I've been thinking about quotes today, which is perhaps a waste of time, because I should really be considering muscle origins and the histology of the female reproductive track. Nevertheless, quotes have been besieging my mind, and I think I've just worked out why. What's that famous quote? You know the one. It runs something like, "if you're going through hell, keep going." Which is all very neat and clever, but seems somehow glib to me right now. Not that I have the angst-ridden right to compare five weeks of pre-exam revision to the firey lair of The Morning Star, not really. But the quote does rather assume a knowledge of what lands lay on the far side of hell, and how nice things will be when you actually get there. What if after hell, things just get worse? What if there is nothing beyond hell but a whole sequence of hell sequels, each one more ghastly and terrible than the last? Maybe bloody-minded determination doesn't always win you your hearts' desire. Maybe sometimes all bloody-minded determination brings you is a bloody nose.
I suppose what I'm questioning really is the assumption that giving up is somehow automatically the wrong thing to do. But then, I feel prejudiced at the moment, and very sympathetic towards the spirit of weakness and capitualtion. Oh, how lovely it would be to drop everything and fly away into the great blue yonder. I could get a beat-up old car - the kind with no front suspension and a squeal you can hear from half a mile away when you turn a corner too fast - and just take off, man, just go. What kind of painfully polite, middle-class Karouak wannabe figure would I cut, I wonder, trying to pull off dark glasses and a cheap cowboy hat bought at Woolworths? Trying to swagger as if I had not a care in the world, and then apologising profusely whenever I came within half a metre of brushing against someone.
Maybe I just feel trapped, maybe that's what's got me thinking of the beat generation when I should be considering the cardiac cycle of a beating heart. I feel trapped here at university, caged in a dream I've worked for more than half a decade to gain the chance of dreaming. But I know that if I just took off - just ran like some wilder half would have me do - then all I'd achieve is the translocation of my prison.
"My prison". Hah. I am growing angsty in my (late young) age. Oh, woe is me. It feels so pathetic to be complaining about this when really my life is nothing but sweets and privilage. That knowledge doesn't stop me feeling bad though; it just makes me feel bad and guilty and weak.
What scares me isn't the four or five weeks of revision ahead of me, or even the poisonous exams that lie at the end. If that was all, I could quite happpily drop my head into my books and emerge only occasionally to graze on cheap processed meat and battered chips. What bothers me is the fear that somehow, from now on, it will always be like this. I hate being bound to things - although of course, the reality is that binding is a required part of life, and without it we'd all just float away and be lost - I hate having my every moment proscribed.
What's the truth then? What would I really be free of? Free of worries? Free of commitments? Free of obligations? But friendships are obligations. Relationships are commitments. Loved ones are worries, constant, constant worries. Everything worth having means the immolation of freedom.
Probably it's part of the deal, in the contract you sign on the early side of existence - "You wanna be human? No problem, just sign here...don't worry about the small print there, it's just a few articles about the unsolvable dichotomies of reality and conciousness, pay it no heed, pay it no heed..."
Oh well, that is my name on the document, I suppose...