Marcel Proust

… a couple of days ago, Nell’s blog opened by quoting Marcel Proust about the end of the world. She referred to a problem we encounter next month in December:

You know, this lazy Mayan blogger was tired of his work and ventured for a new life as a storyteller. So one day he threw his hammer and chisel deep into a hole at the pyramid where he was working, walked as far as the Amazon rainforest, married 3 wives and made 23 children. He would still earn a living as a maths teacher, but most of the time, he enjoyed the rest of his life telling stories. (a kind of oral travel blog)

Back to what Marcel Proust had to say about the end of times:

“I think that life would suddenly seem wonderful to us if we were threatened to die as you say. Just think of how many projects, travels, love affairs, studies, It – our life – hides from us, made invisible by our laziness which, certain of a future, delays them incessantly.

But let all this threaten to become impossible for ever, how beautiful it would become again! Ah! if only the cataclysm doesn’t happen, this time, we won’t miss visiting the new galleries of the Louvre, throwing ourselves at the feet of Miss X., making a trip to India.

The cataclysm doesn’t happen, we don’t do any of it, because we find ourselves back in the heart of normal life, where negligence deadens desire. And yet, we shouldn’t have needed the cataclysm to love life today. It would have been enough to think that we are humans, and that death may come this evening.”

I have always thought that Proust himself barely ever left his house. So it is a surprise to see these very wise words coming from him.

Existential Crisis


I lost my job in March, so decided it was time to go to India with my 5 year old daughter, so she could see her grandmother and family living in India. This was an opportunity not to miss.

Financially it looked like a disaster, but we are still here and capable of paying for electricity and heating. Most people would frantically look for a new job and security. But I didn’t have time for that, I … had an existential crisis waiting for me …

Much heavier than a midlife crisis (I had midlife crisis at the age of 32), an existential crisis is like an earthquake. Your house is reduced to rubble, and you have to rebuild it (the smaller, the better). In the crisis, your ‘meaning of/in life’  is that house. So all my ideas about how the world and beyond works, where torn to pieces.

The crisis had been building up for a long time, losing my job was not the cause. But being jobless I had the precious time to face my crisis head on.

Basically, it looks like life has no purpose.

We live in a crazy world, and many societies have invented ways to keep us under control, and we are breastfed that nonsense from the first day we are born. This includes ALL metaphysics: be it organized religion, totalitarian laws, new age, near death experiences, ‘we are here to learn‘, ‘we are here to remember who we are‘, … you name it.

If any metaphysics is true, give me a manual so I can experience the truth in it, so that the experience(s) can transform me from being a metaphysics theoretician to an experienced paraglider of life. To do that, I have to get rid of eye-blinders, interpretation, and interfering memories of colouring past. I want to perceive what is. I want to experience what is. Without my mind telling me what it thinks I am experiencing. (easier said than done)

Right now, (but often not), I experience ‘the flow‘. For me ‘the flow’ exists. I ride the wave on the ocean, and realize that steering or braking is nothing else but delaying what has to come.

Don’t accept my knowledge. Experience it. Ask me for a manual if you want to, but don’t believe me.

I realize that there is 99.999% undiscovered territory in my being, but since I don’t
know anything about it, I don’t want to fantasize about it (and create new metaphysics) either.
If reality wants to reveal itself, it will come.


10 days before I left to India, I made a list of things to do before leaving. I did all those things on the list, because of this DeaD-LinE.

Some of these things were reasonable, like going to the pharmacy and buy some medicine, just in case; or phoning a shuttle service to get transport to the airport early on a Saturday morning. Going to the hairdresser could have waited but I went. Cleaning up part of the garden was not urgent. And I visited my 88 year old godmother and her 89 year old husband.

Since I’m back from India, I have done many things, but I have the impression that a day had more hours in it, just before leaving, … because of that Dead-Line.

Dead is like that: a Dead-Line. A point of no return.
Being lazy is to have no Dead-Line.
There is a time to rest, and a time to be ill, but there is also a time to love and a time to communicate.

Being lazy, is having your life completely under control. Like working 40 years for the same boss, riding the same morning train everyday, seeing the same zombies everyday, and saving for your pension every day. Or planning the next 60 years for your kids every day.

Till a doctor tells you there are only 90 difficult days left.

It’s horrible news, completely shaking you inside out. How will i spent the last days of my life … with those I love, and the way I would have liked to have lived if only …

You could plan days like this: every last Friday of the month you celebrate life as if it is your last day. And after you get used to it, you might celebrate once a week … or why not on a daily basis. You will celebrate life every day, and you will live without regret …

Just do it … NOW … cause you might be hit by that morning train without warning and die without having had the time to live your last days, before the Dead-Line, to the fullest.


10 thoughts on “DeaD-LinE

  1. Thank you for your elaborate and constructive comment.
    The fact is that we always rebuild something after the existential crisis, which is another metaphysics in itself. So i understand the movement of the pendulum.
    There is indeed no need to have no metaphysics, however, those who never imagined how it can be without, will probably renounce the idea because of their unfamiliarity with the subject.

  2. Great post and reminder!

    A lot of relevant topics were covered in the article, a feat in itself. The metaphysics point is undoubtedly a controversial topic, since there is very little “indifference” on the subject matter… It seems people fall into two camps, they either ‘clearly see what you see’ or, quite literally, define themselves by the very systems you suggest are constraining them. It’s an amazing topic – one I have pendulum swung back and forth on myself through the years. Yet, what I see in my life and other’s time and time again is that, what’s “constraining” to some can be “freeing” for others…

    Sometimes the right dose of a particular medicine can be the cure for one person or cause an allergic reaction for another – but in any case, we should all be weary of an “overdose” in anything!

    Most want to have conviction, and most seek to share that conviction with others – both are important – yet, at some juncture, both become a constraint as well! At this point I just try to think with an open mind and live with a stead-fast heart. 😉

    Again, great post, and GREAT reminder regarding the “dead-line”!!!

  3. I read that you don’t care for metaphysics – religion and so on. I am spiritual by nature and have searched most of my life for true answers. I have not found it in organized religion, nor in witchcraft, nor in realism (for that matter). I do believe God exists (I know He does). He does speak to/with me. He does help me. He does make things work out in the end for all concerned. The belief part, the faith part, is something that is unexplainable. For me it is a knowing, not a faithing. I know that “Conversations with God” started me on what I call the proper path, it is not the answer in itself. You might wish to read it as it poses some interesting ideas, at the very least.
    Good luck in all,
    -Did I misinterpret, Bert, do you truly have only 90 days or was that to illustrate a point?

    • Hi Scott, … I don’t know about the 90 days? 🙂 but nobody told ME this, yet.
      So if things go as usual, I hope to make it another 20 years or so (grin), perhaps. Thank you for your concern.

      When you say that you KNOW that God is there, then that is your personal knowing beyond metaphysics. It is your first hand experience. And I know what you are talking about. Because basically, I do and know and feel things that I would word the same way. Whether we experience the same thing, that we will probably never really know.

      So if you call your experiences metaphysical, I will not dismiss them, just because you use that word. They are genuine experiences. They should be nurtured in the best possible ways.

      I’m fighting against the heralds of metaphysical hypocrisy. Those who talk and never experienced. And especially about my own hypocrisy from well before my existential crisis. 🙂

      I recently read ‘Conversations with God’ with great interest, hence me quoting from it, but my experiences are different. I do not dismiss the book. I didn’t find anything in it that I hadn’t read before. Somebody should have given me this book 15 years ago. But then someone did something like that. A nice woman from Sweden handed me a spiritual ‘literature list’.
      I read most of those 50 books. The first three quarters of the ‘Conversations with God’ summed it all up. Like meeting a friend one has never met, but led a parallel life.

      So my experiences are metaphysics to anybody else, who has never experienced what I have experienced. To put it very simple, you cannot transfer the meaning of colours to a blind-born, or an orgasm to someone who never had one.

    • I also believe this conjecture … it seems to be just another invention of the mind, to fill the span in between two thoughts. Although that span itself is infinitely large (you can always subdivide it further and further) and infinitely small (thoughtlessness is timeless) at the same time. Thx for passing by.

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