I just saw a motivational video by Jason Silva which I found upsetting and, in fact, demotivational (it may be that he did not create it as a motivational video but it is being passed around the internet as such, one blogger stating, “Jason Silva inspires the sh*t out of you.”). The reality described in this clip is my reality – and the question I (physically) struggled through this past year or so; the advice given to overcome that reality in this video, is that which left me in a state of being overcome.
Above quote by Ernest Becker is taken from the clip.
“Defying entropy and impermanence through our poems and films, holding on to each other ‘a little harder’, extending the ephemeral into forever… or at least trying to do so?”, the narrator’s solution to dealing with the “existential bummer” of actual impermanence from a conviction embracing permanence. This is the giving in to the reality, and the commitment to do so even more fully, that you will live as if your life matters, as if beauty is eternal and true, while deep down you believe it isn’t. (Hence: demotivational and, from my perspective, frustratingly impractical)
An open denial to accept what you perceive as real. Eternity perceived in your heart and mind, within relationships, from interacting with your environment; yet, you deduct meaning and purpose from your perception of the nature of that which is material and temporary.
Meaning requires eternity*.
The reality that life is empty and meaningless and that all that seems eternally beautiful is not, does not inspire me to live to the fullest, it sends me into a state of anxiety, feeling depressed. I find “raging against the dying of the light” excruciating. The knowledge that all that I hold dear and cannot deny the meaning of, is ultimately meaningless, destroys my joy and will. I cannot laugh and enjoy it, knowing that it, or what it is derived from, is not eternal, beautiful or joyful. The rage will pass, as will my laughter.
“All that is not eternal is eternally out of date” (Lewis).
Thankfully, this desire for the eternal, and the insistence that what is good and pure is truly so, is confirmed within reality. Material reality. God’s incarnate expression in Jesus of Nazareth, who does not suggest we laugh away our sorrows or rage against our own reason, but comes to declare his lordship amidst our eternal existence. His affirmation of eternal beauty and goodness is also an affirmation of our pain and suffering and confusion. He does not simply affirm it but opposes it and models the way towards its destruction. He does not ‘deny death’ but faces the reality and the awfulness thereof within eternity. Without Christ, without his cross and resurrection, I cannot laugh sincerely. But praise God, he is risen!
The good news for Jason Silva is that “loving harder” is actually an eternally meaningful thing to do.
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” –CS Lewis
“Certainly there was an Eden on this very unhappy earth. We all long for it.” -JRR Tolkien
* ‘eternity’ assumes an eternal source/perceiver of meaning