This is a article written by Charlie Brooker for the Guardian. I can’t be arsed to write anything tonight & this is kinda fitting for my current mood.
Here’s a sentence rarely used to open newspaper columns: why don’t the vast majority of people just blow their own heads off? You, with the coffee cup. You, with the shoes. Why are you bothering? What’s the point? Is there a point? And has anyone written it down in an easily-digestible form? With pictures? Like a Mr. Man book?
If you think that sounds a touch depressing, you’re wrong. Pointlessness is liberating. But we’ll get onto that in a minute. First, let’s consider life: the case against.
Okay. I live in London, a city where it’s hard not to look around and think, “Christ, so it’s come to this” on a daily basis. Cities are one of human civilisation’s most significant creations, and London is supposed to be one of the finest cities in the world. But it’s horrible. It’s cold, cramped, and ringing with sirens. Visually, it’s an unending collage of immense grey boxes squatting beneath immense grey clouds, surrounded by thick grey-tasting air. Your best chance of seeing a splash of colour in London is to stare at a billboard or spew on the pavement. Coincidentally, those two activities also represent the finest entertainment the city has to offer.
But it’s not just London that’s awful. You are too. And by ‘you’, I mean ‘us’. Humankind. After all, we clearly peaked about 40 years ago, and it’s been downhill ever since. For all this talk of the dazzling modern age, the two biggest advances of the past decade are Wi-Fi and Nando’s. That’s the best we can do. Meanwhile the environment’s crashing, fundamentalists and morons are at each other’s throats, God’s so disappointed he’s wished himself out of existence, and the rest of us are merely pottering around, distracting ourselves by fiddling with our iPod settings.
Ooh look I’ve changed the menu screen wallpaper. Ooh look I’ve changed it back. Ooh look I’ve – oh. A mushroom cloud. That’s annoying. How am I going to power my iPod now? The charger’s just melted. As have my hands. And I’m thinking these thoughts with a boiling molten brain bubbling through a fissure in my freshly carbonized skull. Oh well. Night night.
And even assuming the world doesn’t come to an end while you’re standing in it, the sheer scale of creation renders most existences futile. The universe is so timelessly immense, absolutely anything you say or do is meaningless by comparison. In the grand scheme of things, even mankind’s brightest stars – yer Beethovens and Shakespeares and Einsteins — are fleeting pixels, gone in the blink of a mosquito’s eye. And most of us don’t achieve anything like as much as them. In fact most of us achieve less than, say, Daniel Bedingfield.
So, to return to my opening question, why don’t the vast majority of people just blow their own heads off? The answer, presumably, is that life’s inherent meaninglessness is precisely the thing that gives it meaning in the first place. If Jesus Christ turned up tomorrow on CNN to officially announce what the point of existence was, it would ruin everything. What if it turned out to be ‘collecting teacups’? By that reckoning, most of us are failures. As it stands, none of us are. In the absence of any formal rules, the only thing required of us is basic human survival. And we might as well be upbeat about it.
Daniel Bedingfield, incidentally, worked this out some time ago and wrote a catchy, cathartic song about it – ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ — which went to number one. If he’d called it ‘Might As Well Blow My Own Head Off’ it wouldn’t have had half as much airplay. We can all learn from that. We can all learn from Daniel Bedingfield. There’s a sentence rarely used.