To know gain is inevitably to know loss. In many ways, that is what makes love into a kind of opiate. The more you love someone, the more you care for them, the happier you make them, the more you set them up for the harshest and most debilitating withdrawal.
The only thing worse than a failed romance is a successful one. There is no good way out of it. Either you are in the grave, or you stand over one, wishing it was you. I have seen what that does to people, it is a grief that takes the mind like a poison. It makes people twisted and rueful, nothing can console them, and they cannot exist in sanity any longer. That to me is probably the most contradictory part of the human condition.
How when you truly love someone, and give them this profound happiness, then when you die, something in them will die too, and what remains on this Earth is not recognisable. It can take many forms. Some become empty, and dim. Some destroy themselves. Some destroy others. Some just move on and make a new life. But no one remains what they were.
This is where ontology meets saprology. When a being can live and decay at the same time. To be sentimental is to let the decay overtake you, to be optimistic is to amputate the dead tissue. But even then you’re only half of what you once were.
In such a way a rebis becomes a chimera. What was once two beings joined into one by spirit, is now a grotesque conjoining of life and death. A kind of existential zombie, trapped in equal measure by presence and absence. So why do we do that to ourselves? What compels us to gain what we cannot afford to lose? Why does happiness and suffering exist in symbiosis?
It is to see how the greatest cruelty is kindness, because only kindness can render us so weak and so vulnerable to loss. And that tells us something about the human condition. Because it tells us that existence is not some flowery pursuit of happiness, but rather a trial by which one gains virtue. We do not give the classical thinkers enough credit for their astute understanding of how life is best lived as a heroic journey.
The enlightenment poisoned our thoughts with ideals and notions of happiness, but humanity is not a species of happiness, rather we are a species of virtue. We gain our highest existence not in times of peace and prosperity, but in times of crisis and hardship. In moments of weakness and temptation. Human beings know their condition in times that demand humanity, and humanity is generally only considered a thing of value in those moments wherein we must sacrifice something.
So is it any wonder then, that love, this raw element of our humanity, demands the worst sort of sacrifice of them all? In some ways, sorrow is the fires by which the highest virtue is tempered. Because it is only sorrow which may shatter our being into such an atomic scale, that we must assemble ourselves with every ounce of being that we can muster, or break down into nothingness.
To one moment know precisely what life is and precisely what makes life worth living, and to, in the next moment, find ourselves in a human void with nothing but ourselves. A place wherein no status, no money, no luxuries or education could possibly free you from the immense and crushing depths by which one is surrounded. It is in those depths that we must ask ourselves not only “What is life?”, but deeper than that, “What is existence?”
And no one can escape such a depth by answering that the purpose of existence is happiness, because such a happiness will never be found again. Each day from that moment on will have a missing piece which cannot be recovered, and the only way to figure out how to proceed with things is to examine what else there is.
Because otherwise, each passing day will pick you apart, piece by piece, until nothing remains. Because to have lost the will to live is not something that is produced by the presence of suffering, but rather by the absence of purpose. It is not pain that kills you, but rather numbness. To grow detached, and apathetic, and bereft of all there is, is to know a danger that is uncharacteristically welcomed by those who know it.
And I think this is where life requires a spiritual element, to be able to exist outside of the corporeal. In such a way, there is always an imperative beyond the mere future of things. To know this is to know that the world is more than just happiness, and being and life. It is to know that there is also purpose in hopelessness.
I can’t say that I am a particularly happy person. I would like to be, but it’s been years sense I’ve felt any sense of belonging, or joy, or future. But what has helped me greatly is to know my purpose. I’ve lost things to the point of where I find it difficult to find much value in life, or any real motivation to live. But it doesn’t matter, because I can still make myself useful. I can still try to on some level mitigate things. To make sure kids don’t have to grow up like I did. To make sure others don’t lose their families and loved ones.
And to exist in such a way is to find purpose even when existence doesn’t benefit you, because the real meaning to the human condition is a matter of humanity. And humanity are the traits that we possess which allow us to contradict our intuition towards vice, cowardice, selfishness and greed. And as long as I have a reason to get up in the morning, then such a reason is irrespective of any misery which may follow throughout the day.