No, coffee and books can’t be the meaning of life although a million Tumblr pictures are stubbornly trying to refute me.
They, generally speaking, are two things I really love, I can do without but don’t want to and, finally, they’re not always nice. In fact, for about a month now I’ve been drinking coffee that’s not too nice and the book I am reading at the moment (The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott) doesn’t really grab me and never lets me go the way the book before did (Along the Abandoned Roads by Philip Lhamsuren – I recommend it awfully much (unfortunately, I think it’s not translated into English)).
A few days ago I thought about this: if I don’t like these two things, why don’t I just quit them?
I know that, at first reading, my problem seems to occupy the narrow space between the categories of “idiotic” and “insignificant” but if we look at it metaphorically (the way I look at all things around me, for which I’ll blame my philological education till the rest of my life) the things change radically.
I keep on drinking the bad coffee and reading the not so interesting book with the main reason behind both things being my personal law of “the order and justice of the little things in daily life.” This law doesn’t allow me to throw food provided that at the same moment the tasteless thing spreads its wings and flies towards the dustbin, somewhere in the world a person might die of starvation. It doesn’t allow me to leave the book unread with the reason behind this being not so much justice but, rather, some (absurd) order complemented by the everlasting hope that the situation will improve further on or at least that the ending will be good.
The way I treat these two things is extremely important because it shows my attitude towards life as a whole.
That’s me. I don’t suddenly quit the unpleasant things I’ve taken up. I’m passive. I wait until they either finish by themselves or get replaced by something else. I prefer the things to have an ending because this way the transition into something new is easier and natural. I don’t take chances.
Reading those lines, I think, “Oh, how boring!” Yes, I’ve always been amazed by people who just throw a book they have started with the words, “I don’t intend to waste my time.” Or by people who don’t eat or drink something up because it’s not worth it. They’d rather stay hungry than acquiesce. I guess the lack of order and justice (or at least of the type of order and justice that I believe in) makes people freer and engages their minds with more significant things.
However, for good or bad (because nothing is just bad), I am of the other type. I allow for the possibility that my approach to life teaches me other valuable things such as patience and humility (not resignation) but, honestly, these are two of my most weakly developed qualities… Something isn’t right and I’m almost sure that the “un-rightness” originates from the incompatibility between what I believe in and what I actually do.
So, tell me, I’m really asking you: what’s the meaning of life? Is it for us to wait for the events and see how they are going to develop or, on the contrary, to quit them the moment we realise they’re leading us in an unwanted direction. To hope for change or to create change? To keep drinking the bad coffee until we run out of it or to throw it and open a new better coffee pack?
Unfortunately, I think I know the answers myself. And they’re in absolute contrast to my practical approach to life.
Well, not everything is lost. Hope is, indeed, one of people’s strongest quality no matter how much the contemporary cult of aggressive action is trying to undermine it. And with simple things like coffee and books, it’s not longer hope but assuredness. Because I know that there’s a pack of Lavazza on the cupboard and that my next book is going to be Dandelion Wine in English. I also know that, having experience with both things, they’re not going to bring the change I’m talking about here. But at least they have proven to be nice.
At the end of the day, if I am not dying tomorrow, my dilemma is pointless or at least not to be urgently solved.
Can I know this for sure?