Is this Real-Life?

April 4, 2010
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“Is this real-life?”

This is the question comically posed by young David of the viral video “David After Dentist” in a drug-induced stupor. For many, this question was pushed aside as a simple example of comedy coming from a high, young boy. For others, though – the thinkers of the world, like myself – such a question has a deeper, creepier meaning. It torments and eats at us, never ceasing to allow a calm to break from the darkness. And as I sit here on my front porch – watching the movement of the trees’ buds as a gentle gust brushes through my hair in the springtime heat – I, too, must question if this is reality.

Why are we here?

For a vast majority, the answer to the above question involves posing pleasing an omnipotent deity (or deities) for a key to the gateway of a pleasant afterlife against eternal damnation in a fiery pit as punishment for doing “immoral” activities. Others would answer that we exist to live each day as if it were our last – to take the risks the risks in our random world that many would not and deal with the consequences only when the ultimate breath had been lost. For others still, our presence here is as absurd and illogical as it is meaningless and insincere.

In school, I often questioned if my teachers enjoyed handing-out papers with low grades. As a sadist myself, nothing would please me more to toss a blood-red paper dripping with the drool of my pen at a tearful student. But how would an omnibenevolent God go about doing this? For the first group of people, life is all a test, after all, and God is the teacher to His six billion students. One would assume a teacher with such kindness and patience would have created a test all people can do equally well, but this is not the case. The world is a vast, varied place, and no two people are the same. Some are wealthy some are deprived. Some are athletes; some are paralyzed. Some are brilliant; some are brain-dead. People are as colorful as a springtime day with all their different talents and hindrances, and to claim “God’s way” is the only way is pure ridiculousness. Perspective must be brought to mind.

Take Hitler and the Holocaust as an example. Millions were killed simply because they thought one way and the leaders thought another. Dreadful, yes?

It is truly terrible to consider the many, many lives that were lost during this time period, but does that mean we should assault, blame, and damn Hitler? From his point of view, he was doing the right thing. He was eliminating the problem-people and pulling Germany out of the hole into which the stronger, more influential countries tossed it. Is that not what a leader is supposed to do? Why, then, do we spit upon hearing his name?

If life is all a test, then why is it not a fair test? An instructor quizzing his students in such a manner –with the “righteous” receiving the effortless problems and the “sinful” the tough – would have been fired long ago, and I shall have no part in such a profane injustice snidely dancing in the minds of us all.

The second group of people – the “let it be” people, as I like to call them – take life’s randomness as a hint to go with the flow and allow the river of life to take them where it may. They live each day and never look back – taking each blow and luck-induced accolade as they come.

Such a passive role is not for me.

As I sit here – the sun’s rays slowly crawling up my keyboard – I watch as a robin plucks a worm from its soil-home and flies to its chicks above me. I cannot help but question this action. Why THAT bird? Why THAT SPECIFIC worm? There are hundreds of millions – billions, even – of birds and worms in this world. Why was this specific pairing involved in this action at this time on this day in this month in this year? There are infinitely many combinations of opportunities; why this one? Can we truly attribute this to randomness, though, or is there something more – a higher power, a driving force – that controls the world as time speeds by us? And if life is truly random, then how are we to accept that we are, once again, thrown into the pit of injustice?

Then, there is the third group – my group. These people – the nihilists, with their claims of an absurd, meaningless existence – do not see life as a test, nor do they see it as anything else. They believe every function of the mind and body – every thought, every emotion, every want, every loss, every relationship – is for naught. It is a horror filled existence knowing all those that we love mean nothing in the end, but what choice do we have? We must accept it, for we cannot fight it. No amount of hoping and wanting and praying will give life meaning. We cannot list our grievances before our overlord because, truly, there is no such being (or if there is, then it certainly does not care for us). Some may ask why I choose to live in such a manner. Why do I allow such thinking to rule my life when I could, at the very least, pretend to believe there is something more? To this, I shall post a quotation by George Bernard Shaw:

“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

As I sit here pondering life – Nature’s cool breath brushing my cheek – I say to you all: Stand! Be active! Live! We are here but for a moment; make that moment count. Live for yourself – regardless of your conviction with the afterlife. Existentialist, absurdist, nihilist – it truly does not matter. We are all human, and we all travel along the same road – the road to happiness.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

toxic.monkey said...
Aug. 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm
i can see what you mean and i pretty much agree with you. it's hard to accept most options when you know about the bad things that happen all the time. good writing!
krazykathleen said...
May 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm
Your writing is extremely good!! I have to disagree on a few things- being a Christian as I am. You don't go to hell becuase you have done bad things- you go because you haven't accepted Jesus. (That's what my church says, at least. I'm not %100 percent sure because I know nonbelievers and  I can't imagine them going to hell) Also,  the Shaw quote- I think that is  inaccurate because a drunken man is not "there" if you know what I mean. But someone who believes is trying to e... (more »)
saimne This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm

on the hitler part, theres a song i love titled "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," a title that causes enough thought alone.

the other part of your article, which is assuming there is nothing after this life, justifies most villains - real or fantasy. with no one to truly stop us from doing what we want, we <cough> imean, they (the ones with darker ideas of fun) have nothing really to fear. "Well, the law will stop you." No, it wont. If all evil doers h... (more »)

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