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this world
2003-02-06 - 1:45 a.m.

So today I was sitting at my desk, trying to think of what I could without switching the computer on, and I got a little reminder of why I keep the computer on, pumping information into my brain so that it won't be left to its own devices too much.

I felt sad. Not depressed or suicidal or self-hating or anything like that, just sad. And it occured to me as I sat there feeling sad, that maybe that's what I'm for. Yeah, I know it's a strange thing to say, but I'm serious.

See, maybe the universe is sad or the world is sad, and it needs people to be able to pick up on it, to be able to feel that sadness, that kind of deep, universal sadness that permeates all of life. Something like the feeling you get watching a film like "Men With Guns" by John Sayles or "McCabe and Mrs Miller" by whatshisface, is it Altman or someone else?

I was reminded of how some people - I've actually seen this happen - some people within five seconds of hearing Leonard Cohen for the first time actually scream, "If he's so fucking depressed, why doesn't he just kill himself?!" See, I used to think those people were just insensitive, and in my typically humble and tolerant way would dismiss them as the lower life-forms for whom techno was invented. But now I think - well, that sort of response is more profound than mere misunderstanding, you know? Because Cohen isn't actually depressed - most of his songs are actually very beautiful, celebrations of life as it actually is, unflinchingly looking at some of the ugliest and most difficult aspects of it and saying, "look, even here there's poetry." But what those people who scream at it are responding to is something which is really there, which is a kind of gentle but ever-present resignation and sadness. I don't know, this theory is sounding kind of far-fetched. But it occurred to me that maybe the world - most of the people who are kind of acheiving things, big things, are too busy to have very much in the way of feelings at all, but the world is sad and it needs people who are calm and patient and able to feel its unhappiness and be still with it, be present to it, see it and not turn away, screaming about suicide.


Obviously I'm not the only one. But what I mean, I guess, is that maybe we're actually necessary, I mean, maybe it's actually important for us to exist.


"This world is filled with sadness" - Richard Thompson

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