One Sunday a month I get to stretch my brain a little further than the norm. In a quiet pub on the edge of the Northern Quarter in Manchester, where they serve beers you’ve never heard of at vastly inflated prices, conversation begins ordinarily enough but often tends to end up in far deeper and darker realms. And whilst I would never consider myself an intellectual, I revel in these opportunities.
Questioning the point of our existence, on what else might be out there and theories and beliefs is a great interest of mine.
At our last meeting the Myth of Sisyphus hoved into view. The futility of life, and the reasons for our existence and why we do anything at all is one of my fascinations. Man has elevated himself to such a level that a life without purpose has become something of an anomaly. We are programmed from when we are small children to have talents and abilities and to do well and excel and aim for the top. But really, why?
Of course, questioning like this could result in you not bothering at all. So I don’t delve too closely because really I have enough procrastination in my life.
The myth of Sisyphus can be interpreted a number of ways. The one we discussed is the idea that ‘the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.’ Largely because we were discussing whether getting to the pinnacle of your abilities was enough for a satisfying life or whether it was the struggle to get there that was what mattered and what made life worth living. Once you reach the top, where is the drive to do more?
The ‘Brain In A Vat‘ argument thus also joined the conversation. We were asked to decide ‘if you had a choice would you rather the life you had now, rolling the boulder up the hill or would you rather be the brain in a vat who gets all that comes from reaching that pinnacle, but you know that it’s not real?’
Several of us opted for the brain in a vat. I think that I could get to a point in my life where I’d be happy living in the believed perception that I had reached the end point and was enjoying the fruits of my labours. Others, most notably our host, preferred the struggle. Because at least it was real. Of course it depends how fulfilling your journey is. I am just starting out on mine (again) and desperate to fill it with interesting things which I sometimes think can only be filled by reaching the end point.
The question is, is it the end result that is important or the journey? We were also discussing procrastination which becomes an integral part of that journey and how fulfilling it ultimately is. Our host is also a writer of sorts. And our conversations had also turned earlier in the evening towards completing scripts, finding tv companies etc. I briefly dipped into the film I am now struggling to get my head around. The conclusion was that my published book WAS the script I should be writing. I have always known this. It was the first thing I thought 2 years ago as my book ‘went live’.
In many ways it would be easier to write because the bones are already there. And the pitch is already there. It has the substance to catch the imagination of a director, actors, a tv company even. And I can sell it too. But it is the other script I am focused on right now, because it is sticking two fingers up to me. And probably because its beginnings preceded the book I have written. And this one still lingers, incomplete.
But that doesn’t mean I cannot be persuaded and it is certainly something that I thought over as I drove home later that night. Because the fruition of one project simply leads to the beginning of the next. And thus heightens the sense of the journey.
You can read my book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant – The Life of Giovanni Battista Falcieri‘ by purchasing it here.