The (often) inconsequential things that occupy Rick's mind...
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02/22/05 10:26:00 - February 22, 2005
Do we really live again? Is this life all there is? Whatís the point of it all? Itís ironic that I spent two years of my life trying to help people find the answers to these same questions, but now Iím asking them myself. I know what I told people, what I used to believe with all my heart, but now, I just donít know. I know that Iíve been heading down that path for quite a while. I just donít know anymore. I do believe, I think, and I hope that thereís something to be said for that kind of faith, but thatís all it is: Faith. Jesus told Thomas (I think), ďBlessed art thou because thou hast seen and believe. But more blessed are they who have not seen and believeĒ. Something to that effect, anyway.
Well, I think Iím pretty solidly in the second category, now. Iíve come to doubt my own feelings, my own experiences Ė the very things that made up the base of my previous ďknowledgeĒ. But even still, I was still able to hold on to my belief. Now, though, I just donít know. I doubt a lot more than I used to, and itís a not a sort of healthy-feeling doubt, where I could just say itís more of an intellectual exercise. Now it seems much deeper, much more pessimistic. Much moreÖ existential, maybe. Albert Camus said, ďThere is only one philosophical question, namely, suicide.Ē I need to find what makes life worth living. Not that Iím actually suicidal, mind you, but I just often feel like the few joys in life donít necessarily justify the pains, and that at the end of it all, it doesnít really matter.
Take my job, for instance. I train soldiers to interrogate people. This is done in order to defend my country from people who would kill all of us, if we had a chance. But sometimes, I canít help but think, ďWhy does it matter? We all end up dead, anyway. At best, weíre looking at tacking on an extra 70 years, but in a lot of cases, itís not making a difference. It didnít make a difference for the 200,000 estimated to have died in the Indian Ocean tsunami two months ago. It didnít make a difference to the 25 year old who died in a car accident on his way to work. It sure didnít make a difference for Lily. I work my tail off, get all my hopes up that Lily will grow into a beautiful woman and lead a long, happy, productive and fulfilling life, and look where it got her.
And on the other hand, I look at Aren. He is such a smart kid. Cute. Polite. Motivated in some ways like I never was. Now heís looking at a bone marrow transplant. I am left hoping that he does well and that there are no complications, otherwise I end up being the former father of two. I donít know if I could even survive that. On the other hand, he could survive it and die in a car accident on the way home from the hospital. Or I could. Or MaryBeth could, leaving me as a single father of a five-year old. There is just so much uncertainty in life.
I find myself feeling more paranoid lately, too. I donít know if itís some sort of sublimated feeling that I didnít do enough to protect Lily or if itís just that I now officially live in the ďWild, Wild WestĒ. I canít say how many times over the past few months Iíve seriously considered buying a handgun specifically for the defense of my home. I also want to take hand-to-hand combat classes, whether they be jiujitsu, karate or krav naga. Maybe Iím just boiling over with testosterone. I donít know. I do know that I donít really remember feeling this way.
Interesting, isnít it, that I can go from ďlife is pointlessĒ to ďI have to defend my family at all costsĒ in one paragraph? Maybe I do need medication.
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