Life as a question with no answers

The meaninglessness grips him by the throat at any moment of the day. Not caring about where he is and with whom is he, like a ferocious, prowling predator, the feeling arrives unannounced, rips apart his flesh and leaves him half-eaten, bleeding with not blood but streams of shameless, naked guilt. The guilt of meaningless existence.

He has been found caught in a swirling pool of this feeling at all sorts of places where the expected state of mind is one of the common moods such as joy, sadness, anticipation, reflection, or tens of others that people keep talking about. Instead, multiple times a day, what he feels is a sharp confusion followed by an invisible, choking paranoia that he’s going to die one day, and nobody really, truly, deeply cares about his existence. And why should they? They have their own lives to bother with.

Of course, he was not born with this feeling. His first memory is a sweet one; it’s about clutching a two-rupee note, while spiritedly darting towards the candy shop in the neighborhood. He distinctly remembers the sky that breezy day to be a little grey, the kind he prefers. And he also remembers his favorite orange candies which were cheap and abundant, and how they were wrapped in a white paper cover making each candy resemble a well-ironed bow tie. In those days, each kid had its hands full of them. A single rupee could fetch ten of such candies. He remembers how sucking on those candies seemed to have given him infinite bliss, as if the sweet liquid gushing out of it was hallucinogenic. At that innocent moment in his past life, he was perhaps in a childish trance. Or so, that is how he prefers to remember it.

Today, this memory – and many other similar ones where only the happy parts are remembered, not the boring ones – evokes two simultaneous, yet diametrically opposite emotions. When he reflects on the memory, he feels immensely proud of having lived through such a wonderful time, of being born as a human capable of having such memories (and not a simple-minded cockroach, leech or a snail), of being lucky enough to be able to afford this memory (and not having perished as a poor, destitute and malnourished kid). This feeling of airy joy fills his lungs and leaves him with a relaxed sigh of being alive, and giddies him up about the capacity of future to gift him many more such times. But before long, his sweet stillness is pierced by the painfully clear thought of his own death in future, and how that certain event would render his entire life (and all its associated memories) meaningless. In fact, he feels that his future death, in a way, renders his life and his actions meaningless today, not some distant tomorrow. It’s because one day his death will surely arrive and that day would be just like any other day. Today could be it. Any day that brings him death would be today on that specific day. Days are never special, he thinks. The only subject that occupies a man on his deathbed is his own death.

At such moments, for the briefest of moments, he catches a glimpse of his own flood of thoughts inside the vast ocean of constantly turbulent mind. Truth be told, it makes him proud and amused that mind is able to accommodate the existence of happiness and dejection at the same time. Isn’t that interesting? Though, sadly, this pride of holding mixed emotions doesn’t help in resolving the unease about the questions that have no answers.

Ironically, what brings him relief from these semi-frequent bouts of dejection about death is the thought that he’s going to die in future. His constant contemplation on death has inevitably made an impression on his intuition, further strengthening his resolve that one’s short life on this planet, even though meaningless, should never be sad. Happiness and exhilaration is what he seeks (and often gets). No doubt, even on a happy day, like everyone else, he would get faint, fleeting feelings of guilt and sadness, but he likes to imagine that unlike others he just carries on with the happy feelings while leaving behind the sad ones to rot. He has no hang ups about the past, and at will, he’s able to erase all negative feelings of guilt, shame, sadness and anxiety. Once he told a friend that the constant awareness of death brings genuine happiness. He also jokingly referred himself to be an Übermensch. His friend didn’t care.

He doesn’t know whether he should qualify it as a sad feeling, but one feeling that he constantly runs away from is that dreaded time when his mind is completely blank and the time around him shamelessly hangs on the wall, refusing to march forward. Yes, he feels boredom quite sharply and the possibility of it makes him tremble from the inside. Why can’t he just relax and enjoy the endless time, you may ask him. Try getting an answer from a depressed, suicidal person and you’ll get your answer on his behalf.

Even though he does not hate life, he would have been perfectly at peace if he were never born. It isn’t as if he prefers not to exist, it’s just that existence doesn’t matter to him. The question of life is moot. Meaningful life is an oxymoron. This indifference might seem cruel or pompous, depending if you love him or not, but that’s what the truth is and he’s unable to change it. Multiple times, he has tried shouting at the sky, demanding the universe some sort of an answer, but he has never got one.

Now, he has given up shouting. He isn’t tired of shouting; only that, now he feels he should be occupied with things that make him happy. Today, he has his memories that he treasures, a life that is a source of happiness and clarity of what life is about and why one must enjoy it at all costs.


  1. “His constant contemplation on death has inevitably made an impression on his intuition, further strengthening his resolve that one’s short life on this planet, even though meaningless, should never be sad.”

    But this is not always in our hands.We can change our PERSPECTIVE to certain things or change certain circumstances but some situations are beyond our reach.Plus,some human brains are programmed genetically to obsess over things that one cannot change resulting in depression although this might be completely irrational

  2. Paras, an excellent article. Takes a dip dive in the ocean of life, dissecting tiniest shade from the countless. Well written both objectively and subjectively.

    Many a times, I too get engulfed with the same feeling of meaninglessness, not depressed, still look like the one. Find it very hard to express this feeling to others, or to face others.

    How you see changing the mode from meaningless to meaningful, for example:
    Does it sound “really” meaningful, or its still pompous in the overall scheme of existence?

  3. @Vicky: it’s not meaningful. “Meaning” is a heavy term and we cannot confuse it with something that provides happiness or increases our well-being.

  4. Okay, have used wrong word “meaning”…it should be all activities that fills our infinite voidness. We strongly cling to all sorts of activities to fill our emptiness, and importantly to avoid confronting our own meaningless self.

  5. A single thought evokes two very contrasting feeling.

    At one moment, life seems pointless, aimless. What are we living for? Why are we here at all? We are busy creating goals for ourselves which are as pointless as our lives, who cares even if you conquer this world. All it will take is just one gamma ray to turn this whole solar system of our to ashes in a matter of milliseconds. And here we are busy earning money (I like to call it printed paper), which is a worthless thing in itself but we humans gave it the power to run our lives. How ironic it is, that something which we created to make our lives simpler is now taking that very life of our away from us. We are not living at all, everyone is just busy busting there asses for money leading a monotonous life going to work everyday to meet people who hate their job. How can you maintain a positive attitude amidst an ocean of negativeness? It is so damn difficult.

    And this very thought gives one the feeling to live in the moment. To enjoy one’s existence. Since we don’t have answers to our basic question, and death can meet us anytime, anywhere. We want to live every moment to the fullest. Be happy and enjoy every second we breathe. Why waste this gift called life?

    And then comes the society, which will pull you down with all the power it has. They won’t let you live on your terms. They are suffering and they want you to suffer too, they want to imprison you, make you wear a band, keep a tab on you. Sheer enslavement. They feel trapped and they want to trap you too, but they don’t see that no one is trapped, they are free to. It’s they themselves who are holding their chains, it’s all in their head they are being slaved by themselves. You try to help them, but they don’t want to come out of the well. And they have chained your leg too. Now, even when you try to fly away from them you are stuck. It feels like a helpless bird flattering her wings to fly in the sky, away from the well of doomed, she is flattering with all her might, but she is chained crying helplessly for help to release her. But her companions are nowhere to be found. She looks up in the sky to seek motivation and she gets one when she reads any such article. Finds a companion in this struggle, which will end soon.

    So, thanks for this article. It feels great to see that there are people who can see beyond the screen, who atleast have a glimpse of reality.

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