What Does It All Mean?

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"Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me," goes the old saw and just because you have a negative view of reality doesn't mean you're depressed. Naysayers don't make for ideal dinner guests and those who express the point of view that life is utterly meaningless are not going to be honored at the ceremonies for Project Hope. But there's something cleansing in holding not only a negative view about one's own prospects, but mankind in general. It's tiresome to hear evangelical and hortatory speech full of promises that can never be fulfilled. Yes, indeed we're all here for a short stay, in which we make a bit of a fuss, before giving up and finally dying. "First you suffer, then you die," sings a rock group called Vomitorial Corpulence, a Christian Goregrind band from Melbourne. As Macbeth says, "Life's... a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." However, while it's alright for Vomitorial Corpulence or Shakespeare to spout these verities, try it out on your friends and you'll soon find yourself ostracized for not getting with the program. This is the age of totalitarian thought, where words are monitored for their attitudinal content and the true problem of having to make meaning in a world where there's no program, no panacea, and really nothing that will alleviate either the disease of consciousness and longing or the pain of existence is glossed over. Caden Cotard, the main character of Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, NY initially seems to be dying from an incurable disease, but what the film reveals is that the disease is life itself.

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}