Existence Itself Is Meaningful
The next time you are in a crisis, ask why your president should exist.
As I stared at an idly sitting snail in the garden, I — a human — asked myself what value this slow little creature might have. Why do such insignificant looking creatures even exist?
I then tried to find an evolutionary cause for its existence and also a possible ecosystem balance it may have been creating. While I couldn’t reach a significant theory in either, I did manage to look at the snail closer: at its innocent looking face.
That’s when I sensed a flaw in my thinking — which, after all, is socially conditioned — where I am taught to evaluate the use-value of everything I perceive: my life, your life and life itself! I was aware as I stopped the snail value pondering. The sensing took me away from the calculations of snail’s value and into something else. Away from natural justification for its existence. ‘What has become of me?’ I said to myself.
‘Why do I need to find a justification for the existence of a creature?’
‘What has this world done to me?’
I tried to find other ways of thinking.
Yes, the snail may not mean much in this world of billionaires, superstars, philanthropists, humanitarians and princesses!
Yes, it may not exist directly to make our lives easier, better or enhance the human race, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the right to exist. More than that, who gave me the stupid idea to question its existence? — For each time I question something like that, I am in the background appreciating the value of all those people whom we are taught to revere. Billionaires, superstars, philanthropists, humanitarians and princesses, who are the very reason the human ego has today inflated bigger than the cosmos. Whose attitude is the very reason human life has been intolerable time and again. IF there are existences I am to question, I should be questioning them! Not a tiny little innocent snail! Or myself for that matter. My life itself is more than enough reason for me to exist.
While I try to find evolutionary and natural justification for the snail’s existence, it doesn’t for once occur to me to question the powerful and the popular around me. It’s as if their existence is a given — a natural phenomenon! The irony of it all is that while I don’t have an ounce of power or right over the snail, I do theoretically have a lot of power and right to initiate the extinction of the billionaires, superstars, philanthropists, humanitarians and princesses. If there’s anything unnatural, it’s them. Not a bloody snail! Or me for that matter.
‘Look at what we have done to ourselves!’
I then recalled a poem I had written in Nepali some five years ago. It was a similar comparison of life values. I will rewrite it in English prose here:
A ‘great’ person dies and with it stops the world. Everyone is concerned and halt their daily activities to either observe or lament the passing of the great one. The death is widely marketed and promoted.
‘There is a big hole in the world now, the world won’t be the same,’ is said. Thousands of people follow as the body is brought for a (Hindu style) funeral.
At the same moment, with the same illness, a ‘normal’ person has died too. But no one knows of it apart from a few relatives of the deceased. The wife and the son take his corpse to the funeral, but in the great one’s death parade, his corpse isn’t even visible.
Coincidence is such that the great one and the normal one are burnt at the same time. The son of the normal one asks the distracted priest to focus on the burning of his father, but is told,
‘leaves fall and dogs die every minute, your father did nothing great so there’s no point focusing on him. He’s no different.’
The priest then rushes to the pyre of the great one.
The son is devastated by all this. He goes to his mother and says,
‘Mother, look how insignificant we are. It’s all because my father was nothing, he was insignificant. But I won’t let my son cry like me…I will now be great.’
He then begins his struggle for greatness as he studies, fights and competes. For years, he dedicates himself for greatness and does whatever the great ones do. Yet, he doesn’t get to be great. He then realizes that one has to be extremely special for greatness. Fed up with his life, he goes to kill himself but has a moment of epiphany which teaches him to criticize greatness itself not ask ‘Who is great?’
My point is that existence itself is sufficient. It’s social power — our biggest weakness — that makes us question the existence of those we don’t find among the ranks. Instead of wondering why a helpless little snail exists, you should be wondering why that bastard prime minister of yours does!
If you still aren’t convinced, look closely at the face of a snail, or a sleeping dog, or a newly born child.
If you still don’t get it, GET INTO POLITICS or START A BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY!!!