Do not listen to the gentle waves

The feeling that my life is drifting away is perhaps the most creepy one to have.

Yet, it's a non-feeling. One doesn't really feel the drift until after the fact; otherwise, it will not be one of drift, it will be of change.

Yet, I have that. It's really a combination of two things: of comfort - imagine listening to the gentle waves while looking out of a porthole - and of anxiety - of not knowing where one is off to, or, if at all, one is off to anywhere. It's the opposite of the fear of change; it's the fear of non-change, of meaningless stability.

Indeed, days pass and seasons change. It does not help that this country, and almost all countries I care about, are suddenly caught in a cycle of non-change, history going backwards in a climate of global counter-revolution. Every day's new, it appears, could be of any day; like a bad movie, things do not happen in a sequence anymore. Instead, they appear randomly, making sense just by themselves and no sense at all either in reference to the past or the future. Opinions rage and they are pure opinions, with almost no reference to anything practical. Good and bad are judged based on who they are, rather than what they are. 

Is the feeling of going backwards the drift? We have grown up believing, perhaps wrongly, that history has a plan. Moving forward, in our minds, were equated with a new day. Directionless, unintentional motion, perhaps the way of the universe, but it was not to be the way of our species-being, whose unceasing toil over millennia shaped a very intentional, so very designed, world. Yes, natural creation is accidental, as we figured out rather recently, but throughout human existence, we saw in it the logic of beauty; we ascribed all that to God and made it an act of intentional creation. All that was no mere superstition, but rather, our collective endeavour to self-define. 

But as that God made in man's image dissipates, we held onto the optimism in the form of science and our creational abilities. But, as it seems from this vantage point, left much out. We only partially understood nature; we loved beauty without its dark side, embraced creation without the appreciation of its inherent destruction, imagined ourselves to be the God without realising only some of us could be. What's left is the pessimism of drift, the terrifying conflation of the pointlessness of the universe with my own little life and hopes of intentionality.

It's only after the stone has rolled many times over, one realises that he is perhaps Sisyphus. That's really the moment I am at. And, indeed, the feeling is completely indescribable. Because to those caught in the life of daily chore, comfort is an objective, not a state to despair about. Pointlessness, to them, is a scary feeling, but then trying to think about the point is an unnecessary distraction. It's best not to try to see anything bigger than our daily selves, is the recommended coping strategy with the confusing universe. But then I look out of the porthole and hear the gentle waves.

So the thought that overwhelms me is the desire to be moored. This non-feeling of drift, as it transpires, arises really out of my atomised, disconnected existence. The Russian doll of community, family and self are claustrophobic and ultimately just a mask for hiding the pointlessness. Consuming my life in the discussion of house prices, interest rates or latest fashion only obscures the non-impact, it doesn't negate it. Just because I am inside the boat and the door of my cabin appears stationery does not mean I am not moving; it just means I have no control and all those stationary objects around me are designed to deny me that control.

Except perhaps the anchor - and the sails - of ideas, that allow me to define what happens next. Finding this, an act that needs intention and endeavour is the only way to discover meaning back again. Faith, and faith alone, in a whole bigger than myself, can lift me into that action; faith that there is a point in all this, and a better life is possible, can stir me into a direction. It can escape the sleep, that the gentle waves of drift bring.


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