Fading light

Everyday I stare down into an abyss that is my soul (supposing there even is such a thing as the soul).

Just a while ago, I was walking through mall and as I absorbed everything around me, I felt a sort of wonderment – the epitome of the consumerist society; people chatting in queues, ruffling through shirts with discount tags, picking the nicest looking bread, ordering over a counter, hurrying here and there with their phones held over their faces.

I logged on to Instagram just to see what was happening. As always, I wasn’t disappointed; picture after picture representing the idyllic lifestyles of people. It almost felt as if the pictures were competing against one another; who had the better showmanship and caption for it.

The pimply-faced teenager who laments his trivial worries and who laments them in a manner both blunt and inelegant is called, in our vernacular, an ’emo’ person. Whereas, writers across the century who flood their books with melancholia are called ‘poets’.

We all have the feeling that something ominous is about to happen. Younger brother has become very quiet recently. He has even lost interest in most of his usual entertainments. He hardly laughs or smiles or acknowledges people either. Only sometimes, he moves his eyes to direct us to something he wishes us to see. Nature is the most immoral of all.

With people, I am happy; but on my own, I am like Orpheus who wouldn’t stop playing his harp.

On most days, I don’t feel very much. Neither do I think very much. I am just being, being in the world.

Nothing inspires me anymore, nothing gives me true joy. In the future, I shall look back and think this was the time I lost all those things so necessary to a normal living. But what is a normal living? Even a queer is normal, because nature has endowed him with such careless, misshapen properties, and there is no way for him to be otherwise. He simply is such and such a person.

Being in this state makes me feel invincible. Nothing delights and nothing upsets; I am caught in the equilibrium, and nothing happens in the equilibrium. All there is are things to watch, things to hear, things to sense, but ultimately, no things to feel.

Can a human being survive without passions? I am slowly beginning to learn the answer.

Maybe, I’ll delete my Facebook as well; they are all such nuisances. The world just can’t keep quiet for a second – here’s something exciting, here’s something happening, here’s a video people doing something unusual, here’s a sad story and moral to bring home, here’s Donald talking ridiculous again, here’s a news report on an over-reported matter, here’s the new gadget that everyone should get, here’s a new way of building furniture for your home, here’s the new definition of ‘chic’, here’s how to earn money through indolence, here’s a new application that everyone wants, here’s  a list of books to improve yourself or to impress the literary denizens, here’s a discount code for items you don’t need, here’s a hilarious new trend that everyone is up and about, here’s someone you know participating in the trend, here’s a picture of someone’s success, of someone’s failure, of someone’s new life and old life, here’s a long reminiscence waiting to be liked by people who never really needed to see it, here’s the button you are supposed to click to find happiness.

How strange that reason is so dearly kept when it is reason that brings us hurt and banishes us into a state of perpetual disquiet. Had I not acquired this manner of thinking, I would not now be so miserable. Maybe it was better after all, that I had continued to study the principles of book-keeping. Then I’d  gladly let myself be fashioned into a well-shaped cog and introduced in the great system; and there, I will be told what happiness is and how I can acquire it, and I will never have to decide for myself what makes me happy. Oh, that is such a tiring business.

If you want the friendship of people, you must begin by treating them as friends, in the manner you wish them to treat you. On so many occasions, we forget the latter and demand the former. That is why sometimes we find ourselves alone on an island, wondering why the ship has left us there.

I roam the earth a listless slave; one languorous stride after another, this peregrination is chore. If there be God, it is surely the chaos that runs through all things.

There seems to be a satisfaction in melancholy. Not a joyful satisfaction, but an un-joyful one. For how can it be that melancholy and joy of the common man exist on the same plane? It is like asking Apollo and Dionysus to share the same temple.

I deliver myself constantly unto all means that are able to sufficiently distract the mind. Most of the time it works; but a little while after, when I emerge from the dome and clean the fog off my vision, I see that I have only accomplished nothing; and I start to feel all the more upset. The cycle is unceasing.

Sometimes I’d rather be a fly, have a fly family, forget my fly family, because to us flies, there are no such things as relations, and neither are we endowed with any semblance of reason to conceive of such relations; then I’d fly about the world alone, without a care, without memory of what has been or what is to come. Sometimes, just for fun, I would land on a human’s nose and as the large shadow looms, I leap away, and watch the human slap his own nose in annoyance. Then maybe sometime later, I won’t be too careful, and I’ll get picked off by a spider or a lizard. But if that doesn’t happen, maybe I’ll find a mating partner and soon after we’ll forget each other, and I’ll die without ever knowing what my life was about.

 

Bereft

Because I met someone, and all of a sudden, I was reminded of what it is that has been keeping me from true happiness. I think I’ve always known it, but only, I was too afraid to look at it, and see it in its barest form. All this time, all I needed was a warm, little touch; and it would have made everything so much better. Things would be better now. But alas, it eludes me; my happiness eludes me. I can barely recall what I said or heard or felt. It wasn’t a tremendous experience by any standard; just a fleeting one, but one that made all the difference; that potentially had the cure to this unyielding illness. I have nearly forgotten what it is like to be a real human being. I go around those daily chores, smiling and laughing whenever is appropriate, and I demonstrate to everyone the happiness that I deceive myself with. They think I am well, and that my smiling and laughing are borne of genuine emotions. I tell some of them that I am dead on the inside, and we laugh about it. But really, I am dead on the inside. I am kept alive only by a beating heart.

On melancholic writing

Just now, I had intended to write of the academic failings I have hitherto suffered. Then I remembered a friend telling me that in all my writings there always seem to pervade a melancholic air. “Emo” was the precise word he used; which is really just the colloquial equivalent of “melancholy”. And so just as I was about to transcribe my thoughts, to mourn the failings of my ambitious self, as so often and naturally I do, I paused. Have I unknowingly trapped myself in a mire of self-loathing? Such that each time I put in words the evils that debilitate my soul, they grow only more powerful. I have not purged them, but only defined them; given them a sturdier, more lasting form, upon which they may go about their malevolence with greater importunity. Reasonably, I ought to write more optimistically, to take gallant strides across the canvas than to drag a pair feet to which I have attached immense shackles. Ah, but is melancholy not the most charming of emotions? It captivates the heart in so different a manner from happiness, love, kindness, or any other tepid emotions. It is one of the greatest beauties in life, but also one of the most dangerous. 

Medicine for melancholy

The best medicine for my melancholy it seems is not the hearty advice of some genuinely concerned friends, nor is it a clamorous bout of laughter erupting from a tickled string, but simply to hear of another’s melancholy.

Just a while ago, I was feeling barren, soulless. I confided in a friend the unnatural stirrings in my heart, and coincidentally, he told me he has been feeling quite the same way recently. Of course, I went on first to ramble, babble about my woes, about the strangulating emptiness from which there seemed no escape; like being trapped at the pitch-black bottom of an ocean, drowning yet not dying. Later on, I inquired of his state of mind. He began sharing with me he too could not define the source of his sorrow. Perhaps it came from a girl, or perhaps his life in general. Then very suddenly, I emerged from the malicious murk. Here was another person who suffers an inexplicable melancholy as well. I am not alone in my struggles. And I hope you do not see this as schaudenfreude – it definitely isn’t. It is warmth of company that settles me; the assurance that I am sane.

When in sorrow’s eyrie

So it is for me that the pen often slumps insipidly in times of joy, while always rising up in a delighted prance in times of melancholy. It is as though despair has a way of coaxing words from the heart, which pleasure simply has not the time for.

I do not know whether to call this strange tendency a gift or a misfortune; for I do truly derive good pleasure in writing whilst nestled, high up and alone, in sorrow’s eyrie. Yet all at the same time, it would appear as if I were really saying: may new sufferings fall upon me, but my lips remain ever lyrical – that is, so that I may continue to coat my frightening anguish in poetic glamour. Anguish, in its raw form, will only depress even further.

Wallowing in self-pity thus becomes quite an addiction. It lifts you to above your daily panorama, and lets you see from up high all the warps and wefts of the web you stand unaware in. And it is only from that abstract place can one paint a clear picture of all that is life.