There's a fly
buzzing around in the lampshade
of my bedside light. Its life seems pointless to me. My own life seems pointless in the same way sometimes, from certain perspectives
...sometimes I lose track of how to make sense
of my life, how to decide if it has meaning
or not. Does it have meaning
? What is meaning
? I could be killed tomorrow
. How would anyone go about deciding if my life had
, if it was worthwhile, what the purpose
of my living here was?
The fly is going to be dead by morning, having never made it out of my room. I suppose I could try and make sense out of the fly's life. Isn't that what writers do? I could write a brief story about the life of the fly, called Flightpath, about how the flight of the fly was a dance in meditation on the laws of motion and rest underpinning the entire physical universe. I could use this meditation to think about our own lives, and the idea that no matter what we do, all our movements are necessarily an expression of these laws, be they mathematical or otherwise. If you are a physicist, they are mathematical. If you are religious, they are Divine. If there is a meaning, then whoever you are, you express the meaning. You are the meaning.
That would be a nice story. If I wrote it, would that make it true? I am a writer: I generate meaning. I choose perspectives. I create perspectives. But I know the delicacy of my act of creation. I know that the meaning I chose for the life of the fly would be arbitrary. I could have chosen another, in a different mood, on a different day. And I know that my story would have no significance to the fly itself. It buzzes, lives and dies, in its orbit around my lampshade, unaware of my need to give meaning to its life.
I have always had the feeling that there is something important that I am here to do, but I am not sure why I think that. It may simply be a way I have of making myself feel special - of giving meaning to my life. Being a writer leads sometimes to a sense of dizziness, because if I can choose to take any of these different perspectives in order to write about other things, then I begin to lose my certainty about my own perspective, my own meaning. I can't make any firm statements to people about my life, because I am too painfully aware of how I choose my own meanings from thin air. I am plagued by doubt, because I am never sure if the certainty of other people comes from wisdom, or ignorance. I try and listen to them. I try to form my own judgements. I try and live with my sense of confusion, my uncertainty about meaning, my loose grip on the story of my own life.
Sometimes all meanings slip away from me, and I am left with nothing. Then all there is for me is the feeling of my heart. It isn't a bottomless crash into darkness, when the mind lets go. All the way until it actually happens, it looks like everything is going to come to an end. The fly is going to burn out from the fire of the lightbulb, the deadly aura of the tungsten filament. Then, when the meanings fall down, when I have no perspectives left from which to see myself, I find that I'm still alive, I still love. I don't know why I can love in the absence of meaning. I don't even know what love is, except that I can't refuse it. In the ruin of my flightpath is the freedom of my heart.
The fly is still buzzing around my room. If it doesn't need meaning to be alive, maybe I don't either.
This was originally posted under flightpath which I requested to be nuked.