The problem isn’t what to do
Because nothing is worth doing;
The problem is what to do
When it’s all worth so pursuing.
The intricacies of indecision
In harbouring the inadequacy
Of clear-cut moral precision.
Half-heartedly playing society’s game —
Whole-heartedly holding on to the pain;
Elliptically remaining the same,
Stunned by the cyclical appreciation
Of art and “artists”, of people and values
Who congratulate depreciation
And believe what’s on the news.
The world has so much more;
Untapped, because upheaval
Doesn’t interest those with interest
Adding to their wealth.
But wealth is not an evil —
Who stated such a lie?
Wealth isn’t money, or greed — it’s
How it feels to comfortably get by.
So who is really rich?
The bankers or the businessman?
The ones who scratch the itch?
Wealth is to understand.
Yes — to know that life is worth living.
If only because death is written;
One may as well see it out
In the hope that one is smitten.
Sweet sorrow in parting, as such —
That’s the spirit; realising that
We all possess a certain
Lying awake, concentric circles
Channel Christ in the dark —
Not because he’s a supposed God’s son —
But because he got things done.
His life and death mattered,
If only in allegory —
But who could ask for more
Than a part in the story?
And so the pages press together
As the syntax encapsulates semantics;
We hold fast to optimism
Because we’re all Romantics.
The problem isn’t what to do
Because nothing is worth doing:
Life is glorious because each day
Is endlessly renewing.
Life is meaningless. If you can’t see that,
Open your eyes. Work to the bone —
Work hard with the weight of the fact.
Smile in crowds — cut when alone.
You and I both know that all of this
Is but dust in the wind. Make
What you want. Shit. Clench your fist:
In the end, she’ll take
It all. There’s no getting out alive —
But why succumb? Why be a slave
And waste your greatest years? You could thrive.
Instead, you’ve earned got a pension and a cosy grave.
Alienation’s a buzzword — but why not use it?
I was born to die, and I know it well:
I’d rather spend it all than lose it.
You know, I really believe in hell:
It’s a life spent from 9 till 5 in the search for cash.
You have a boss? Well good for you:
I’d rather spend 70 years being thrashed
Than do what someone else tells me to.
You know what — why finish this?
Why fulfil your fucking expectations?
Why splell correctly? fuck correxions.
I’ll do whatever the fuck I want. Whether love or hate, birth or death — whether writing in rhyme or spilling over the fucking line — FUCK YOU whilst I sail away and drown myself. Stop reading this poem and passing judgement; quit your job and quit the society too. None of this is real. We’re animals grazing in the mud. Enjoy it. You have the ability to think, to love and to give weight to “being”. Do that. Don’t answer your fucking emails. Don’t finish your fucking degrees. YOU CAN’T TAKE THEM WITH YOU. Yes, you need money to eat. (You don’t.) Will money keep you happy when you’re sleeping alone because you wanted to make money rather than spend another night with your lover? You’re already dead. I’m going to be depressed in the future, and I’ve been depressed in the past, but right now? I know the secret to living life. That’s to take what everyone says, spit on it and write your own story. I couldn’t give a fuck what happens next, because right now I know exactly what it was all about. So to my future self, and everyone else: do something, or kill yourself. You’ll never catch me up cause I know what really matters more. Can you guess? Is it FUCKING MONEY, or a FUCKING KISS?
What pre-dates a predator?
One vacuous bitch with transparent motives,
Flimsy morals and who’s life’s a bore —
So much so that she broke a votive
‘Cause she’s a wannabe nihilist trendsetter —
But you’ve no idea how to do it,
So I’ll help you one last time in this poem-cum-letter.
Start with your greatest mistake, and rue it:
Multiply that shit, and turn around —
Fear the shadow of the person who failed,
And ask who could argue so unsoundly,
And believe that they were unjustly jailed?
Yeah — you — now what’s a predator to do?
Two options really: — no, make that three —
Kill yourself, obsess about it, or start anew.
What’s the difference between you and me?
You’re a wannabe bad girl, an impersonator;
You’re an arrogant blonde bitch and libido terminator —
And whereas you live life through stale memories, I force mine to fade:
You’re the biggest mistake I ever fucking made.
“The Nihilist” is my second novel.
It is a philosophical/literary drama that is in three volumes, currently in its first draft form at 105,000 words. Part one is 25,000 words, Part two is 35,000 and Part three is 45,000.
The novel’s major themes are nihilism, life without meaning, modern-day relationships (and the nature of the love therein) and acting.
The three main characters are Razvod, the world’s great actor, and Dylan and Ella, an otherwise normal couple who, due to a chance meeting, all become utterly intertwined in one another’s lives.
Déjà Vu is one of the few specific experiences in life that poses a genuine personal problem for me.
When I feel Déjà Vu, nostalgia, become confused about a memory is a dream or reality or feel an impossibly strong wave of love and euphoria, I am forced to try and describe the state it puts me in. This is a problem not because I am a writer, but because I am a human being. As a rational being, I wish to understand the world. This is often achieved through labelling things. In the same way that “love” is utterly ineffective as a synonym for the feeling itself, the label becomes a symbol. These labels do not allow one to recall the emotion, but they can, if considered for long enough, bring about a faint memory of them. Because of the sheer intensity that the above experiences give me, I have always sought to find some short-hand for them. As an atheist, however, the only words I’ve ever come close to trouble me: “spirituality” and “transcendence”.
This is not an essay about religion. I will re-state once more that I do not believe in God (or any higher power) but I will also state my perhaps controversial view that I do not believe science is any more useful than religion in this particular issue. In the same way that “you feel God” is a dissatisfying manner of describing Déjà Vu, so too is “it is the neurotransmitter X crossing synapse Y”. This is not to say that science is not a fundamental need and essential tool of humanity — but I am not seeking for an explanation of these experiences. I am attempting to understand what they feel like and what these experiences could mean. In this way, I am firmly entering the domain of philosophy. Not only this, but it strays into the realm of linguistics and aesthetics. There is a reason I consider myself a writer and philosopher, and not a scientist. I am simply most interested in those issues which can only be explored through these two subjects.
What, then, of this word: “spirituality”? It should be said at the very beginning that all organised religions are, in my view, not only wrong, but dangerously so. Any truth must be discovered for oneself — never through a book. At best, the ideas of others can lead one to understand their own. I would never take another’s word for gospel. As such, organised religions are the pinnacle of self-deception. With regards to “the spiritual” and “the transcendent”, then, any definition will be of my own definition (I hope that, in reading this, you find your own definition). Firstly, the onus is on me to explain why I have chosen these word to attempt to describe the feeling that accompanies the above experiences. Here, I would like to note that I am going to avoid the word “spirituality” and focus on the word “transcendence”. Because of “spirituality”‘s connotation of a spirit in some sense, I will avoid its usage and focus on “transcendence” as it already had a secular understanding. I will focus on two particular aspects of “transcendence” — not in an attempt to describe how it occurs (neurochemically), or even why — but simply what it feels like.
I’ve been writing poetry for years now. Never once have I written a poem and thought: “I can stand by this”. I am making it my goal to change that fact. I am aiming for perfection in my poetry now. Not objective perfection, but perfection as adherence to my own standards for my work. I may have come close with some poems before, but I am dedicated to writing poems which distill my life into the few words the poem contains. I am happy to stand by my novels, and I believe that they are true works of art — now I am embarking on the path to achieving the same pride in my poetry.
* * *
The search goes on, although
The rules never change.
Views hang like mist, but
Beliefs remain. We are
Locked in to who we are
Trapped in a thinking cage.
Poke your fingers through:
Hope to touch
But resign to your nature.
You cannot escape.
The human condition
Governs us. From
First to final breath, from
Birth to ugly death.
Feel free to dream
And hope –
These are your provisions.
Ration them. Do
Aim for peace. Do
Learn to love the cage.
Bang against its rusting bars
And bleed your aesthetic throat:
Do it to mask the fact that
Though you know these truths,
The search goes on.
Do it to pretend that
The rules never change.
This is an essay I wrote for the “British Undergraduate Philosophy Society” but, due to the unfortunate timing of food poisoning, I was unable to polish and send off in time. However, I still feel that this should certainly be in the public domain. So, if you’ll excuse the fact that the references don’t denote page numbers, this is an original essay on a topic that I believe I am a pioneer in: philosophical depression. Specifically: the road to (through nihilism) and the way out (through existentialism). I hope this is an enjoyable read but, more than that — is useful.
Nihilism, Existentialism and Philosophical Depression
“. . . [A] philosopher, to deserve our respect, must preach by example.”
– Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
If the above is true, then acceptance of nihilism necessitates detachment from society, a self-imposed isolation and even a philosophical depression – perhaps suicide. By ‘philosophical depression’, I mean that a clinically depressed subject reached that state through philosophising – specifically, through realisation that the nihilistic doctrine is either true or inherently plausible.
Nihilism can take many forms: the meaning can be stripped from any and all fields (ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, etc.). The brand of nihilism that tends to lead to philosophical depression is the most general form of existential nihilism: that there is no meaning of or to life. All human endeavours, if this doctrine is true, are fruitless. All achievements are really inseparable from failure. Good and evil are both empty concepts: they are both nothing. Morality is nothing. Love is nothing. Humanity is nothing. Life is nothing.
The move from answering the question “Is there a meaning of life?” with “No” to depression is not a difficult one. In fact, it seems the only sincere move. If philosophy has any significance whatsoever, then – regardless how shocking, dark or difficult it is to accept the results – if one believes that a thesis is true; this realisation must influence their life. To philosophise and ignore the results is not to philosophise. As Camus, paraphrasing Nietzsche, wrote, the philosopher who ignores their reasoning does not deserve our respect.
Thus, the vital question arises: what is the nihilist to do? What options are open to the nihilist who denies that life has any intrinsic value? In this essay I shall argue that the creation of subjective meaning – even arbitrary meaning – is not only compatible with nihilism, but is what the nihilist who continues to participate in society is tacitly committed to.
Quiet, placid place
Where waves of grey never crash;
Only folding sensuously.
A beautiful compliment
To the pleasing sky above.
Of familiar colours –
A nature scene that
Somehow echoes home
With all the safety,
All the comfort, and
As many people present
As you’d like — the
Golden ratio, which fall
(Softly) according to
Your selfish wish.
But selfishness exists not
Here; relaxation, peace
And meditation are all.
In fact, the more I
Search this island of mine,
The more like reality it seems.
How can this be so?
This perfect place of mine,
As described in my dream
Is none other than
My eternal home –
An idealised, aesthetic
Distillation of my pride –
(by a good friend)
I found him unconscious.
He was slumped over the coffee table in the lounge, foaming at the mouth. I screamed, with both of my hands immediately smothering the sound – it never left my body and echoed inwardly, chilling every part of me. How could he be here – there – like that? Him? He was the man who would never . . . he was the man who helped others – I mean, he was the one who should have found others like that – he was . . . he was the man. End of story.
I somehow mustered the strength to not only approach his clearly motionless body, but also managed to move him from his slumped position into the recovery position on the floor. As I did so, I couldn’t help but notice all of the items on the table. Such a precise set, such a carefully organised, meticulously ordered set of items!
There were little bags of all sorts of powders and chemicals, scales, stopwatches, reams of paper with various calculations on, lots of paper printed off at home with seemingly endless notes made on them. Then, there was a little notebook with very precise instructions, almost like a recipe: ‘Take 1.0 grams at 7:45pm, another .5 grams at 7:50pm’ – so many notes. I had only a few seconds to take all of this in. There were other things on the table too: lots of books, piles of them. I don’t know where he had hidden them all this time. There was a particular book that was open right in front of him – it was called ‘PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story’.
I had to take in so many things at once: it was so overwhelming. This was one of those moments where every second that passes can influence life in infinite many ways: what should I do? Check his breathing? Call an ambulance? But there were so many distractions: what had happened? This was so out of character. All of these drugs all over the table; how could he have overdosed? He could never have accidentally overdosed – it must have been on purpose. All of those instructions… So quintessentially him.
Stunned, and finding it incredibly difficult to take my eyes off the table, I returned to him: in his hand was another piece of paper. I saw the word ‘ambulance’ written and immediately scanned it. It said that he had called an ambulance and it was on its way – in fact, I think it was intended for the paramedic. It contained a list of drugs – followed by a series of doses and times taken. I shuddered as I read it – it went on and on. It was no short list. This was a calculated and very definite overdose. The very word itself instantly came under scrutiny: I, for the first time, broke the word, the symbol, from its meaning. This was no drug addict. This was no ordinary man. This was no accident. There was a reason for this.
There was a reason he was lying there, unconscious, on the floor.
Two eyes firmly fixed on his feet,
Too anxious to look, talk or meet
Another too-critical being:
No one should see what he is seeing.
Darkness in all: smiles disfigured;
Weak wills everywhere — too much lust,
Too much hatred — not enough trust.
Pavement holds his gaze all day long;
Keep your head down — he can’t go wrong
If no one knows he exists –
Let alone the scars on his wrists.
Don’t pay him attention: it’s not
His wish — secrecy’s all he’s got.
He really doesn’t ask for much –
All he asks is that you don’t touch.