I’m not really going to talk bout Japanese today. Something has been on my mind lately, and I feel like I need to write about it. If the topic turns you off, feel free to skip the post, or even unsubscribe if it turns you off that much. Or you could, I don’t know, read it, maybe? I promise it won’t be just disgorging dogma. I can’t stand dogma. Maybe it’ll even be interesting.
I have a particular curse in my life that many people don’t seem to share, and whenever I talk about it, it’s very difficult to explain, and seemingly even more difficult for other people to understand. For that reason, I don’t really want to explain it right now, but I’m going to, because as I said earlier, one of the most important things for one to do right now is to speak. And I guess now is as good a time as any.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. It is not my favorite because it’s encouraging – it isn’t. It isn’t my favorite because it’s hopeful – it isn’t. It is, in fact, one of the most depressing books of the Bible. And that’s because it’s real. If you’re not familiar, this is a book that spends twenty-one chapters methodically going over everything that one can get from life, and discarding it, in the end, as meaningless. King of everything, with all of the earthly pleasures possible? Meaningless, like chasing after the wind. All wisdom and knowledge? Meaningless, like chasing after the wind. At the very end the author basically admits defeat, and says, essentially, “I don’t know why we’re here. Just work hard and trust God with the rest”.
But this isn’t… abstract, for me. There is a particular curse that comes with being intelligent – you kind of see too far. You see to the end of life, then you see to the end of all life, and you eventually see the heat death of the Universe, where there’s everything that ever was and ever will be is utterly destroyed, and that which, by some miracle, might persist, will have its meaning stripped away because there’s nothing to give it meaning anymore. Essentially, we either transcend the Universe, or we forfeit it.
The thing is, this can’t really be argued. It can’t be argued by science, as there is nothing in science that does anything but prove this, over and over again. It’s as close to a fact of life as one can possibly get. If you take life exactly as it is, experientially, one second is as meaningless as a million years.
So I’m not a Christian because of any kind of dogma. I’m not a Christian because someone told me about Jesus and I said “Yeah, I want me some of that”, and then started going to Church and everything got better. Frankly, I can’t stand church, it gives me an anxiety attack. I’m a Christian because without a transcendent Christ, there’s nothing at all to live for. He and I have our problems, but he’s all I got. He’s all any of us have.
I post this here because it weighs heavy on my heart, especially with all of the horribleness going on in the world right now. We’re a bunch of ants scurrying around, trying to make our nests and feed our young, while the dirt itself is disappearing around us. I can’t really focus on much else right now, because this is the preeminent existential question I’m grappling with right now. Why are we even here? What’s the point of existing in a world from which we will all disappear, and so will all of the works of our hand? Why even study Japanese when even that vanishes eventually? Why do anything, why accomplish anything? Why rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic while it’s sinking around us?
It’s the most important question, and I can’t really focus on anything else until it’s answered to my satisfaction. Not even Japanese.
But, now that I’ve got this off my chest, I think that willl be the last post on this topic. This is not a blog about Christianity, and I intend on mostly keeping it that way. But it’s what’s on my mind.