Why Despair is the Best Teacher
I feel sorry for anyone who is in a place where he feels strange and stupid.”
― Lois Lowry
Beckett unleashed a maelstrom of controversy when Waiting for Godot first opened in Paris in 1953. The play was a brilliant metaphorical exercise (in purposeful futility) that rattled a generation reeling from Senator McCarthy's (and his minions) cold war communist witch hunt, and the continued polemic of Jim Crow laws that continued to fracture the rights of our nations citizenry.
Waiting for Godot influenced an entire generation (raised squeaky clean on Father Knows Best) to look beneath the glossy veneer of 1950's prosperity and peer into the depths of despair, alienation, and disconnectedness between class, races, and political ideology in America. And Beckett was merely scratching the surface.
But don't we need to dig even deeper? Is Beckett really saying that external chaos in the world is a direct result of our own dysfunctional relationship with ourselves?
Beckett's Waiting for Godot is not an enjoyable read (or watching the play) nor is it supposed to be. But the themes Beckett touches on are as contemporary as ever (especially now that social media and the internet have redefined how a generation communicates and socializes).
But you cannot blame social media or society for feeling disconnected and alienated in day to day life. Because at any moment of the day you can turn off your iPhone, delete your social media accounts, and limit your internet use. You cannot blame your friends, colleagues at work, or family either.
If you feel disconnected, empty and alienated in your world it is not your external environment that needs to change. It is how you perceive your external world and the toxic goop in your heart that needs to change.
Life has a way of throwing some major chazerie (sh*t) at us from time to time. It is what we do with the lessons learned from the bad things that happen to us (that like a muscle) build courage and resilience or wanton alienation and self loathing.
So the next time you are feeling despair and disconnected in your world (even if your finances and love life could be better) get very quiet.
In that quiet space take a moment to listen carefully to your inner dialogue. If your self talk is negative and filled with self loathing the anecdote is simple. Quiet your inner madness. Than watch how your world will slowly improve.