Note: SPOILER ALERT for The Stranger, Slaughterhouse-Five, Rumplestiltskin and The Bell Jar
You see a flawed system for so long you become comfortable with it. You accept the life you are given. You even stop pointing out what is wrong and unjust. You lose hope. You borrow Vonnegut’s philosophy of, ‘so it goes’ and respond to every misfortune with this behaviour.
You learn to stop caring. You learn to be aloof.
When you practice this for so long, it becomes a habit.
Years down the lane, you realize you have not only grown indifferent towards the bad but you do not care about the good either. That is when you can see why Meursault was fine with going to jail.
You do not even want to commit suicide. Not caring about your existence does not always translate to being suicidal. You can just prefer to sit and stare at a wall with nothing in your mind. No plans for the future, no regret for the past, and most definitely no care for the present. One day, it will all end and you couldn’t care less for that.
Now you are used to this lifestyle. Sure, you get bouts of depression in the start but you find some twisted coping mechanism for it — humour or poetry or whatever floats your boat. With this state of mind, you find yourself being blessed with something truly magical… like the unicorn you had been asking your father to get you when you were a child and believed in the existence of unicorns… some impossible occurrence like meeting a beloved dead one… something extraordinary like love!
Yet, every trick, as Rumplestiltskin had so nicely informed us, comes with a price. When you love, you care, you are vulnerable, you are no more invincible to the emotions that once, you could have easily dismissed as trivial or unmoving. Now that you feel and now that you are hopeful, you fear and panic too. You are humane, which makes you weak.
Worst of all, you have no idea how this ‘being sensitive’ works! You had never been like this before or if at all, it was such a long time ago when you were young and foolish. You had learnt to avoid being hurt and you have evolved. All of a sudden, you find yourself amid this situation where the tiniest possible problem feels like a wound that can’t be healed.
Aren’t you a fool to accept Billy Pilgrim’s philosophy and find Meursault relatable and then fall for this trick that has a price in a currency you have run out of!
Maybe, like Esther Greenwood, you should just hope to find your Dr Nolan.
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