My friend Charles Rogers is, as always, full of both knowledge and wisdom. On his blog he likes to review books that have touched his heart and/or brain.
At the moment he and I are discussing a rather dystopian novel, “Never let me go”, written by Kazuo Ishiguro.
The message of that book is that life is not a rose garden. Instead life can be seen as a bumpy pathway full of disappointments and broken expectations. But at the same time, as Charles Rogers puts it, even a blind hog can sometimes find an acorn to eat; i.e. life contains both tricks and treats.
One of the many important messages from both Kazuo Ishiguro and Charles Rogers is that childhood matters – all life long.
Life is about how to endure living. How to survive in an a world loaded with atrocities and trying to do the best out of what is happening and evolving before your eyes.
Such questions and topics tend to lead to religion, or rather religious beliefs. In fact, eschatology can be defined as a part of theology, physics, and futurology, concerned with what are believed to be the final events of history, the ultimate destiny of humanity.
And that’s why I want to reblog this blog post.
To make it clearer for my own followers, I now add a comment that I wrote in the comment field of Mr. Rogers’ blog post. So now I quote myself (not only to inflate my own ego:
Now, after reading both the original review and this “supplement”, I come to think of what Schopenhauer once said/wrote: “In our early youth we sit before the life that lies ahead of us like children sitting before the curtain in a theater, in happy and tense anticipation of whatever is going to appear. Luckily we do not know what really will appear.”
Or in my own, more banal, words: The goal (of our lives) is, of course, of big interest, but what really matters is what happens during our life’s journey towards that goal.
Harshly speaking, the end station of our lives is always DEATH.
We will all arrive at that end station some day in our lives.
So why focus on that gloomy and dreadful “goal”?
IMHO it’s much better to try to live NOW – and try to do the best you can while living.
There is no second try for you (unless you are a true believer in religious bullshit dogmas).
Then the conclusion must be: Why not, like Kazuo Ishiguro (and now also Charles Rogers), instead, move the attention to our childhood. where it all starts?
Much of our lives revolves around that period of life – even later on, after entering adulthood.
Being a child means being malleable – and full of expectations. You have your whole (at least almost) in front of you.
Some of us are lucky to be born into a – put in your words, Mr. Rogers – “loving environment in which [to be] reared and educated”.
Others, like me, drew a blank.
I think most of us draw blanks.
That is, we grow up—if we are lucky—in security and wonder, and afterwards we are delivered to the grotesque goals of life, that usually are not chosen by us.
Therefore it’s not hard for me to agree with you, Charles, that “it can’t be insignificant that [Kazuo Ishiguro] was born in Nagasaki only fifteen years after an atomic bomb leveled it”.
Vestigia terrent! (The footprints are frightening!)
You can’t avoid being influenced, both consciously and unconsciously, of your heritage.
In fact, it’s impossible to evade your sociocultural and genetic heritage.
That’s why I, the atheist, “believe” that folks, in order to survive their perceived Weltschmerz – find it easier to start believing in Hidden Causal Agents (HCAs) a.k.a. gods.
It’s so easy, and sometimes also comforting, to close down one’s critical thinking and instead become a true believer.
In short, many people prefer to enter into a kind of cocooned version of reality, hoping that such a choice (I doubt it is of “free will”) will provide some psychological comfort.
I now want to pose this question to you, KK: Have you seen – or heard of – the movie “Brazil” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazil_(1985_film) ?
I myself imagine that there are some simlilarities between Kazuo Ishiguro (or his dystopian novel) and that movie.
The protagonist enters his own little fantasy world and feels at peace living there, obviously oblivious to the grim reality that is taking place outside his own little comfortable “bubble”.
The message is clear: You can’t evade your past. But, and this is important, you ARE able to influence the one you are today and, maybe, at least partly, the one you’re going to be tomorrow.
As far as I understand it, Kazuo Ishiguro is a dystopian author. But, if I have understood your book review correctly, Charles, life is still – and will always be – about never to surrender too easily to setbacks and misfortune.
We all have to understand, and accept, that life contains both tricks and treats.
And that the choice is partly yours. Cf. the controversial view that depression is a learnt “behavior”.