“No one deserves to live that way.” [comment to “A View from the Abyss”]
I am humbled and grateful for the quality of compassion that motivated the above commenter’s declaration and, in its literal statement, I agree with it. No one deserves to live in the state of terror, darkness, anger, futility and resignation that I experience while staring into the Abyss, no longer even clawing desparately to hang on to the edge of sanity. However, what is usually meant when people say “no one deserves to live” in any given manner, is that no one ought to live in that manner. Yet, most of those conditions so decried are necessary within the range of human existence: there will always be abject poverty, war, evil, greed, and psycho-spiritual instability. Without them, our humanity would be a meaningless single dimension. (I am not saying that striving to improve the human condition is a bad thing; in fact, I think it is our very striving to eradicate many of these conditions that we find a state of grace.)
Staring into the Abyss, acknowledging death, experiencing eternity in the endless space between heartbeats, is a necessity that gives depth of meaning to the rest of human life. The question ceases to be “why me?” and becomes instead “why not me?” If someone must travel the darkness, better that it be I and not someone else. I would not curse anyone else with my experiences, yet I am grateful for the blessedness of having experienced them.
Is that an absurd contradiction? Of course, all the mysteries are absurd.