Any of you heard of ‘The Book of Disquiet’ by Fernando Pesso? A very much acclaimed modernist book (am not going to say the contrary – it is a masterpiece!). So far, for what I have read, I guess it mirrors a lack of spirit in this modern world, a lack of identity and a sense of purpose which I will comment on a bit.
It is basically the last book I have tried to read and simply couldn’t finish it. (maybe later?) I guess the thing that stroke me was the fact that there were many passages where the author would express a deep sense of futility, lack of meaning and purpose – a feeling that I also felt when I would read Cioran or Sartre – although maybe with the last two the feeling was more acute and eventually got me to a sense of revolt where I concluded that I should not read books on this tone since they tend to be too winy and I don’t like that feeling anymore…(and eventually discovered Camus muhahah)
There’s a passage at the beginning of the book – couldn’t read more than 30 pages or so, where the main character when hearing the presence of some girls singing,
‘a feeling of sorrow for them impressed itself on my heart. For their future? For their unconsciousness?Not directly for them, and perhaps, after all, only for me’.
When lacking the eyes to enjoy the beauty of life, as well as the capability to feel – we allow ourselves to be ruled by a universe where intellect and thoughts are our eternal friend and enemy. We rise and we fall again, victims of our thoughts and opinions, pleasures and pains and the whole business goes on for too long.
‘but to say its a nice day is difficult, and the nice day itself passes on’
So my question is simple – how can one live in a world like that? Sincerely speaking, I stopped reading it since I felt I have passed that stage, I did not feel I could identify with the character (not anymore).
‘Perhaps it was just taking me a long time to feel alive’…
Then – what does it mean to feel alive? What does it take? Besides the fact that our heart is pumping and we go on breathing, to keep alive (independently of our wish)…But how are we truly aware of that feeling?… Many have written songs and poems about it – but can we truly EXPERIENCE it?
Recently, I have been reading a lot on mythology – Campbell and Jung mainly and the fact is that so many cultures and indigenous people share their views on the ‘spirited’ world surrounding them – which means that they believe that everything around has a spirit. I remember I read about a tribe of native Indians that were dancing every morning for the sun to show up. They really did believe that if they will stop that ritual, the sun will stop rising.
Their purpose was so easy yet so vast! Needless to say that there is no place for futility or intellect or thoughts. It is the most natural, simplistic and courageous thing to do. It shows that there is a strong connection between all living creatures and the land that provides for us.
Then – coming back to the initial aspect – why disquiet? Maybe because we lost that connection, eventually we lost that gratitude and started to take it for granted (and all the scientific mumbo-jumbo that follows). In our individualistic world, there is no space for the sun, as we live in cages with air conditioning and artificial light (and could go on with the list of ‘artificial’ stuff). There is no REAL connection even if we are overconnected with invisible wires and devices that promise us happiness. As Jung very firmly puts it:
‘Our present lives are dominated by the goddess Reason, who is our greatest and most tragic illusion’.
So stop and remember that there is more than the roles you are given…That throughout the day there are different versions of you – that keeps you on the run and eventually you will touch with the real, authentic you. Understand that it is not the society that will save you – but exactly the opposite. (People always look out for ways to heal themselves when we are our best and most instructed healers we can find). Instead of complaining, understand what you need and ask for it. Pray, meditate and write it. It will help be centred and focused.
Remember – there will be storms – can’t be sunny all the time, right? But you have the power to create your PERFECT umbrella and be above the storm.
As Max Planck beautifully said – ‘when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change’.