“AFA” Ferris Wheel in Central Hong Kong, China (2018)
A sudden realization and a piece of bad news: the vast majority of the experiences humans undergo through are nothing but entertainment: clever and deceiving ways to pass the time.
All you see or hear, all you watch or touch, all you taste or smell, the pleasure you feel and even the pain that punishes you, the books you read and the movies you watch, the music you enjoy, the news you listen to, your talking spouse, your bossy boss, the bird at window, the two eggs and sausage you had earlier this morning for breakfast: it is all out there to entertain you and there is absolutely no real substance to any of that. Even this post you are reading now and the act itself of writing it amounts to nothing else.
Wait a second, you might want to interject: if one is being constantly and forever entertained (as long as we live, that is) what is it that we are entertained from? That is indeed the key question and one that I can not adequately respond in an informal blog post like this one, limited by space and my own lack of words. I will ,though, offer this for now: we are being distracted from the ultimate reality, the deepest reality of all, the reality of death.
As an illustration, take that masterpiece fictional movie from Swedish film maker Ingmar Bergman, “The Seven Seal”. The film takes place in the Middle Age at a time when a widespread epidemic of bubonic plague decimates the population of Europe. The main protagonist has his days numbered. He comes up with an idea to postpone the inevitable: he convinces Death to play a game of chess, in the hope of outsmarting him. Chess was indeed great entertainment those days, especially in a world with no television or cell phone. Chess was a great way to pass the time. Or to buy more time, you would say. Of course, movie fans know well who chess-mated whom.
All the above may come across as pure Nihilism but it is not quite so. Attached to bad news, one can always find good news (and good news also need to be broken). What is the silver lining in these depressing thoughts? Well, here it goes, in case you haven’t guessed already: there is no need to take life seriously. All this business of living this earthly life carries a lot less weight than we think*