“Take a circle, pet it. It will become vicious”. E. Ionesco
As a God fearing Christian and habitual recycler, on the eve of each major holiday, I stop and ponder on the cyclical elements of our existence.
Jesus gets reborn and resurrected every year, Paulo Coehlo continues writing uninspired formulaic books that appeal to the masses, we make our bed in the morning even if we’re going to use it later, women bleed with a mathematical precision every 28 days, men think about sex most of the time they are awake, every decade fashion gets recycled, close relatives continue giving us uninspired pyjamas on our birthdays, Madonna reinvents herself every other year, we enjoy food although we hope we can successfully digest it, and formerly disillusioned people fall in love again thinking – wow, this is great, this is new, this is… different.
The Viennese say that in the past, even the future looked better. That raw pessimism, that pleasant neurosis, that realistic outlook on what is to come helps them break a vicious circle, thinking that they found a way out, a way to attain the unattainable – that illusion of permanence. And so they fare through life, with angst and panic, with an ongoing metaphysical anxiety for divine salvation, with Catholic guilt, a deeply secular indifference to social malaise and the wavering belief that … the best has already happened.
A question remains – should we give in to a comfortable pessimism that allows us to take the future lighter, or should we just trust Camus, who tells us to invent hope where there is none?
The way I deal with it, is to light another cigarette, order a coffee, affect an air of nonchalant aloofness and believe that the only hope I should nurture is that I’ll end up with the right regrets.
Our guest writer from Vienna