STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
(OR) HOW TO DEAL WITH AN EXISTENTIAL CRISIS
Existential crises are the second-cruelest irony of life; the cruelest irony of life being, of course, life itself.
So says the tale of a certain Mr. Oooga Hooga, tall of stature, purple of bulbous tongue, yellow of equine front teeth and a prehistoric cave dweller. Mr. Oooga Hooga today holds the distinction of being the first humanoid to have had an existential crisis, and is thought by scientists to have heralded an important stage in the evolution of Homo sapiens. In his time, of course, Mr. Hooga simply held the distinction of being considered undeniably bonkers by the rest of his sub-species.
Legend and the writings of the Group for the Recapitulation and Understanding of Necromantic Theories (GRUNT) hold that it was when he and other members of his group were hiding in an incredibly small cave that God saw fit to shower him with enlightenment. When the limited supply of air in that cramped cave was reverberating with Pleistocene grunts that meant something to the effect of “Shit, man, Saber-tooths be mad…dangerous to our survival and shit!”, our man swaggered out of the cave and regally announced “Think about it, though. Why do we survive? For what? Why do we do the things that we do? What is the meaning of it all?”
Theologists the world over agree that this was the precise moment at which God seemed to have perfected his dark sense of humour.
The other cavemen were too busy pondering the meaning of life to notice that a saber-toothed cat had just made off with Mr. Oooga Hooga’s head.
And so it came to pass, the first existential crisis: a prolonged grumbling about one’s purpose in life, nowadays followed by the cathartic consumption of unreasonable quantities of coffee and chocolate covered doughnuts.
Note that this is not to be confused with the idea that life doesn’t give a rat’s poopoo about one searching for its meaning, and what’s more, rather cheerfully suggests that meaning is in fact impossible to find – a phenomenon referred to as an ‘encounter with the absurd’.
And note, furthermore, that this is definitely not to be confused with a mid-life crisis, which is what happens when one realizes that one is dangerously close to becoming an old fart and hasn’t accomplished anything of significance.
People who are faced with the meaninglessness of their lives report feeling, in addition to the existential weight of humankind upon their shoulders, a perpetual gloominess, exhaustion, crankiness, and laziness – in other words, exactly the same as people who are not faced with the meaninglessness of their lives.
One popular psychiatrist (whose office sits smack in the middle of a Renaissance fair) suggests trepanning as a solution to existential problems. Another popular psychiatrist was too busy diagnosing a pair of plus sized jeggings with Dissociative Identity Disorder and self esteem issues to suggest solutions.
Al Moore, former terrorist and present smoldering pile of ash, when contacted through a seance, maintained (after an initial gargling of random syllables) that suicide solved many of his existential problems. We, however, hold that suicide is quite difficult to pull off (and not worth the effort, to be honest being dead is rather boring) and instead recommend joining any one of the three major religions of the world – CENSORED, CENSORED, and DEFINITELY NOT CENSORED – the scriptures of all of which state in no uncertain terms that existential crises are expressions of infidelity and should hence be punished by disembowelment.
What the scriptures conveniently forget to mention is that God himself is frequently subject to existential crises – the worst being the one where he ended up creating a bunch of frail bipeds to worship him and validate his existence. Subsequent existential crises have had him randomly massacre large masses of those bipeds in imaginative ways in order to ensure that the rest of them continue worshipping him.
The other popular psychiatrist, however, begs to differ. He views God’s destructive tendencies to be a result of his frustration over his impotence. As evidence he points out that God had always displayed a dislike for the tall structures that humans have a habit of building – beginning with the Tower of Babel, about which reliable historical sources say “the Lord sent a mighty wind against the tower and overthrew it upon the earth”.
At this point we would like to let you know that the good doctor’s views do not necessarily reflect ours. In fact a statistically significant fraction of us feel that God is on the whole a rather pleasant fellow who at that time was disappointed by the fact that humans, with all the resources and brainpower and opposable thumbs they had been gifted, chose to validate their existence by building a three-hundred foot penis.
Interesting as penises may be, a slightly more statistically significant fraction of us would like to get back to the subject of this article.
Tianhe-5, our resident misanthropist, says that existential crises are essentially a product of the conflict between the religiously held belief that there exists a purpose for humanity as a whole (as well as each individual human) and the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any. This betrays an even deeper assumption that we are somehow superior to all other species because we have been specially chosen by God – the same assumption that led one grumpy Roman to conclude that the Earth was the center of the solar system, and a hundred other grumpy Romans in crimson robes to set anyone who suggested otherwise on fire, all the while ignoring the fact that God clearly liked sea slugs more than Homo sapiens.
Hence, the healthiest solution to existential problems would be to accept our insignificance in the face of the universe, the illusory nature of life and its impermanence, as suggested by eastern existentialists such as Kung Fu Tzu, Siddharta Gautama, Kim Jong Un, and Varvara (an up and coming Russian scientist/philosopher/mystic who is given to frequent musings on the nature of life and how best to murder a watermelon).
We, however, recommend a process of systematic denial and lying to yourself until you are convinced that you know everything about life and can now write articles like this.