Like we all don’t get them. Some people get a slight taste of them even if they believe in zen or meditation or yoga; others a moderate dose like three shots of tequila, and a few an overdose like too much cocaine snorted until a nose bleed. Now, I’m not a ‘life-coach’ or a three-piece suit wearing, Joel Osteen smile wearing, ‘This is your best life!’ Man, or a quasi-mystical, pseudo-aphorism on aphrodisiac spewing fame whore: ‘Karma will slap you in the face,’ or ‘Truth is relative’. Sure, sure. Go on. Don’t expect me to listen. But do you want a real aphorism? Then here’s one that’ll shake your very core: ‘To continue the same man as you have been up to now, to be torn apart and defiled in this life you live, is just senseless self-preservation like that of half-eaten gladiators who, mauled all over and covered in blood by the wild beasts, still plead to be kept alive for the next day, when in their same state they will never meet again those same claws and teeth. Launch yourself then, on these few claims. If you stay within them, stay there like a man translated to some paradise, the Islands of the Blest. But if you feel yourself falling away and losing control, retire in good heart to some corner where you will regain control – or else make a complete exit from life, not in anger, but simply, freely, with integrity, making this leaving of it at least one achievement in your life.’ – Marcus Aurelius (Meditations, Page 97). And the claims he’s talking about are being good, decent, truthful, cooperative and independent. Now I don’t believe that any person achieves perfection when it comes to these qualities, but you can try. But this post isn’t about those epithets. It’s about our dark tendencies like gargoyles with fangs that threaten to suck us dry, until we decide that the time has come. Now a lot of people do it out sorrow. Man, what is with this world and emotionalism! Feel, feel and feel some more! That seems to drive art, romance and even trivial aspects of life. Yeah I feel, but I know how to not feel at all. It’s simple really. My feelings are my judgments of things outside and inside. And if I didn’t judge, but just left them as abstractions that I observe, I don’t feel. And if I’m in extreme circumstances, I breathe or alter the emotion completely: Sorrow to love, fear to excitement and anger to endurance. Use a psychological or a pop-psychological term, but the truth is everything external stays external. And what about that old Kryptonite? That green spear that once crippled? Yes I’m talking about the old man upstairs: Indifference, regardless of belief or unbelief is the key. Moving on, well the real aphorism says that suicide might just be an achievement. I don’t agree, not because I’ve watched 13 reasons why, or because a counselor said so. No I like the challenge life presents. Hell, what’s the fucking worst that can happen? Which is pretty much why I like Gohan in the Dragon Ball series, which should have ended with the Cell saga, once his transformation from a whiny, wimpy kid to a guy who manages to humble the vainglorious Vegeta finishes. He’s unstoppable, and unleashes in an unfathomable way, after years of being bashed up, scuttling around and hiding and crying. That’s transcendence. Now, I’m not asking you to go around wearing a cape and acting all quixotic, but I’m telling you to endure with grace, and stay neutral when it comes to making unnecessary judgments. But hell, like I said, I’m not a life coach. It’s your life and you’re responsible, and the stoic did say end it without anger or impulse if you’re losing control, but I’ll be kind this once and say don’t. Fucking live. It’s worth it.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)