On a hot summer night

There are times when the inspiration doesn’t come, but you still feel like you need to say something. Maybe it’s a little existentialist angst brought on by high July temperatures, but maybe it’s not. You would like to write about something profound such as the meaning of life, but this evening you get the distinct feeling that life is just so much chaos with no real point at all. You feel tired, but don’t want to sleep, you feel isolated with people around you. Your spirit is unquiet, cranky, out of place, demanding, uncaring. You can’t find anything on television which interests you, and none of the books you are reading seem the least bit appealing. There are nights in this life which make you question everything, but not of the answers satisfy you either, as if you don’t want to hear any of the answers, everything rings hollow and superficial. Is the heat that makes me feel this way? Is it a hot, sweaty night that which makes everything seem fragmented, discontinuous, and chaotic? Or do we live with a constant illusion of order and objectives within which we create meaning for lives which really have no meaning? Or am I only dreaming? Nothing that I’ve tried to write this evening has sounded either truthful or meaningful, so much clanging of bells and the banging of fireworks–nothing, in other words. Perhaps the existential crisis of waiting for Godot is a little worse in the heat when the sweat runs down your neck, the sun beats down on your skull, and the temperatures rise all around you. You feel that your crisis of identify, your reason for being, your objectives in life, seem hollow and empty like the foam on a beach or an empty fountain pen. What does it all mean, you ask, but nothing echoes off of the empty halls of the night. You look everywhere for answers, but the best you can master is a bunch of meaningless graffiti. On a hot summer night, the wolves howl in the distance as if they knew what they were doing, but their solitude only reconfirms your idea that man (and woman) spends their entire life pursuing objectives so that they won’t end up alone, listening to their own lies. Perhaps what is magnified on a night like this is the true and profound loneliness of all human beings. The story of Robinson Crusoe is frightening not because he is shipwrecked, but because he is shipwrecked alone. So the soul ambles by itself on a hot night like this, looking for a place where it won’t be alone. I have no idea if life has a meaning or not. It may be something as mundane as the number “46” or as complex as non-linear equations. I don’t think it is either of those things, but it may be something as simple as “other people.” There is no way to know. In the end, life has got to be a question of faith–no question about it. There is no chance that rational empiricism or cold cruel logic will ever answer any question that is really worth asking. And I often wonder if we are capable of even formulating the correct questions for understanding our world or if we just think we do. The night settles in, sweaty and warm, solitary and dark, answers are hard to come by, and just perhaps the thing that saves us from ourselves, our doubt, or failure, is sleep, which puts a stop to our nervous thoughts of infinity out on the edge of the universe.