Are We In Hell?

I’ve given thought to the notion that we are, at the moment, confined to a sadist’s simulation, none the wiser to our predicament. We may hang an ornament in the back corner of a room with no light or concept of space. If so, I hope our caretaker is more pleasant in the coming months. I hope we’re not doomed to a damnation entirely out of our control and laughing at our supposed invincibility.

Though I’ve given thought to it, I don’t consider that a reality; rather, our reality is far more ambiguous. Surprises are our feast, and we can taste them or run from them. At a certain distance from pain, the idea of staring down the unthinkable becomes irrefutable, inevitable even, and until that pain descends upon the ordinary, it is so. We have an immense capacity for courage that is sooner decimated than it is multiplied.

We are in a kind of Hell, something like what Sisyphus has been condemned to, but unlike Sisyphus, we’ve done nothing to deserve it. Our punishment is multi-faceted and so complex that a dozen or more articles/essays cannot explicate our condition–still, like Sisyphus, we reach a thousand lights that are no more than darkness in disguise.

It sounds dire because it is. Optimism goes only so far in deciphering the human condition, and there are some regions of experience to which it should be barred entry. Miracles, if anything else than storybook creations, act here as fantasies we’ve constructed from fear, and the only escape is work of a particularly grueling sort.

Wishful thinking will not rescue us from this Hell, but there’s a chance, in following Sisyphus’s lead, that if we keep struggling at a problem long enough, we’ll crack it.

It’s all to do with our interpretation.

A Southpaw

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