Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life sucks, and then you die. (inspired by a true story)

The title of this here post, someone said this to me the other night. I followed up with:

How do you mean?

Reply: You know, life is shitty.

Now, I could offer you the comment's context, I could recap the conversation or explore why the speaker thought it appropriate and useful, but who cares? I want to celebrate this bit of ontology: life is shitty.

Shitty, eh? Potential matching words: a) unpleasant, b) worthless, (or if taken literally) c) covered in shit. Now, any schmuck can make an example-based argument to support any of these "shitty" synonyms. Let's take a look.

We'll get c) out of the way first. Sure, shit is everywhere.

a) Let us celebrate unpleasant for a moment. Experiencing an unpleasant feeling is — I do declare —wholly subjective. What could be universally unpleasant? It's always dependent. This is great news; it gives some things to talk about: Oh, you didn't like that? I liked it, what didn't you like? Comparing experiences is the basis of social interaction, right?

Additionally, even if you were foolish enough to want to, you couldn't have pleasant without unpleasant. You need the contrast. By saying, "this is pleasant" you're positing that something else exists — the unpleasant.

b) How about worthless? We're basically looking at the same situation we had with unpleasant. If we say something has no value, you're still operating in terms of value. (sidebar: I'm not making any claims about capital T truth. My intent is to maybe alleviate a little anxiety about anxiety.) If everything in this life had no worth, no use... and this life is the only thing we know, well, then the whole idea of value and use is void. Again, inherently subjective, where would arguing get us?

So, it's not that life is inherently unpleasant, worthless, shitty. It's that we physically and emotionally experience these things. I believe anguish is the word for it.

If this is the deal: anguish is an essential part of life, then there's little reason to fret (embrace that agony! You're living.). Create a purpose (who cares, anything will do, all you have to do is buy into it) and, as J.R. Boyd might say, you really have to start fucking shit up in your own way.

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