Why Life Is Utter Hell
Because Nothing Tastes Quite Like the Cold Hard Truth
"One does not become enlightened
by imagining figures of light,
but by making the darkness
- C. G. Jung
. . . or is is it really . . . utter, utter hell?
In our daring pursuit of answers to the fundamental questions of the universe, your valiant LiveReal Agents have found themselves confronted by a few basic questions (is life good, or bad?) on a personal level (is life fun, or is it, shall we say, utter hell?)
In heartily following these questions wherever they lead us, we have no option but to try to examine not only the bright side of life, but . . . well, the less bright side.
Although life may be full of hard, cold, brutal facts . . . well, that will not keep us from doing our job.
(Warning: This little section tends to have a somewhat dampening effect on unrealistically positive moods, and is best when used with precaution and taken in small doses.)
(Editor's Note. The following article was compiled
by one of our less-than thrilled LiveReal Agents who had been in
somewhat of a bad mood for a few years or so. Still, don't shoot
- or even get mad at, really, or complain about - the messengers.
We didn't make things this way, we're just dutifully reporting them.)
Life is definitely not a bowl of cherries.
You come into the world screaming. You're welcomed with a slap, weighed like a head of cabbage, and stuffed into a box.
"Birth is suffering;
Decay is suffering;
Death is suffering;
Sorrow, Lamentation, Pain, Grief and Despair are suffering;
not to get what one desires is suffering;
The Five Aggregates of Existence
- The Buddha
Pessimists are often attacked and criticized by optimists for being too pessimistic. Yet the optimists are, for some reason, surprised that this strategy rarely changes the opinions of the pessimists.
We spend our lives struggling to survive. It's our most urgent task; it's what we typically care about above everything else. And we're destined to fail.
After we're gone, the fact of the matter is that world will get along just fine without us, and the vast majority of the world won't even notice, much less care, that we're gone.
must have been some kind of a mistake."
- Arthur Schopenhauer
human life must be some kind of mistake
is sufficiently proved by the simple observation
that man is a compound of needs which are hard to satisfy;
- that their satisfaction achieves nothing
but a painless condition
in which he is only given over to boredom . . ."
- Arthur Schopenhauer
"The Good Guys," based on all available evidence, definitely do not always win.
it's actually pretty darn fuzzy figuring out who the good guys even
"Painkillers," in the long run, often make things more painful.
"Antidepressants" often make us more depressed.
Kids often scream a lot when they're born. There are reasons why they scream.
"Many men do not know
what to do with themselves:
they reel from purpose to purpose,
spend half a day driving to a ball game,
scramble for seats, freeze while they watch,
scramble for their cars before the game is over to beat the worst rush,
and reach home late at night,
having spent another day off
to which they had looked forward to during the week."
- Walter Kaufman
are definitely things justifying pessimism."
- D.T. Suzuki
Parents, definitely, do not know everything.
all our lives for a measure of comfort and peace. If we find a little
comfort, we want a little more. If we get a little more, we want
it to last. If it lasts, it gets boring. Return to step one, and
A person can get a fleet of theology degrees from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Duke, and dozens of other places, and still not be able to give a satisfactory answer to a child asking why God invented poison ivy or mosquitoes.
is possible to live only as long as life intoxicates us;
once we are sober we cannot help seeing
that it is all a delusion,
a stupid delusion!"
- Leo Tolstoy
Many people are well-meaning, good-intentioned, doing-the-best-they-can, jerks.
Trying can be the first step on the road to failure.
We are destined to spend our entire lives under a variety of compulsions: we must eat, sleep, drink, eliminate wastes properly, find an appropriate mate . . . if we fail to respond to these compulsions properly, we are rewarded with more pain.
Even, in its own ways, for the rich, the powerful, the talented, the beautiful . . . life is still hard.
As the saying goes,
"the one thing we should learn from experience is that we do
not learn from experience." Thus far, it does not seem to be
the case the wisdom is cumulative; each generation, in general,
makes about the same mistakes as the generations before it.
the only true dignity of man
is his capacity to despise himself."
- George Santayana
All happy feelings, fade away. So do the unhappy ones.
is a hospital
in which every patient is possessed by the desire of changing his bed.
One would prefer to suffer near the fire,
and another is certain he would get well
if he were by the window."
- Charles Baudelaire
Reruns, remakes, and remakes of reruns.
is a constant oscillation
between the sharp horns of a dilemma."
- H. L. Mencken
We look out into nature,
and see an incessant churning about of animals
and plants trying desperately to keep alive. All of them will fail, too.
"Life swings like a pendulum
backward and forward
between pain and boredom."
- Arthur Schopenhauer
Old Yeller, and Bambie's mom.
"All of life is a struggle.
It's a struggle just to get out of bed in the morning.
You're fighting gravity all day long."
- Richard Rose
We are, for the most part, either conscious of our misery, or unconscious of our misery.
Pollyanna was wrong.
is like an onion:
you peel off layer after layer
and then you find there is nothing in it."
- James Gibbons Huneker
Giants" don't really get along with each other.
is a God-damned, stinking, treacherous game
and nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of a thousand are bastards."
- Theodore Dreiser
Most things we want,
we will not get. Most of the time, if we do get them, we will not
be satisfied with them for long.
Most goals and dreams we have, we probably won't realize. But, even if we do realize the goals and dreams we have, we'll probably discover that it were the wrong goal or dream to start with. So, we starting working on another one.
. . take high abstracted man alone; and he seems a wonder, a grandeur
and a woe.
But from the same point, take mankind in the mass,
and for the most part,
they seem a mob of unnecessary duplicates . . ."
- Herman Melville
sometimes, kill people.
We slave away, working very hard for our entire lives. Why, and good does it do? Normally, we have no idea why, we just do.
hear that all of creation is 'for the glory of God,'
and we cannot help but ponder
the quality of glory that must be rendered
from the reduction of millions of beautiful beings
into soul-less, senseless fertilizer."
- Richard Rose
Doctors, sometimes, make people sick.
Just take a glance at the news. That's all you need to do.
the great game of human life
one begins by being a dupe
and ends by being a rogue."
has constructed things in the following manner: with predictable
consistency, nature, by design, makes arguably the most innocent,
gentle, and perceptive beings on the planet (little children) completely
naive, powerless, inarticulate, and utterly dependent on what are
often ignorant, obsessed, half-sane, power-hungry beings who gave
birth to them.
"There are moments
when I teeter on the edge of belief that nature cares.
The occasion may be mundane. I may be raking leaves of a gray fall day,
drinking a glass of wine with my wife, Suzie, on our deck at sunset,
waiting with my son and daughter at the end of the driveway
for the morning school bus to arrive.
Gratitude wells up in me as a kind of yearning, as strong as hunger or sexual desire.
I want to thank someone, something, for all that I have . . .
. . . (Yet) A God who deserves thanks
for my good fortune, I had to remind myself,
also deserves blame for the misery of countless others.
Thanking this God for all I have would be obscene.
I would be saying, in effect, "Thank you, God,
for not screwing me
like you've screwed all those other poor bastards."
- John Horgan
Those individuals who think that life, under normal conditions, is utter hell, often become targets of those who don't think the same. Thus, those individuals are routinely criticized, insulted, mocked, misunderstood, ganged up upon, set up to be humiliated, and called names. This typically is not successful in changing their opinion,
"If a man could understand
all the horror of the lives of ordinary people
who are turning round in a circle of insignificant interests and insignificant aims,
if he could understand what they are losing,
he would understand that there can be only one thing that is serious for him -
to escape from the general law, to be free.
What can be serious for a man in prison who is condemned to death?
Only one thing: how to save himself, how to escape: nothing else is serious."
- G. I. Gurdjieff
Just read a few history books.
Everything in the universe is eating everything else.
The horror! "
- Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness
and Marlon Brando, Apocalypse Now
Death is an inevitable certainty.
Lots of people say that death isn't the end. But what do they know?
Those who commit suicide hope that dying will solve the problem. It might not. It might even make things worse.
". . . But the time came when I stopped growing;
I felt that I was not growing but drying up.
My muscles were growing weaker, my teeth were falling out,
and I saw not only that this law explained nothing to me . . . "
- Leo Tolstoy