The existential struggle for meaning in my life

“If someone told me that I could live my life again free of depression provided I was willing to give up the gifts depression has given me–the depth of awareness, the expanded consciousness, the increased sensitivity, the awareness of limitation, the tenderness of love, the meaning of friendship, the apreciation of life, the joy of a passionate heart–I would say, ‘This is a Faustian bargain! Give me my depressions. Let the darkness descend. But do not take away the gifts that depression, with the help of some unseen hand, has dredged up from the deep ocean of my soul and strewn along the shores of my life. I can endure darkness if I must; but I cannot live without these gifts. I cannot live without my soul.'”
~ David N. Elkins, Beyond Religion, p. 188
“The same sensitivity that opens artists to Being also makes them vulnerable to the dark powers of non-Being. It is no accident that many creative people–including Dante, Pascal, Goethe, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Beethoven, Rilke, Blake, and Van Gogh–struggled with depression, anxiety, and despair. They paid a heavy price to wrest their gifts from the clutches of non-Being. But this is what true artists do: they make their own frayed lives the cable for the surges of power generated in the creative force fields of Being and non-Being.”
~ David N. Elkins, 1998, Beyond Religion, p. 124
“. . . the best existential analysis of the human condition leads directly into the problems of God and faith…”
~ Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death, 1973, p. 68
“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.”
~ Albert Camus, 1955, The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays, p. 3
“The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.”
~ Albert Camus, 1948, The Plague (Trans. Stuart Gilbert), p. 4
“There is scarcely any passion without struggle.”
~ Albert Camus, 1955, The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays, p. 73
“The misfortune is that although everyone must come to [death], each experiences the adventure in solitude. We never left Maman during those last days… and yet we were profoundly separated from her.”
~ Simone de Beauvoir, 1965, A Very Easy Death, p. 100

2 thoughts on “The existential struggle for meaning in my life

  1. Sensitivity makes art possible, and makes depression possible. It doesn’t necessarily make the art good. It doesn’t necessarily manifest in depression; it just ensures that whatever comes will be intense.

    Intense Apollonian calm… is not ‘inertia’.

    Intense happiness.., can’t be kept chained in the back yard… but can visit whenever it’s welcome.

    What comes, is good.

    Brief poem: ….
    — —- —

    My heart has fallen open
    to bleed truth.

    Already the wound has scabbed over;
    already I’ve almost returned
    habitually again wading through universal
    sticky wet outpour of normal
    life as we do it to ourselves

    and I want to know how it happens
    that hearts can fall open but
    hearts just keep themselves clutched shut
    There is so much truth,
    so very very very very…

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