Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Why is it so terrible and why it is still important to go on?

   To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, 

   Creeps in this petty pace from day to day 

   To the last syllable of recorded time, 

   And all our yesterdays have lighted fools 

   The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! 
   Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player 
   That struts and frets his hour upon the stage 
   And then is heard no more: it is a tale 
   Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
   Signifying nothing.

I so happened to read this piece of poetry from Macbeth, Shakespeare. Before I blabber on with whats in my mind, I should explain what this means to you. I know its a bit straight forward piece of poetry on setting the scales with Shakespeare's entire work. But still...

Each day creeps after another in some trivial way (life is meaningless) and time in all its details, is being noted down, ready for Judgement Day. Our past has done nothing but show fools the way to death. Life is a brief candle. Life has no importance, since it is a shadow.

Life makes no impression, just like the inadequate actor who spends but a short time on stage and then disappears, making no impact. Life is but transient. It is only a story told by a fool, full of sounds and fury but means nothing. 

Basically the soliloquy is well-known for its despondence at life. At this point of time, in the novel, it matters not to Macbeth whether he lives or not. "Life is meaningless" will be the shortest translation of this soliloquy. 

Now I have a question to you all.. is it just me or every one conscious about this? Speaking for myself, I got this clarity at around 18 and it becomes increasingly more evident as you  get older. 

When I was younger than what I am now, I had a feeling that how important everything is and how things have to go right - your job, your career, your choices and all that. And then after a while, you start to realize that, its just can't be perfect... its Ok to make mistakes its Ok to go wrong and (- taking the big picture here -) eventually we die!.. Eventually the sun burns out and the earth is gone ..all the stars and all the planets in the universe goes away - disappears and nothing is left at all!.. no Mozart .. no Shakespeare.. no Sujatha.. no Nolan.. No Allen.. no Kamal.. no jam.. No wars.. no peace.. no economy..Its just an empty space.

And when you start to think about it, the words of Shakespeare - makes absolute sense - 

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 

   Signifying nothing.

Its just going down! 

When you think about it, its just happening over and over again! - Every hundred years, the people on earth is flushed down and earth is left with a whole new set of people - all the Indians, Americans, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, the rulers, every person who is making our lives miserable and happy - are replaced - in the next hundred years. But every set, goes through the same worry, anxiousness and rage!

So it seem like a big meaningless thing.

But, you can't actually live your life like that. Can you? Because if you do, you just sit there and wait for your death. Why do anything, why get up in the morning and do anything? Finally it comes down to this question - why live and whats the meaning of existence? 

It differs for every individual. For those among us who is devoid of any basic amenities in life - acquiring them could only be their drive to live. Sad as it is, that can't be denied. They can't (and should not) have all these nonsensical thoughts. But for people like us - to those we know that the food and shelter are guaranteed, is it not our duty to try and figure out, why given this terrible fact, this meaningless end of everything, do you want to go on living? What and why do you care about anything?

Don't we have the responsibility to try and find, knowing the truth, knowing the worst, not giving ourselves a fake heaven and hell nonsense, why life is still worthwhile!? That IS a tough assignment even to explain to somebody who's primary concern is - for instance - their salary, their food, their promotion, their credit scores, their car, the worry about how to face the society, the social status and its own evils - and many many MANY other trivial things. At times, yes,even I am concerned. That is vital for survival.. not for existence! We are not cockroaches, right?

 I wont deny some survival necessities... but I do that knowing that I am growing. I don't see in most of us even the slightest clue of growing up.. even in grown men/women!

By this time should we not have come out of our boxes and be open? Why is still for most of us, the most trivial things are of concern? Shouldn't we have evolved by now?

I realize this is the single most abstract post I have ever written and I know its not coherent enough and all the questions are debatable and open ended. For most of them, there is no answers. But if you have not given a thought about why existence itself is so terrible and why is it still important to give it a shot... please do. It is essential Because we are living in our own hallucination of reality!


Reflecting this anger of Shakespeare, It is interesting to know our own Mahakavi has the answer for that...

உண்மை யறிந்தவர் உன்னைக் கணிப்பாரோ?
திண்மையுள்ளாரை நீ செய்வது
மொன்றுண்டோ !-மாயையே! 

எத்தனை கோடி படைகொண்டு வந்தாலும்
சித்தத் தெளிவெனுந் தீயின்முன்

என்னைக் கெடுப்பதற் கெண்ணமுற்றாய்
கெட்ட மாயையே!-நான்
உன்னைக் கெடுப்ப துறுதியென்

சாகத் துணியிற் சமுத்திர மெம்மட்டு
தேகம் பொய் யென்றுணார் தீரரை யென்

- மகாகவி பாரதியார்

Having blabbered everything and put all the questions forth, now its the time for the last one.. Is Bharathiyar greater than  Shakespeare ? :)


  1. Good one... "When I was younger than what I am now" - really good.. :)