I need you to assure me that I have a purpose because I really want to die. Please.
I can’t promise you that you have purpose, because I don’t understand this world any better than you do. I guess you could call me an optimistic nihilist, if you needed to. I don’t know if there is any such thing as a higher calling or deeper meaning to life, but maybe, just maybe, purpose ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. And maybe that’s just fine.
I don’t think anybody’s got this shit figured out. Not really. Plenty of people say they do, but I suspect they’re trying to convince themselves of that as much as anything. We look back through history and we see all these people with grand lives and great adventures and think, There they are: the heroes. But it’s us that make them special by turning the spotlight in their direction… in their own heads, they’re just as bewildered and flawed as anybody else. Destiny is in the eye of the beholder.
I don’t know you, and I don’t know what’s going on in your mind, but I suspect I’m right when I say you probably don’t really want to die. I think you want to avoid suffering… perhaps sleep dreamlessly for a few centuries and wake up when the world’s a little less cruel and a little more kind. Maybe then it’ll feel more like home.
We can’t do that yet. If we could, I don’t imagine there would be a single soul on this planet who wouldn’t go for that. This isn’t an easy place for gentle hearts, and it never has been - but it’s ours. This is your slice of the universe, your chapter in history, your little space of the cosmos to carve out for yourself and make it worthwhile. You alone are witness to a million secrets, happening all around you, every day. We’ve had many thousands of years to argue back and forth about the purpose of life, and the only conclusion we’ve really come to is that it’s worth trying - to be just, to be kind, to be fair, and to be compassionate. To others, yes, but also to yourself.
Things changes. The world, the people, your situation, your feelings, your brain chemistry… and yes, sometimes, they change for the better. We can help make that happen, a little bit at a time. If we have any purpose in life, any duty, I think it’s that - saving what we can of the world, including ourselves. It’s not always glamorous, not always the stuff of legends or biographies, but it’s important, and it’s worth it.
‘Cause maybe one day we’ll wake up and the world really will feel like home.
SST 029. 1984. After the oddity that was the Family Man record here we have the band being relatively normal. At this point it is clear that Kira was totally locked in and a new, more swinging version of Black Flag was born. I think that even though these songs were mostly written at the same time as My War there is a slightly more optimistic, less nihilistic vibe to this set. It’s no party record but it definitely has a smile on its face.
Is there such a thing as being an Optimistic Nihilist because I’m pretty sure I’m that.
“Yeah, sure life is just meaningless chaos, there’s no justice in the world, nothing makes sense and everything anyone could possibly care about is essentially unimportant, but I still really like people and wow music is really cool and that flower is pretty and maybe something nice will happen tomorrow haha lol whatevs."