The greatest weight

 

I’m listening to the Intermezzo from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. You should listen to it yourself; there will be no reason for you to read the rest of this journal entry. I’m sitting here in a kind of swoon of nostalgia for my fetal Platonic wisdom. The passivity that suffuses my mind and permeates the air around me, the languorous summer air, the troubled passivity born from incipient spiritlessness. When I turn off the lights and lie down in a restless repose amidst the silence I feel it. I was thinking that the worst thought is knowledge of contingency, and the best is that life’s windings are necessary. The second is a comfort and a lie, the first a sorrow and a truth. What happens is contingent, and when you look back on your life at the end you can see only a string of what-ifs and whys, more a vacuum than a plenum, more a question than an exclamation, not death but not life. And you could look back and regret without end, pile regrets in heaps and stack them into a mountain on the summit of which you perch yourself, but that would be as foolish as asking yourself what it all meant and inventing a significance to tie it all in a bundle. Both are tempting, both are futile. Silence is the answer. When words fail you have silence to fall back on. Renunciation. When your ambitions crumble, as mine are in the process of doing, and you can’t ground yourself in anything, and you feel like you’ve lived a dream, you can take comfort in abandonment and sleep and, as your consciousness is becoming fluid and more fluid, the knowledge that this is what life is—this is what life is—and nothing can be done about it, and you’ve understood it by not understanding it, and there’s nowhere else to go. In a way that’s comforting. Renounce it all, if only for a moment.

NOTES OF AN UNDERGROUND HUMANIST

© 2014-2019 by Chris Wright