Thursday, 18 January 2018

Beckett’s Negative

Every day I wake and am flooded with optimism and intrigued not to say excited by the phenomenon of being alive. I know this is wrong and that I should adopt a more pessimistic demeanour consonant with the human condition, its woes and its undeniable limitations and the ultimate limitation that its term will, one day, be truncated. However, all my attempts to adopt a suitably lugubrious mien are sabotaged by a spirit at work within me which is allied to the endlessly renewing biological rhythms secretly at play, also within me. As an antidote to this foolish and wholly unjustified optimism my Doctor has prescribed me regular readings of Samuel Beckett which I have tried, oh how I have tried, with diligence and application but always to no avail. Just when I think I have achieved the requisite and proper pessimism and helplessness the biological and Circadian rhythms, between my being and which not even a cigarette paper might be inserted, renew and assert themselves in a way which spells disaster to pessimism and sees me indulging anew in hopeful and purposeful activity. I find my heart continuing to beat rudely, and my breathing controlled by my medulla oblongata and my autonomic nervous system, by neither of which I am consulted on the matter of its continuation. I am a clock which has been wound up and set in motion by a dispassionate clockmaker who cares little for the consequences of his action. Hunger and thirst spur me on to enjoy the pleasures of the mouth and stomach, my digestive system functions undirected by me and sexual arousal waxes and wanes unbidden and leads to a renewal of love which has a certain inevitability about it. My desire for warmth, shelter and comfort send me gaily to work each day. Weariness sends me to sleep, sleep from which I arise refreshed and invigorated in spite of myself. Each time, then, I seek to drown myself in oblivion, it seems nature is intent on casting me afresh on a shore of yellow sands bathed in sunshine on which I happily disport myself. Sooner or later, exhausted by my struggles to look on the dark side I yield and accept the disposition towards cheerfulness which prevails in me in spite of my knowledge, shared with all human kind, that my days are limited and that my flesh may be afflicted with a wide gamut of ills. In short the life in me is irrepressible and will have it no other way than that I should greet the access of the world’s stimuli to my uniquely calibrated set of senses with a smile. For this I can only apologise. Forces at work within and beyond my control make it so. In spite of the fact that I do little exercise endorphins, it seems, continue to insist on flooding my system with an insulting carelessness as to the results. I remain irritatingly and obscenely, perhaps offensively, cheerful. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I know that I sin against my times but the flesh is weak........

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