All his life, Larry distracted himself with his phone. Whether he was waiting, on the toilet, or just plain bored, he was on his phone. So one day when he was crossing the street, head down on his phone, he suddenly saw an oncoming truck. It was the only moment, but for the first time, Larry felt alive.
I wrote this vignette a few weeks ago and am writing a bunch more titled 'Steps Through Hell.' This book of vignettes will not be for sale, since this is me trying to fuse my existentialism with writing.
Not long ago, I read in Andrey Tarkovsky's autobiography that art is supposed to prepare you for death. And that resonated with me. I don't see much art doing that, let alone internet content. I bring up death in my content to get others to realize their mortality. But sometimes, it can be a little tiring using articles to communicate that. And that's where these vignettes come in. Now, I'm not saying that I'll be some amazing writer able to communicate philosophical messages. But I want to try.
And since you are on my site, you get the pleasure of seeing my experimental writing. And in this case, you get this vignette. Below are my thoughts on the vignette and the ideas behind it. So enjoy this treat or trash it!
The whole idea of feeling alive requires the risk of death, pain, and suffering. Yet when we strip life of any form of risk, we lose that sense of being alive. The internet, media, phones, etc all distract us from what is actually happening in our lives at this very moment.
We pass by the countless potential romantic partners that would love us.
We pass by the countless potential close friends that would cherish us.
We pass by the countless opportunities to help us feel human.
We dull our lives, not wanting any pain. But that comes at a greater cost of killing the numerous potentials in our lives.
To live is to accept the risk of pain.
There is no other way around it. But the pain and suffering, if we really feel it, can tell us an incredible truth about life. It can tell us that we always had the power to do something. Pain and suffering mean you are trying to do something with your life.
This is akin to the classical and mythical heroes, who had to go through suffering to reach some form of salvation. It's true that we have to go through our personal hell to reach heaven. Yet, in this modern age, we run away from any form of discomfort.
To be alive is to feel pain.
And Larry, who was running away from discomfort, only comes to realize that he was never alive until his last moments. It was in those last moments he found truth to life but is too late for him.
A great life is not one with no suffering. But one where there are both suffering and good times.
Life would never be complete without pain, suffering, and death.
Let this be a reminder to live and feel everything.
Life is too precious not to.
Below is some art to help you understand mortality a little better:
The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway (short story)
Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa (film)
Wild Strawberries by Ingmar Bergman (film)
Art is here to help you prepare for those last moments.
The Charismatic Nerd