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  • Writer's pictureDana Webster

Say It With Me, Now

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

I haven't posted a blog in about a month which is four fewer posts than I would normally have written by now. I've written and rewritten a few but none of them meet my exacting (perhaps absurd) standards. My thing about the blog is this: if I am embarrassed to claim it as my own, it will not see the light of day. Plus, I just haven't come upon a topic that holds enough of my interest to spend time writing about it. And, as if that weren't enough, I feel like my sense of humour jumped ship weeks ago.

Which brings me to this question: Can I write and post a blog about nothing? Sure, I reason. Jerry Seinfeld did it. Seinfeld, after all, was billed as a show about nothing. And then I got to thinking about existentialism and the only novel I know written in that genre - The Stranger (L'Etranger) by French author, Albert Camus. I remember my high school English Lit teacher asking us, "So, what is this (scene) about?" And when none of us could answer the question because none of our dopey teen selves had a clue about existentialism, the teacher responded, "Nothing. It's about nothing. There is no point. That's the point." I still didn't get it. But I loved the book, anyway.

I rather like the idea of there being no point. Pointless. Meaningless. There is something freeing about not having to give a F**k. For not having to understand or even care about understanding. For those of us cursed with an innate and pushy desire (nay, compulsion) to fully grasp the very essence of an unknown or as yet unexperienced event, being given permission to let that burden go, is like a breath of fresh Spring air.

And, oh my god, who couldn't use that free pass these days? I just don't want to care anymore about pandemics, politics, vaccinations, and ventilators. I don't want to have to understand why some people do the things they do. What I'd really love is to let it all go, be happy in my own little world where I can make my own meaning, create my own point, and not have to deliberate about what anyone else is doing.

Which brings me to another $10 word: misanthropy - dislike and/or distrust of humankind. Anyone with me on this one? I have never adopted this trait as one of my own because, frankly, I kind of like people, as a species. Trust, though? That's a whole other thing. When I envision what a misanthrope might look like, it involves a dark den-like room hidden away from all manner of human beings. This person wears a permanent scowl, finding nothing good about humankind and, therefore, avoids all interactions with other people.

And, yet, this past pandemic year plus, has changed my mind about that. I believe that the most populous place to find misanthropes is on social media platforms. Never, ever, has there been such an outpouring of hatred and mistrust of humankind expressed with such relentless vociferousness. And, politics. Politics these days seems to be all about hate.

I was wondering if it's possible to be a misanthropic existentialist. And my conclusion is that it is not. Misanthropic existentialist is, I posit, an oxymoron. One cannot hate humanity whilst simultaneously not giving a hoot about it. The former is aggressive; the latter is passive. Which, I guess, makes a misanthropic existentialist a passive-aggressive with a point.

As for me, I thrive in an atmosphere of meaningfulness. I simply cannot stop myself from questioning, from being curious, from needing to understand worth and value and motive. Making sense of the world is what keeps me sane and balanced. Sometimes I genuinely do not understand some facets of human behaviour despite my trying to puzzle it out, to glean answers, to confer with wise ones. It is hard for me to let go of that which makes no sense. Random acts of malice scare the bejesus out of me.

So, while sometimes I wish I didn't care and sometimes I wish for the freedom of pointlessness, it will never be me at heart. The struggle continues.

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