Every morning when I first open my eyes, the first thing that goes through my mind is sadness. I’m sad that I didn’t somehow die in my sleep and that this nightmare isn’t over yet. I’m sad that I have to spend one more day observing this world and its atrocities.
A long time ago, I wrote a short story in which people from an alternate dimension were sentenced to live on Earth as punishment for their crimes. Instead of going to jail, they simply had to live regular lives on Earth. Say you killed someone in that alternate dimension, you have to live 20 lives on Earth or something.
It’s not that I want to die, far from it (I certainly don’t), it’s just that I sometimes wonder if there’s a point going on. The world sucked 1,000 years ago, it sucks today and chances are it will suck in 1,000 years. If I were to sum up history in one word, it would be this one: abuse. As soon as humans got the capacity to hurt each other, they started doing it. People got abused a thousand year ago and they’ll still get abused a thousand year from now.
I live a pretty comfortable live. I have pretty much everything I could ask for and I have ample freedom to do as I please. Nobody beats me and I have plenty to satisfy my needs. Yet, I always felt kind of trapped. There’s a book I was forced to read some time ago, L’avalée des avallées by Réjean Ducharme, which begins with something like “everything chokes me out.” I think this sentence (roughly translated) from the book sums it up best:
“Everything swallows me. I am swallowed by the river that is too large, by the sky that is too high, by the flowers that are too fragile, by the butterflies that are too timid, by the face of my mother that is too pretty.”
There’s also one part that always struck me, and it’s the last part of this sentence which sums up the book:
“Bérénice has to face the suffering her parents imposed on her, the cruelty of others, the lies of adult and at last the violence she generates herself.”
Isn’t it the ultimate irony that, when faced with evil, you turn evil yourself? Somehow, I always felt this part of the book hit me of the most. A common dilemma in philosophy is whether people are fundamentally good or bad. They’re neither. They’re born neutral and then they are turned evil. I fail to see how anybody could remain good when looking at this disgusting pile of shit that is our world.
There’s a lady in this novel that I will always remember. She meets the main character somewhere around the middle of the book. She’s wearing a swimsuit and she explains to Bérénice that she plans to cross the Atlantic Ocean by swimming. Bérénice replies that this is impossible and that she’ll never make it – that she will get exhausted and then drown. The lady simply replies that she’s surely right, then goes to swim. Bérénice then observes that this lady is her hero.
There’s nothing good in this world. Never has been, never will be. You’re born, you suffer and then you die. It’s like people take a morbid pleasure to torment others. I supposed that’s the only thing left to do when you realize your existence has no meaning. People to act like there’s a point in all this, but there isn’t. Nothing you do will ever matter anyway. I think most people continue living because they are too scared of death. In a way, they are sentenced to life.
Truth be told, I dream of writing a book that is even half as good as The Swallower Swallowed. Maybe one day.