MAY EXISTENCE REST IN PEACE
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
EXISTENCE IS DEAD and may it rest in peace! For to fully exist as such, a human being must not only be self-conscious, he must be responsible for himself. He must face the anxiety of human existence, the “standing apart” of his violent diremption that pleads for the peace of redemption. The gaping wound between himself and the Other makes of him a duality within as well, a double-headed monster at war with himself.
What a miserable conflict the human life-sentence entails! What ultimate hypocrisy the underlying crisis is! Let Existence be dead then! God is dead, Nature is dead, and Existence is dead. Let the dead dogs of existentialism lie. By all means, let us put the real crisis of Existence out of mind. Let a straw man bear the cross of Existence into the desert to mark the spot where he is devoured by the hounds of hell. For our own peace of mind and physical security, let us give up trying to fathom ultimate reality, for that might lead to the regrettable realization that we are somehow responsible for Existence, thus the awful burden of choice would be upon us.
Happiness, the greatest good of the greatest number, is the work of the invisible System; therefore, may we appear to choose ourselves but not be responsible for the consequences. After all, we are not paid to think about what is really crucial, are we? That is definitely not our job! Yes, please leave us alone! “Nothing exists” should mean that nothing “stands apart” from the System, so why would anyone in their right mind want to conjure up the agony of alienated, individual, human existences, the essence of which is Existence? The objectivists know we are unreal as independent willing and thinking subjects, and that we are virtually real only as a superficial WE, as subjects thrown beneath the feet of the sovereign objective System. Hence our personal liability is necessarily limited to our insignificance, is it not? If something goes wrong, then, sue the corporation and the taskmasters. The officers and directors and their insurance companies, but please leave us alone as individuals. Independent individuals are not supposed to exist!
Indeed, may Existence rest in peace! Who cares to pursue the true meaning of Existence, to know the very horror of it? Well, yes, of course some pitiful fools do. Every system beholden to the System has its deviants. Many perverts like to suffer the quest for the painful meaning of Existence on a part-time basis. They never figure out what is really going on, yet still put one foot in the fire for the thrill of it. When it starts to burn, they stumble back to the herd.
Those who pursue the meaning of Existence on a full-time basis might understand Existence some day, but it’s too late to do much about it by then. One might insist that sour is sweet. Another might moan and groan. The wise man might speak of the consolations of philosophy. Of the merits of dying in advance of the fact, then smile and say good riddance to the world. It has taken him so long to become wise that he already has both feet in the grave. Death redeems him from diabolical alienation; for facing Existence is like looking evil in the face; even a glimpse of Existence is an appalling view of a real horror show.
Plenty of casual thinkers do get a peek at the Horror of horrors when they imitate wise old men for a few entertaining hours; violence does have its morbid attractions. Nevertheless, most peeping necrophiliacs hide their faces from the blinding Sun lest they realize too soon the scorching brunt of the absolute truth about themselves and be relieved of their apparent command over the situation.
No, we are not responsible for the System; our reforms are merely virtual tweaking of the status quo; radical reform spells revolution and death. Nothing can really be done about Existence. In the final analysis, nothing returns to Nothing, and nothing can be done about Nothing. The alienation of separate, relative human existences, of Existence, is illusion, is virtual, is almost but not quite real.
Really, there is no real Existence, so why suffer by false analogy the anomalies of time and space merely because we physically exist? Therefore may we avoid the alienated individual freedom of the dead end of existentialist thinking. Progress has taken its inevitable course to the end of history. God is dead. Nature is dead. Existence is dead. May Existence rest in peace.