by Grant Smuts
For as long as I can remember, people have been telling me to be realistic. To be pragmatic about my life and my decisions. Make smart choices, not idealistic ones. I was shaped by the world I grew up in, the environment I was surrounded by.
Everything told me to abandon my dream. And in time, ‘everything’ became ‘everyone’.
As a result of that, I developed a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I stubbornly persisted in my goals, while continually being shaped by the opinions of those around me. In time, I abandoned the notion that anyone could stop me from doing what I wanted, and with the arrogant self-assurance of youth, i proceeded to make a few bad decisions, fueled by rebellion against… well, everything, I suppose.
Eventually, I turned to philosophy, and for a while Nietzsche comforted me – and yes that might seem extremely bloody ominous – but I’m not talking about the pop-cultural consciousness’s awareness of Nietzsche – I mean the idea he truly espoused with his philosophy – the idea that waited at the end, when every life, every meaning, every reason was nullified by the awareness of a meaningless existence – Nietzsche sought an affirmation at the end of it all – something to confirm the reality of our non-reality. He sought an eternal return, something we could always go back to.
“If we affirm one moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence. For nothing is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event—and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified and affirmed.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche
It’s strange how little people remember this quote. I suppose the whole ‘God is dead’ and ‘life is empty’ things overpowered every other thought.
But I reflected that life might be an illusion after all. But if it is, what of it? Reality and dreams – neither are kind to us.
Indeed, what is life and longing if not some wish to rid ourselves of emptiness? What is ‘truth’ beyond something we cling to as creatures lacking wisdom and discernment? All we have are our illusions. I’ve begun to think that everything you see and touch is complete bullshit, and that dreams and wishes are the only things by which we might judge the value of our lives. So if everything is indeed an illusion, then I will embrace it.
If this is an illusion – just a dream, then I’ll say it again:
That’s all it needs to be.