of service. Sometimes I enjoy a good, rambling screed as much as the next guy. Funny how those existential dilemmas really start to kick in after the second bottle of solo wine. I'll admit that somewhere in that long typing exercise you had a few decent points and inarguable facts. Our lives are barely visible dots on a vast timeline. Most of what people think is important here in this life really isn't and if we dwell too much on the enormity of the universe and the minuscule nature of humans, and even of the earth itself, well, it gets pretty hard to force yourself out of bed in the morning.
...but so what if you're right?
Most physicists will tell you that the atoms in our bodies were born in the center of ancient stars before they were blasted across the galaxy in explosions of a magnitude that we can't even begin to comprehend. Those atoms will be around for, probably, billions of years after us, in other configurations, some living, some inert... and so for just a brief part of their possibly endless journey they have coalesced to form you and me and everyone else. Even if there is no 'reason' for your existence or mine, the fact that we exist at all, for however short a time, is almost dumbfounding in it's improbability. You're right. It is random and arbitrary, but that doesn't make it any less inexplicable and magnificent.
You said yourself that we'll all be dead sooner or later and that is true, so why start practicing for the long dirt nap now? Instead of being paralyzed by the "pointlessness" of it all, why not be energized by the novelty of it instead? Your drunken 3am epiphany should have given you some real insight into the fact that, if "nothing matters" then you have nothing to lose by trying to actually do something with this particular life of yours. ... and by that I don't mean you need to go out and amass a fortune in business or learn how to sculpt marble or build a new Great Wall of China, unless of course that is what your particular muse is telling you to do. The most worthwhile thing you can do, and really in the end the only thing that might matter, even a little bit, is to try to connect with your fellow man on some level that might offer you both some hope and peace in these brief moments before time has its way with all of us.
Jim Carroll said it best:
"There ain't much time left, you're born out of this insane abyss and you're going to fall back into it, so while you're alive you might as well show your bare ass."
... Jim Carroll dropped dead at age 60 while sitting at his desk, writing.
Hope the hangover wasn't too bad. Good luck in finding some meaning. Be brave... what have you got to lose?