One of the very first phenomena instinctively realized by my brain and injected externally by my mother’s voice was learning that my human body needs food on a regular basis in order for my existence to persist. Three meals per day; some animal flesh served on a manmade plate accompanied by a manmade knife on the right-side and of course a manmade fork on the left-side. What a beautiful presentation to symbolize our sophisticated evolution: consuming flesh, morally and ethically. The irony.
As I grew older, I started taking my meals for granted, as if speeding up the process of aging and death would shake at all my very destiny.
When my body, the limitation of my mind and conscious existence, ceases to function, I will cease with it.
As I grew older, the degree of my exposure to time increased and continues to do so until my very last moment. The universe can thus epitomize the phenomenon of consumption, until of course it has consumed itself to the end point of time ‘as we know it’.
Consumption is the recursion of existence; thus my yesterday self is just as nonexistent as the meal I had consumed for lunch exactly, say, 4 years ago. Thereupon, the human brain is soaked with this jinxed recursive affair. And to exacerbate that burden, the mind reacts to this injustice; no body is sane, we are all neurotic in 7 billion different manners.
Neurosis is a lifestyle; it is a way for the human mind to behave according to the given. Depression, which lies at the heart of neurosis, is the mind’s expression for being unfairly limited by a human body that is endangered and tormented by reality, possibility, and randomness. We fall in an ocean of possible events, not knowing where to go and what to choose, thinking that no choice at all means possessing infinite possibilities in our hands; where frankly not choosing at all drowns us in that ocean furthermore. Because ultimately, all the paths taken by every human being in time converge at the very same point through consumption: death, so why choose at all, asks the depressed. Unlike the clinically neurotic, the ‘sane’ average man chooses to choose, but why? Once you have chosen, you are fighting your way out of that ocean; you are escaping self-consumption by consuming on paths you claim rational. By the same token, the depressed, by not choosing, ‘chooses’ to drown, because the depressed is subjected to too much truth; because the depressed knows that fighting his way to the surface or allowing self-consumption both escort him to the same end product.
Clinically or not, we are all subjects of depression; we will all ultimately drown in this ocean of truth, because as the clinically depressed, we are all dependent on nurture and surroundings. The human being will always instinctively attempt to find a transference object; one who could hold the burden. To project one’s life onto the transference object is to give the object the role of God; the one who protects and reassures immortality. That is why when a beloved one passes away we encounter denial, for if our transference object dies, we die too, and that cannot happen. Our dependency on the transference object cannot bare the consequences. We deny our own death.
Ergo the paradoxical question: How can the depressed allow self-consumption yet deny his own death? How come we do not self-destruct ourselves and speed up nature’s quest?
With all due respect to Zen philosophy, which asserts that we are nature itself, I would like to assert that we are not only the universe in experience, but we are forces of nature who are able to tame with it, to self-evolve. We choose to live because we are existentially neurotic; given that we will die, we will always attempt to project ourselves on transference objects that are perfect tools for our denial.
Scientists took a deep plunge in the dangerous ocean of truth and succumbed to self-consumption only to introduce the concept of time. Hence we now ‘know’ time better than the universe itself. Mathematicians have come up with the concept of probability only to measure the certainty of a possibility’s outcome; however, the universe does not know probability, it only knows certainty and existence. The universe cannot choose. And that is how we extend ourselves from nature.
In light of existential neurosis, we choose to choose even by not choosing.
“How many sunsets shall I see set?” I ask, with a little guilty, greedy hope that the sun will cease to set once I have died.
Being all victims of existential neurosis escorts us to two outcomes: on the one hand, the existential angst eats us up, on the other hand, we do not fall victim of self-consumption, but instead we “rage against the dying of the light.”