Under the sun

The sun, when at its highest, has this deeply misleading effect of having us believe that there are no shadows in the world, or even more than that, that no shadow is even possible. In a perfect world there is no shadow nor is it possible to have shadows, but our world is far from perfect and therefore is full of shadows. Some more extreme oriental philosophies would say that it consists of nothing but shadows. This is certainly not the case, because we have the sun. Nevertheless, to forget that shadows are part of our world is unfair.

But why think of shadows when the sun shines and the birds are singing? Probably the best ability human beings have is that of living exclusively in the present. Sure, now and then we dig into our memories and take short walks into our past. Equally rare as those walks into the past are our short projections into the future. But most of the time we are creatures of the present. It’s ike we don’t care about passing time, each of us living in his own eternity, like having a private island in time. Happily, in time you don’t have to be rich in order to have an island, as it is the case in space. What is even more remarkable about our ability to live in the present is that the present we live in is not a real present, but an idealized one in which the best of our past and our hopes for the future coexist.

There is, however, a class of people we usually call pessimists. After attaching this label, we discard them easily as anomalies. But pessimists are those of us who have lost the ability to live under the ever-shining sun. Their islands in time have been shattered. This may be because their lives have been hell or because they are born with a distrustful eye that sees the shining sun as the ephemeral thing that it is. The ultimate reality, for this eye, is not the shining sun, but death. The pessimist spends his life staring at death and death stares back at him every second of his life. Emil Cioran is probably the best representative of this kind of built-in pessimism which is  further qualified as nihilism.

Be that as it may, built-in or taken from life, pessimism is nevertheless the more brave and more lucid way of seeing, because it is not tricked by the shining sun into believing that there are no shadows in the world or, or even worse than that, that no shadows are possible.  For the lucid eye of the pessimist, instead of joyful rays of light, the sun radiates nothing but shadows.

Time and the meaning of life

Our life is made of time. Unfortunately for us, time is fleeting. Unlike our life, time can flow as long as there is a Universe. But even if our live would last as long as the Universe itself, it would still be short, because we are satisfied only by the infinite.

Now, leaving aside the fact that life is so short, there is something in the way we live our life that makes it even more pitiful. We spend our life in a perpetual waiting for…something else. There are, of course, islands in time in which we are fully content, moments that we would like to last forever. Moments like being in love in Paris or, for that matter, in any other place on Earth. Or having a vacation in an exotic destination. But these are

Read More but short stops in which we catch our breath and start running again. Life, as it is, is but perpetual motion towards an unknown and unknowable destination. We die as unfinished projects and this is what makes every death so tragic. In the whole history there was nobody who  got there. May it be with life also as it is with any other thing? The meaning of a thing is always outside the thing itself. The meaning of a knife is in it’s ability to cut bread or human flesh. Thus, the meaning of a knife is not in the knife, but in something outside it. Logic would have us believe that the meaning of life is not in anything in life, but can we even imagine anything outside life? The meaning of life would be life itself only if life would  be eternal, but since life is limited in time, it cannot be so. It looks like time is the enemy of the meaning of life, not time itself but fleeting time which makes life fleeting.

And most of the time it is we who are the greatest enemies of the meaning of our  lives. When we live for the next second and neglect the present one, we contribute in making our lives shorter than they already are. In doing this we take the end and bring it into our lives before is actually ending time. But we are beings who feed on hope and hope is always something pertaining to the future. To make our lives meaningful, that is, to make peace with time, we would have to give up hope. But without hope, what is life? It is now clear that we are dealing with a paradox. To live is to hope, but to hope is to jump out of life. So it is life who is pregnant with it’s own meaningless. Or is it just a signal to a meaning beyond? Beyond what? The end.