I was reading Thich Nhat Hanh this morning because Christianity never worked for me and I can’t grasp the essence of Hinduism.

I was reading his exposition of the four noble truths and the eightfold path. I was reading him because the positive existentialism of Viktor Frankl only gave me a momentary catharsis and nihilism is something I so desperately want to escape from.

So, the four noble truths involve acknowledging your suffering; delving deeper into the cause of your suffering; knowing there’s a path to eliminating your suffering and transforming it into joy using the eightfold path.

I seem to go up to stage three and regress each time I try. I guess there’s a beauty in being fucking miserable because happiness is an overrated clichéd product in this society of greed, hate, and materialism.

I mean look around you. Everything is transient, and purpose is ephemeral. And don’t give me a lecture about absolute and relative truth when all we do is breathe, eat, drink, smoke, work, fuck, shit and die. Maybe I sound like an adult Holden Caulfield, but I stopped giving a damn a while ago.

My friends, there are no Edenesque getaways with trees of life or whatever and even if you were to find one, you’ll find a Cherub with a flaming sword embodying the wrath of Yahweh guarding it.

So here you are, stuck in a Kafkaesque, surreal actuality which actualizes the clichéd, The truth is stranger than fiction, idiom. Here you are where everyone turns on you, or you turn on everyone else.

I could write pages and pages about the women I’ve slept with, giving them an allure; making them my muses or whatever using sonnets (both Petrarchan and Shakespearean) but there will never come a time for those recollections or sensual fabrications of memory.

I’ve measured out my life in coffee spoons, and yeah, I’m a postmodern Prufrock, riddled with angst, sexual tension and never finding solace in anything.

So, I guess I’m just going to write about cigarettes since I’m the fatalist who’s an insipid Bukowski, selling his rhymes for free; addicted to his misery and wallowing in his self-pity and depravity.

I’m smoking 555’s by the way. Don’t you just love smoking? I mean, the rush, the release and the satisfaction are often better than sex.

So, here’s to a life without meaning and one with cancer. Can I get an Amen?

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

You’ll find more of Nitin’s work at Fighting the dying light

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Nihilism works well for me because, unlike any religious ideologies, it doesn’t need exceptions to the rule to function. The core supposition of nihilism holds up irrespective of condition or operator. Everything else is built upon exceptions while preaching rules. But hey… maybe I’m just too cynical for my own good…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nitin says:

      I agree to an extent being a bit of a nihilist myself. But I do have a question. How do you move forward when you’re absorbed the nihilistic core that says life is meaningless or Dieu Est Mort? Do you say, yes life is meaningless but I carry on nonetheless? Or do you believe in a transient purpose or meaning that shifts by the hour? Thank you so much for reading and your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think that purpose is a subjective issue…even for those who subscribe to something religious in nature. I don’t think life has meaning, but I still want to be comfortable, or at least, minimize undue misery. I don’t look at anything I do and think, “This will change the world”, but rather, I accept that what I do is pointless, it will expire and be forgotten. But I don’t do what I do because I think it has meaning or purpose in a macrocosmic sort of way. I do what I do because I find a personal sense of purpose in it – it’s something I find compelling and/or interesting…or maybe just a fantastic way to push through boredom.
        I tend to see life as “Things we do to kill time until we die” but I neither see it as a cause for resignation (i.e., why do anything since it’s pointless) nor do I subscribe to the “since time is limited, better make the most of it” mantra. I just have certain objectives for myself and I don’t care what they mean outside of my brain…they’re just things I want to do, so I’m going to do them.
        I think the main difference between nihilism and not-nihilism is that with nihilism you can admit that “I’m doing this because it’s what I want to do”. Religious ideologies tend to hold to the notion that “I’m doing this because there’s this greater meaning/plan to life and this powerful entity…things…reasons…etc…” but at the end of the day I think most religious people are using self-determined, subjective elements of personally chosen “purpose” first, and then connecting it to religion second. Most people are just trying to do what they think makes sense, kills boredom, reduces personal misery, gives them a sense of satisfaction (however fleeting). Whether or not you then punctuate those efforts with “because god and heaven and rainbows and teddy bears” or with “because it’s what drives me through the strange and chaotic road in this vacuous abyss to nowhere” is, in my opinion, quite pointless.
        Put simply: I think we all have hurdles that we, for whatever reason, enjoy jumping over. Meaning is more about figuring out which ones they are and less about why.
        At least…that’s how I see it…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Nitin says:

        Thank you for such an introspective comment. I truly appreciate it. Soldier on and make meaning for yourself (however transient) each moment to beat boredom and despondency is what I take from it. I’m torn a little sometimes between absolute purpose and an ephemeral helping go with the flow one. I guess it’s my Calvinistic background kicking in. I think a lot of people make the subjective objective and try imposing that on others. I’ve done it myself in the past during bouts of religiosity. The hurdle analogy is a terrific one. I think one aspect of Camus’ absurdism is in line with your personal way of looking at things though I’m not sure. Viktor Frankl advocates tragic optimism but I’m terrified of being optimistic. I’m scared a rush of mania will overwhelm me and then all I’ll see will be dried leaves and I’ll break again. But I can’t help but wonder that if a concentration camp survivor advocates something like that, I can definitely do better than what I am now.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I personally identify as being “pessimistically optimistic”…which I think sounds both absurd and oxymoronic. But it makes sense to me because I see everything as “guaranteed to fail” but I also see failure as the ultimate form of data, and from data we get knowledge so we can do it better or different. This, of course, is guaranteed to fail. It’s a perpetual cycle, but I like that. Then again, I get joy in chasing numbers, so it appeals to that part of my perspective. I’ve never been a real optimist. A “everything will be okay”, “let’s just think positive”, “try to see the silver lining” type of person. That kind of thinking confuses me…I don’t know how anyone does that. It sounds insane…

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Nitin says:

        I don’t think anyone does that. That’s idealism and it destroys people. They end up harbouring hate and bitterness when things go wrong but try to stay ‘positive’ though they’re failing miserably at it. I like the oxymoronic pessimistically optimistic. It definitely helps you learn from your mistakes and make that slow excruciating change without being hard on yourself. Yeah I think I’ll stick with that myself. I enjoyed this conversation. I took something negatively positive from it lol. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Nitin says:

      Haha. I love that response.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Copper Cranes and commented:
    Dear Holden, this is a must read for everyone, especially those that don’t get it, offering a tiresome, “move on, forget about it, just be happy”. Your words are powerful and resonate with me. I’m moved by the way you’re able to give voice to the “Rambling”; I equate this to a solo and unforgiving thought process which generates a brutal cycle of self-questioning, self-defeat and much more. No one and I mean no one signs up for this. For those that think this is a narcissistic gloat, you are sorely mistaken. Let’s face it we can never walk in the shoes of someone else, maybe it’s best we walk softly.

    By the way, I really enjoyed the satire!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nitin says:

      Dear Mia,

      You’ve interpreted the piece so accurately. No this isn’t a narcissistic gloat. Some people might mistake it for that. But it’s actually satire stemming from deep depression and a will that only gives up. Yes, we can never walk in someone else’s shoes and that something the prophets (religious or secular) of this age must understand. They might never get it, but we’ll try, and move forward and leave them behind if necessary. Thank you so much for the support and the reblog. I truly appreciate it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dalo 2013 says:

        Your writing and Mia’s response makes this piece complete. The world is full of contradictions, the impossibility of truly understanding lives of others. Life, therefore, is cold and painful; the exact ingredients to find the beauty of life.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nitin says:

        Yes there is beauty in the raw reality of life. It’s there, but sometimes hard to find. Thank you for such an insightful comment.


      3. You’re very welcome, Nitin.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Nitin says:

      Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

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