The Importance of Not Being Earnest

A guest posting from David Schatzky

Some see life as a sacred mission to improve the species, to make the world a better place and to leave a legacy which will live on long after we’re gone. Others see life as a bleak and futile vale of tears.

Samuel Beckett wrote “we are born astride the grave” but he also said “there’s nothing funnier than unhappiness.” The implication is that life is a cosmic joke in which we are the punchline. There’s no meaning and we all die in the end.

Perhaps the two visions are not so far apart. In order to carry on despite the inescapable full stop we all come to, we must attempt to create meaning while we’re here and contribute to the well-being of our fellow creatures. While so doing it helps to embrace the irony of our existence. There’s something laughable about the painful dance of life.

Seeing our antics as funny doesn’t mean we don’t take life seriously. David Cronenberg, whose films examine the unacknowledged shadow side of our selves and the world around us, put it this way: “I can’t imagine a life without humor. Especially if you have an existential understanding of life, you must acknowledge the absurdity of it all.”

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3 responses to “The Importance of Not Being Earnest

  1. Josef Eisinger

    Having reached my ninth decade of life, I heartily endorse the sentiments of this blog. I am continually astonished how few of my fellow creatures appreciate the humor of our endeavors on this insignificant planet.

  2. Another title for the blog could be the one chosen by William Saroyan for his novel “The Human Comedy”.

  3. Unless, of course, one eludes to ‘Hemingway’. Or, precisely because one does.