Reflection or Action: The Absurdity or The Now

The feeling of self-consciousness, of leaving your comfortable first-person perspective for becoming a spectator. A spectator that is looking down upon – what once was – his body, and the situation it is in. And it is this transcended version of you that is judging all the movements and words the body is producing. It is this “you” that starts noticing all the muscular movements in your face, the manner in which “your” body is grounded on its feet and the pace of its breath. The you that has started the conversation, seems to have left the building. Mere judgement is what remains.

This is only a mild version of self-consciousness, it can be upgraded to the next level. Instead of being hit by a flash of reflection on your day to day activities, you can become struck by a strike of purposelessness. A feeling of utter and total insignificance. A feeling of knowing that the you that you are, will live at most another 50 years before being extinguished from this universe forever. A feeling of knowing that within at most 200 years – when you grand-children’s children have passed away – even the stories that were once told about you will be gone, and that for the next 4.999.999.800 years this earth is floating around through space, everything that you once were will have perished.

You can imagine that remaining stuck in this cycle of thinking about the purposelessness of our existence does not necessarily make you a very happy human being. That is why I usually find it comforting to balance these cold – but true – ideas with the performing of actions in “the now”. That is to say that, it seems fruitful with regard to your happiness, to leave the reflective perspective for a while, and focus on what it is that you are doing at this particular point in time. Being engaged in life to the fullest of possibilities – or experiencing everything in “the now” as more spiritual people might say – can cut you out of the fatalistic spiral of thinking you were drowning in. By using all your thinking power to absorb what it is that you are doing right now, no space is left for destructive thoughts about the meaninglessness of life to haunt your existence.

But although focusing on the now can provide you with a temporarily boost in happiness, or can at least stop your happiness from falling apart slowly, it also makes you disloyal to the human intelligence you have been endowed with; a human intelligence that is longing for answers, a human intelligence that keeps on hoping to reach nirvana, a human intelligence that needs to be entertained in one way or the other.

So my question to you is: should we human beings live our lives in the now and thereby stop reflecting upon what might the inexplicable – and possibly depressing – questions haunting our existence? Or should we use our time on this planet of ours wisely to reflect upon the absolute absurdity of the situation we have been put in, and keep on hoping to reach a glimpse of enlightenment?

What do you think?

Written by Rob Graumans

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