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The Dangerous Question


What if this life is not the life I really wanted? What if I really did not have a vocation?--and I only imagined or thought, even created the illusion itself, that I had one. What if I am not happy with my relationships?--that it is no longer love which enjoins me to others but merely custom and convenience. What if I am not happy with myself?--and that these smiles are the smiles of despair, ready give it all up at the slightest provocation: it is so easy to die. What if what I cautiously call "my faith" is really non-belief, even wrong, even a bastard faith? What if I hate life and imagine being otherwise?--but am only afraid to admit it. What if there is no reason for the  optimism that the best years are still to come?--and that in reality the best moments of my life have long passed, and what remains of my days will be repetition at best, and if not an inevitable tragedy no god can redirect. What if all is really vanity?--should I not then indulge in lust, pleasure, extravagance since there is no more point in reining in my passions and always chastising myself. What if the point was really to take than to give, that there's really no good in being good? What if God is dead and everything is permitted? What if those close to me and those who supposedly regard me well, really despise me and think me arrogant; it is easier to deceive friends than strangers. What if I am really alone? What if I really want to be alone.

Victorio Edades. Joan in a Red Dress.



  1. Anonymous12/07/2010

    Your "what ifs" are alive, pressing, even momentous for some, or maybe even for most. In a crass sense, aren't we all just participating in betting games orchestrated by both our contingencies and actions?

    Yet, can we also not proclaim, like A. Gramsci: "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will." For despite our unchosen conditions, we participate in the construction of our lives, so that we may relegate the intensity of the "what ifs" within the hidden darkness of our beings. That's how we keep still, that's how we stay sane, that's how we lull our fears to sleep. That's the very least that we can do.

    This knack for provocative writing, The Saint - you move your voice well. I just hope this woeful affair with words doesn't translate to tired, exasperated eyes.

  2. Try as we might to hide our "What ifs" by excuse of this happiness or through the blessing of that forgetfulness, they are always there ready rear their ugly heads, waiting to be summoned in our moments of lucidity. The point, perhaps, is not to hide them, but to face them, though this may mean always having to doubt, to fear, and to be alone. But, of course, such anxiety can be too much for anybody. And so we move along, deny having those moments of doubt (replying "Nothing's wrong" to a concerned face), discard those questions that not only question our motives and actions but are very existence as well. Yes, the will indeed could be very helpful when we do not understand: it makes it possible for us to decide without having to reach certainty, to go on living without having to always fear life.

    It happens, though, that it is the very will which weakens. And when that happens those "What ifs" undermine the very weak foundations (and they will always be weak because, let's say, they're "contingent" as you put it). Then the comedy begins.

    Thank you, my friend. But it need not be about me.

  3. Looking at it again, I resonate with this line: A. Gramsci: "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will."

    The things you did not see before.


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