I’d Stand In The Rain With Sartre

When I think of how humans have dealt with some growing catastrophe, a few things stick out.  There are many people who are ignorant of the problem.  Even the gross outlines.  This is a sizable number.  Then there are people who don’t want to know about the disasters before they actually happen.  This presents a tougher issue.  Not only are they ignorant, but they don’t want to think about bad things happening, much less talk about the details.  How it might affect them.  Again, this number is quite large. There also are people who know.  But almost always they possess a sense of foreboding.  They become paralyzed in the face of overwhelming forces just outside their door.  These are the sort of people who hope for the best and try to stay positive.  This number is not as large as either the first two groups, but still significant.  Finally, there is a relatively small number who know, want to know more, and act upon what they know.  Sometimes they can slow the looming problem, but usually they get swept up with the other three categories of people and fall into the lake of fire.

All of them interlinked.

Everybody burned alive.

The Jews, Communists, progressives, democrats, foreigners, constitutionalists, LGBTQs, Gypsies, petty criminals, the mentally and physically afflicted, the independent-minded, avant-garde artists, and a whole hosts of naysayers fit into the above classifications during the 1930s in Germany and Austria.  Recognition of what was happening came too late for most of them and they were killed by the Nazis.  The madness spread outward and soon enough the entire world was engulfed.

I find this notion depressing.  I’ve fallen into melancholia.  So, naturally, I turn to Sartre’s book Nausea.  I can’t say it’s the best thing I’ve ever read, but if one is going to trot towards the end of the world, it’s a good mate. Why?  Because it’s a testament to the human voice, in all of its imprecision, detail, boredom, sadness, happiness, foolishness, regret, guilt … it is a book for people who are not insane, but perhaps think they are going insane.  While reading, I often feel like taking Sartre in my hands and slapping the fuck out of him.  But then I realize that my thoughts come in the same way as his, the same way as yours.  We are all helpless in this respect.  We have no real control over what we think or feel.  We know not where we are going or how we will get there.  There are bases of our existence which are important, to me anyway.  These are mostly geographic or astral phenomena.  Outside of that, there are other people, the ones we love, the ones we read, the ones we touch.  But then, over time, we come to realize that we don’t really know who these people are, what constitutes the secret fiber of their being.  Which brings me back to Sartre and Nausea. 

He realized everything I’m saying and he hoped to give an example of how an understandable communication could go forth from one stranger to another.  He hoped that Nausea might unite us in all of our unfathomable mystery.  It is a book, ultimately, to weep over.  It is sort of the words written on our collective tombstones.  Always, we fail, can never do enough, blind upon the trail as we stumble toward the end. 

Welcome to 2022. 

I have an overwhelming sense of foreboding and paralysis and nausea.  I am the captive of Sartre, and I’m sure I would have liked the guy. HIs only problem was the excuses he made for Stalin. Otherwise, he led the sort of life I admirer. He particularly hated collaborators. Yeah, so do I.

Too bad he’s not with us now. Maybe he could help me with a phrase I keep hearing from my friends out there in the world. It goes like this, “We are so fucked.”

I wonder what he would make of that?


12 thoughts on “I’d Stand In The Rain With Sartre

    1. Yeah, he was definitely into open relationships. That one is always a minefield. So if you are going to read a book right now, I’d recommend Nausea. Go into it with a “meta POV”. Think about human kind, the approaching disaster and how we have such a hard time communicating. Really, the root of many of our problems. The situation now in the world, is set, game, match. It is over. Twenty-somethings know this. Older people are having a hard time accepting it. There are natural and political forces at work that are irreversible and will lead to big shifts in the structure of the world. Our days of getting concerned about a sports team, making good grades and getting the big job are fading into a series individual breakdowns which will lead to the end of the world as we know it. Also, when scientists predict “when” something will happen has always been optimistic. Things are becoming fucked up much more rapidly then they had predicted ten years ago. I’m not hearing “the end of this century” so much anymore. The “Doomsday Glacier” could collapse in 3 -5 years. So says a recent conference of people who should know. Methane gas is being release almost exponentially. Okay, I need to stop. You and I could go on with hundreds of indicators, but that is no longer the point. The point is, we have lost and are about to fall into the lake of fire. Nothing to be done. Ni modo. Well, you could go out and get laid. That is still a sound plan. Good luck. Duke

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually you could use the imminent collapse of the world as a pick up line. I’m guessing a 50% hit rate on that one. Yeah, we are there. Duke

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Even if these were to end up being the end times, they won’t come about like a switch getting flicked, they’ll drag out over a couple hundred years while cities slowly cover over with vines, trees, or water, like you say, and people will gradually be forced to live closer to the land like we once did. Shit will get weird relative to our current condition, and yet that weirdness will in fact be more sensible as we reconnect with nature, if only for the short time it takes for us to meet with our extinction.

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  1. Sartre would love it that you’re working on your end of world pick up lines and stand up routines – his first love was supposedly the theater. There was an absurd theater in Montreal that used to perform only his plays – one of them was over four hours long. Submersion therapy, they called it.

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    1. How are you handling all of this? There are more and more aspects of the breakdown occurring all over the world in real time. The future is now. It is here and we are witness. Such a terrible failure. I called some of my younger friends. They are terribly depressed and think there is little hope. Love. Duke

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Duke,
    Thanks for the glacier article and sad news that you sent me. Yes, I unfortunately agree with you that things are looking pretty damn grim these days. It is so hard for me to wrap my mind around so many people, and some very intelligent, that are followers of this disgusting example of a human being . The thought that he could slide by and run again in 2024 is beyond comprehension and is frankly so putrid a thought . What ever happened to our good ole days !!!! Lordy, they seem so innocent and simple now and how I miss them !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t remember if I read Nausea or not. Back in the day, I was into stuff like that but I just can’t remember. Either way, it’d be new to me. While I’m sure we’d greatly differ on the causes and meaning of the looming disaster, I too feel very overwhelmed, although I belong to the group of people who are paralyzed. Sometimes I wish I could hit the alt+ctrl+del of life and go do something else.

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