Recently, I've been experiencing these hard to place feelings that I'm just going to call hollowness for simplicity's sake. The term doesn't quite fit, though, which is why I'm asking for somebody to help me figure out what, exactly, the feeling should be called.
So, basically, I was walking down the street of my neighborhood and watching the lamp posts and the lines and lines of little suburban houses on the identical streets pass me by, and I just had to wonder "is this all there is?". I was kind of confused by what this thought meant, so I paused to consider it; what did I mean by "all there is?". But then the realization slowly dawned on me: everything I was seeing was just a redundancy of the thing I saw before, with only the most superficial of differences. Everything was just so.... unimportant and empty.
Then, I watched a woman wheeling her two babies down the sidewalk in their strollers, but, as I watched her, she seemed to transform before my eyes. Her actual physical features stayed the same, but they seemed to lose meaning to me and the fact that she was a human ceased to matter. All I saw was a moving.... thing, made up of muscles and skin and bones, moving along where previously I had seen something more: a person.
I came to realize that it was my sentiment and emotion, meaningless constructs, that were being stripped away to let me see what was actually there, and that what was actually there was so terribly, terribly bare.
I looked at this collection of atoms and just marveled at how.... redundant and unimportant she was- her entire experience was basically just a repetition of a million other experiences with no significant variances. As I stared at the world passing me by I thought that I just had to be missing something, that there had to be something more, that the empty, barren reality I was seeing couldn't possibly be all there was. I was the observer, the person silently analyzing the world around me, but it was like there was no meaningful analysis to be done.
And this indescribable feeling, that I'm calling hollowness, but that really needs a better name, began to creep up on me.
I've felt that before. One of my first forays into existential sorts of thoughts occurred to me while listening to "Illusion" by VNV Nation. (He's a pretty decent musical man.) I feel that way about the majority of things. (See my signature. Describes that thing quite well.)
Lack of fulfillment, lack of purpose, lack of meaning. Most human things/achievements end up feeling that way. We are temporal beings, and as such all temppral successes are empty in the end. Our bodies are dust, as the earth is dust.
I'm not certain if you're a religous individual or not, but I am. The fleeting, empty human land is rife with complexities that are beyond understanding while simultaneously being as simple as light vs dark. Wealth, power, inflience... They all die with you. Every achievement any man has ever reached is no longer valuable to him once good ole death says hello. That infinite repetition of insignificance is part of the reason why I am a Christian.
Life is a fleeting, meaningless "chaff in the wind" as it were. Thus, the concept of an eternal soul becomes an incredibly interesting prospect. With a soul comes the prospect of spiritual existence and various other incredibly strange things. The thought of eternity, that "more is out there" gives life such a strange significance.
We fret over weird things when eternity is put into play. I do a lot.
Not that I'm trying to force anything on you in any which way, (though I do recommend a similar path to mine) it can be a fun intellectual diversion to consider to possibly modulate this "hollowness" you feel.
Not knowing the place, I set out for the land of my dreams.
Having arrived at the land of my dreams, I found I did not know the place.
Welp, that's all the profundity I have in store tonight. I'll proceed with a bunch of disjointed thought fragments.
People struggling so very hard to live their perfectly mundane lives...
Admitting to myself that I like strangers more than I like people I know....because stranger's I can give the benefit of the doubt.
Knowing that there isn't any point in life, that sentience is a byproduct of the best carbon configurations propagating...
The other day I was waiting in a line for food, and the person behind me was so loud....so...."You realize don't you, that you are nothing? That no matter what you do, your grandchildren will have a hard time remembering your name, and your great grandchildren won't bother trying? That within the space of a generation, you will be gone, never to have been?" To a complete stranger. Because he was laughing too loud.
Looking at people, and thinking, why does this person matter? I've admitted that in the grand scheme of things, no one does, so why should I force myself to listen to this drivel to spare feelings?
Days and days and days and days march on and on and on and on and what, what is the point of it all? You admit that there is no point in it all?
Than what are you doing here?
And I just feel empty. My mass is the same, but something, some configuration of neurons that was so vitally important to me, it's lost.
And instead of feeling awe, wonder, I'm amused. Instead of feeling sad, desolate, I'm amused. Instead of feeling angry, I'm amused.
That last sentence was a lie. I'm not lying to you, because I admitted it to you, I'm lying to myself. And I've only admitted that superficially. I'm rambling.
It's thanksgiving. Are you American? I don't know how to describe an American holiday to a non-American. Assume they know to much and you're egocentric. Assume they know to little, and you're...still egocentric. One of life's quirks.
But holidays are universal. More or less. And on a certain date everyone gets together and performs their occult ritual, summon santa clause and Cthulhu and all that, cook a lot of food even though it's a waste of money, break out the special moth-ridden decorations, and every time I wonder what is the point. The feeling of...I don't know, I presume community? It escapes me. All I see is social conditioning, and I'm horrified.
Hmm. It always takes me a while to get into a groove, to start writing something that perhaps constitutes quality. I really should proof-read. But meh. Whatever.
More disjointed memories.
Laughing....laughing riotously, over a stupid pun, at three in the morning with my brother. Everything is funnier at three in the morning.
Eating garbage and rolling dice with a friend in some Pelor-forsaking dungeon crawl. The plot is hackneyed, the party dysfunctional, the roll-playing, well, perhaps it's not Hollywood.
But I find that I live for days.
An old card game, with the ominous name of "Scruples." A player couldn't make it (and we wouldn't adventure without the party healer) and we had to try it.
Be back later, don't know how to save drafts.
Back. Picking up where I left of, before I lose my train of thought.
We died laughing.
Outside, looking at the stars. The immensity of it all. I didn't know I had bad eyes until a few years ago...is never seen any but the brightest stars.
Google imaging hubble pictures...watching stats die and be born...crying, Ill admit it.
Standing outside in a storm.
Mountains. Walking in them, running.
Campfire stories. Ghost stories, anecdotes that happened to a friend of a friend.
Tales of war. Nothing is so horrifying and awe inspiring as listening to an old vet talk.
Hide and seek, in the dark.
Good books. Reading them, naturally.
But the feeling one gets at the end of one. I hope you know the one.
Writing crap poetry and keeping it to yourself.
Writing anything, really.
A good debate.
The ocean. I've never been. Pictures, though.
Looking back on what I've written. A lot of it has to do with being alone. Being alone to think. Being alone and incapable of thought. Those can be good moments. But my fondest memories...come from a sense of camaraderie. Maybe the world is pointless, arbitrary. Maybe most of it is honestly pretty dull.
But it's nice to have someone to face it with.
Or better, someone to ignore the whole mess with and do something else instead.
Writing this out has helped me realize something. (And I'm sorry if it helped you not at all.)
This forum...is often a pretty heavy place. Of course, that's because it's full of deep thinkers who are often pretty heavy people, and when they are they're more likely to make a post than when life's mundane.
But you don't, I hypothesize, based on what little I know, ever cheer up by listening to someone who's sad. (Not to be insensitive, but it would be pretty weird if you did, like, maybe their life is worse than mine?)
Sadness shared is sadness halved and all that, but what happens when despair has reached equilibrium and stops flowing at all? (Or the net loss and gain of despair are equal, which amounts to the same thing.)
In a closed system, nothing happens. Except some despair is dissipated as heat. But that takes too long for us to rely on.
Hackneyed jokes aside, I have an idea. I've been, frankly I've been bored witless since my family moved, since I have no friends (or aquaintances) in the area and my gaming group TPKed due to scheduling difficulties.
I would like to start a dungeons and dragons campaign on this most excellent of forums, and catgoddess, you are invited. So're you, madnessnunky, if you would like to.
D&D (well, we'd be playing Pathfinder) is a lot of fun to the mathematically inclined, the highly imaginative, the latent actors, and the literary....dangit, I ran out of nouns. In any case, it's loads of fun.
I'll be creating a thread for the purpose in a moment (possibly tomorrow) to check interest.
This was a long, rambly post that is no doubt saturated with apparant non-sequitors, so I'll quit before I fall father behind. I really think that this is a good idea, for reasons I'll no doubt forget to mention in the thread dedicated to the purpose. I'm kind of deliriously happy right now, add if I'd just negotiated world peace. Good morning to you all, and merry Thanksgiving!
Yup, that was a ramble all right, in practically the purest sense of the word, but, you know... Although it kind of circled about the topic, drifting around it and constantly shifting its level of relevance to the original idea, it still maintained some relevance the whole time, and, somehow, inexplicably, reading those disjointed fragments of memories and thoughts on human existence has made me feel....lighter. Thank you for that.
It's been awhile, and I'm sorry to leave you waiting, but I think I needed this time off, to reflect on everything and to finally realize truths that I knew all along......... They say that forewarned is forearmed, and I guess that's true, as I was much less disconcerted by this realization than I have been by previous ones, when I wasn't forewarned, but still..... Wouldn't it be nice if knowing things in the mind and grasping concepts could completely could completely arm us for the moments when we finally emotionally connect to those concepts?
Anyways. I'm not sure if any of that made any sense, so maybe I'll post a new thread about it with more context and explanation at a later point in time.
I'd love to join your adventuring party; I don't have any experience with playing D&D (I thought Pathfinder was basically 3.5 E?), but I've played Runequest 6, a different tabletop RPG system.
Hmm, I should probably post a declaration on your new thread, actually.
I'm glad to have helped in whatever way. I'm afraid that all ideas make less sense once outside of one's head, or perhaps they always made less sense and bringing them into the light exposes that, either way it amounts to the same thing. It is difficult to be concise.
(Trying a new format to make my walls of text less forbidding.) I think I understand what you're saying in the second paragraph. I, too, read a lot of books, on other people's philosophy, experiences, what has worked and what has not. And yet, it is difficult to be genre-savvy.
Welp, best of well wishes.