ETERNAL RETURN - D.H. JAMES
You have never really had a wish. At least not one you can separate from a want. They tell us in the English language that the two are synonymous. That they go hand in hand. But the truth is that a wish and a want are very different. So much so that one may destroy the other if attention is not carefully paid, and so far, you have not paid any attention at all. Much less careful attention.
It will happen when you are walking. You will stop by a local café for a cool drink. It will be a hot day. You will walk for a while drinking your drink and will be thinking of nothing in particular. You will round a corner trying to find a place to discard your empty cup when you will see a very sullen book between two bins. Despite being covered the barely, visible title will immediately grab your imagination.
You’ll quickly and instinctively reach down and seize the book. It will be a dark purple book made darker by its unfortunate time in the bin. You will glare at the black lettering which forms its title. This, to you, will need investigation.
You will look both ways, pocket the book as if it were a secret no one may know about, and quickly walk away.
It will not be till you arrive home later that evening that you will have time to examine the book. It will be immediately obvious that most of the pages are missing by the odd triangle shape it will make when closed. You will open the cover to reveal a short selection of writings. Only one section of writings will be intact while the rest will appear to have been calculatedly torn away.
You will not know it at the time, but this will be a very rare book. So rare, in fact, that it will be the one and only copy of the one and only printing of a book read by only one person. The rest of the pages will have long been torn away due to this person having found them to be of no particular importance at all. But in the front will be a few worn pages with the beginning still intact.
You will settle into a comfortable seat and stare at the title. It will read Pointless: My Guide to Eternity. There will be no author’s name. No publishing date. Just a few pages with just a few words. And you will read:
My thoughts fall aside. I stand without understanding. I walk without knowing. This is my journey. The only thing I do understand is that I must keep walking. The end will be revealed. Eventually, all will fall into place. Or out of place. How should I know?
I read that Nietzsche posited we are all destined to live our lives over and over, the exact same way, for eternity. NO Change. Ever. Eternal return. Makes me want to change the way I’m living.
The current situation lies between desperation and unburdened comfort. Fine line to skip. Worth the exercise. So I skip. Trying to remain unburdened. From life. From all the burdens the system tries to thrust upon my person.
From bills, whether I owe them or not. From purpose, whether I have one or not. Why care? Caring about a lifetime of nines to fives is pointless if it’s something I must do for eternity.
Meaning lies in experience. What can I do to gain experience and what experiences do I want? Nietzsche said eternity huh? Happiness, joy, exhilaration, understanding, the list evolves. Experiences are feelings. Forever huh? How will I have more of these in my life and less of the rest?
‘We may only find love in forgiveness. We may only find forgiveness in love.’ Why? To forgive is to recognize I am my own sphere, as is everyone. Control, power; these cause the opposite of love. Love is being able to endure a complete lack of power. So, to control another through any means, by any mode, is to facilitate the opposite of love.
How can I remain unburdened from love? By laying aside my control. By allowing people to love me without any expectations. By allowing myself to love others without any expectations. This is it. This is all.
How may I remain unburdened from life? By only taking on the basics needed to survive. By living, not reacting. Not reacting to bills. Not reacting to please another. By embracing mine and everyone’s individual freedom. By giving myself freedom.
Tomorrow I’m going to climb a mountain. Eat an apple. Red apple. It will be a good day. Could be a green. Or maybe a peach. No worries. The mountain will still be there. Forever. Slow down. I have eternity.
You will allow the pages to fall forward and examine the back of the book. There will be a slit cut in the back and you will slowly peel the paper away. Inside will be a rectangular shaped envelope. You will hold the envelope up to the light, but will see nothing. You will feel the envelope for density and find it to be stiff. Opening the envelope will reveal an airplane ticket dated one week from the day. You will examine it further and find your name and seat assignment.
Quickly you will stand up and run your hands through your hair. This will relieve some of the pressure. You will be forced back to your seat. It will not be comfortable.
“What could this mean?” you will request expecting a response. There will be no response. You will have to fend for yourself.
You will again pick up the book and shuffle through the few pages with just a few words. One line will change your life. This line will resonate with such a tone you will ingest it. You will know nothing of this. You will not remember the line. It will be meaningless to your conscious mind. But your subconscious mind will be changed forever.
How you move forward will determine eternity. You will believe this to your core. You will be wrong. How you move forward will only determine your future. Eternity has long been out of your grasp. But you will be charged. You will ask yourself questions. Demand answers. You will convince yourself that satisfaction is your savior.
As you move through the week, questions will keep you unsatisfied. But questions will be all you have. Half a week will pass before you look at the ticket for the second time. You will convince yourself it is a mistake. Your name, however, will still be in print. You will call the airline. They will be of no help. “It is your ticket,” they will say. “Who paid for it?” you will respond. They will have no record. Cash transactions are easily anonyms. You will say nothing. Hang up the phone. HANG UP THE PHONE!
A minute will seem an eternity. You will not like the way eternity feels. Confusion must end. Confusion breeds dissatisfaction; your devil. You will clench the ticket. It will feel comfortable in your hands. It will be your conception that making the flight is your only sane response.
Your decision will begin to feel natural, as if you are back on your track in time. You will begin to cherish the unknown. This will be a natural high. Only acceptance will bring satisfaction.
The unknown will become a daydream. This will become your reality. Everything around you will cease to exist. The ticket will be with you at all times. Taking intermittent glances, your daydream will become a utopia.
You must be your utopia to exist in it.
You will sit in reflective silence. It will be time. You will be excited. Your ticket will instruct that you be at the gate by 2:30 P.M. It will be 2pm and you will be anxious to begin. You will slowly nurse your drink and began to write on a napkin in front of you. You will glance at the clock located behind the bar, and a small grin will naturally develop in the corner of your mouth. No longer will you look restless. You will finish scribbling the last few words on the napkin, lay a coin on top of it for the drink and disappear through the door.
She will be having a very busy day. First a meeting, then a flight across country, then another meeting. This will have become routine for her. She will have a presentation she must rehearse. She will find what seems to be a comfortable place to sit and order a coffee. Time to focus she will tell herself. Modernity requires such focus. She will begin to lay out her material and notice a small bit of writing on the napkin in front of her. She will allow the coin to slide onto the counter and inquisitively pull the napkin near and read:
Bitterness is boring. I have a tremendous heart with a capacity for love and hope that rivals any. I have a mind for empathy. I have hands that may hold and help. I have ideas which are malleable but visions that are noble. I believe in the self but am selfless. This is my way. A very natural way for me. Use me. I am yours.