No Such Thing

When you really get to thinking about it, life seems impossible.

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Everything about reality feels surreal upon a more thorough analysis. How we’re even here to begin with. How we can think on the absurdity of our being here. How we can formulate our imperfect thoughts into words and put them into text.

There have been moments where questions like ‘why the hell is any of this here’ have left me in a place of existential angst and confusion, but after a good period of rest and persistent relaxed living I find myself only in a place of wonder over a question like that.

It’s a different perspective for me. Perhaps it’s a temporary one, but it’s certainly my current one. And I think wherever stress can be mitigated in life, that new approach should be embraced if the stress itself can no longer be sublimated.

I’m writing this shortly after waking up, so I’m in a place between awake and dreaming, which only compounds the surreal emotions I’m feeling. And I remember reading a long time ago that that was largely how Murakami went about writing most of his surreal feeling stories. He’d get up, half awake, sit as his desk, fade in and out of consciousness, and whenever he got the urge he’d put down something extra strange to the paper without holding back. Without worrying about making it perfect right then and there.

I love writing. But I often find myself combing back over things I’ve written and ripping them apart before they’ve ever been ready by anybody else. A tendency I’m sure most people who write have. Not necessarily an awful trait, but it becomes detrimental to productivity if it bleeds into a state of perfectionism.

Which calls to mind a personal favorite Murakami quote that has always stuck in my mind since first I read it.

“There is no such thing as perfect writing just as there is no such thing as perfect despair.”

There’s beauty in imperfection.

76 thoughts on “No Such Thing

    • Apologies JC I really thought I’d replied to this yesterday thank you so much for the kind comment!! It’s honestly crazy, I don’t know that we’ll ever have clear answers but maybe it’s best to just let the mystery add to the wonder. As always, all the best to you 🙂

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  1. I like this piece: it is well written in style and I like the idea of freeing ourselves from perfection. I decided a few years ago to liberate myself from perfection and I better for this. I have to deal with judgemental people every once in awhile, though. Someone else who is big advocate of what you call writing in the dream-awake state is Natalie Goldberg, writing mentor extraordinare & Writing Down the Bones author. She calls it “morning pages”. teareading.WordPress.com tealeaf56.wordpress.com. writingsmall.wordpress.com

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    • Thank you so much for your kind and heartfelt comment!! It’s true we can’t be constantly worried about getting things perfect, and thank you so much for the reference! I’m familiar with several of her quotes but I’ve never gone and read her works in their totality, I definitely like the approach of using writing as a sort of meditative practice though, thank you so much once again all the best to you!!

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  2. I am sure we all experience not just writing, but life in different ways, one thing I stress on my writings, it’s our subjectivity, and do not see solipsism as an isolated phenomena, or a school of thought, but our common daily experience of being. We are the only ones who are witness to our thoughts. The Japanese like to say we all have three personalities, the one most people who know us see, the one only your family members, or those close to you know, and the one only you know..
    If you give it some thought, we experience life in a total subjective way common just to ourselves. We just go pretending we somehow share ourselves, and that’s why the experience of loving can be so challenging to most people.
    Great post thank you! 🙂

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    • Wow that was fantastic thank you so much for this kind and deeply thought provoking comment!! I completely hear you on the thought that we experience life subjectively and we are all experiencing identical events in vastly different ways, and we can never properly know others as they know themselves, thank you so much once again and all the best to you!! 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for the kind comment! And that’s a beautiful perspective that imperfection is an aspect of originality, it’s one that I really need to take to heart to help alleviate my perfectionist symptoms, all the best to you!!

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    • I wholeheartedly agree! If we’re always looking for perfect we’ll never get started and we’ll definitely never finish, I’m really happy you enjoyed the post!! Thanks so much for the comment!! =D

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  3. You are right: appreciate ourself, our writing, our friends–Life–at whatever level we are and through our appreciation Life says to us: “Thank you,” and moves us toward greater ability to tap into Totality/Perfection/Consciousness/Unlimited/Perfect and be more alive, more sweet, natural, perfect

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    • From the standpoint of physics, everything is the Unified Field; there is nothing but the Unified Field.
      From the standpoint of religion, everything is God, there is nothing but God.
      So God the Unified Field plays a game of hide-and-seek; God pretends to be hidden in us and in galaxies so God have the fun of seeking, revealing and finding.
      Let us all look to the wise and open ourselves to revealing and finding.
      Today! Right now!

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  4. I read this a few days after you posted. I remember the exact moment. It was particularly stressful at work, so I decided to take a break and read this.

    While something held me back from commenting then, I’ll say it now: thank you for the continuous inspiration. It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughts 🙂

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    • Once again another inspiring comment, I really do need to take the time to get my blog moving once again thank you so much for reading and connecting with posts I’ve put up! I wish you nothing but the best Karan and feel free to comment anytime!! All the best to you!! =D

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  5. This post reflects how I feel right now. Life indeed, has been too challenging for us that it makes us wonder and wander. I really praise you for going straight to your thought with clear emphasis. Hope I’d get better in writing like you are.

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    • I really appreciate this kind and supportive comment, I don’t believe myself to be particularly eloquent in comparison with many others and I’m sure that with consistent output we can eventually produce writing that reaches the level of quality we aspire to. I’m always my own harshest critic and I can see you’re the same haha I wish you nothing but success in your writing and all the best to you!!

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    • So much truth in that quote lmao definitely one of my favorite Hemingway quotes, personal favorite has always been ‘never confuse movement with action.’ No problem at all I wish I was more familiar with racing and Nascar haha all the best to you and thanks so much for reading!!

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  6. Hi, Oscar; thanks for reading my latest post! It’s a breakthrough for me. Here, you open with the feeling of absurdity re existing at all. Have you heard of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR)? It’s an argument for the existence of God. Why is there something and not nothing? But indeed there is a world, which is sufficient reason to believe that a Creator put it here. I don’t know how to refute this logic, nor do I know who had the idea first.

    Another perspective on origin is Sartre’s notion that being sprang out of nothingness. Dunno if this belief is justified. Lucretius wrote that nothing may be made from nothing. I don’t think he implied a Creator, so maybe for him the universe has always existed. I must read _On the Nature of Things_ someday. Lucretius was a Roman poet who followed the ideas of Epicurus (Greek). This latter believed in polytheism, yet the gods are material like everything else. He thought they took no interest in human affairs and concerns.

    I agree that writing is a lot of fun, esp if someone else reads you and replies. Also, yes about imperfection. A person could drive herself to suicide with perfectionism. I knew a guy who shot himself because no song he composed was ever good enough for his internalized father. JP was an AA and a brilliant musician, but who suffered from chronic depression. No medication could help him much. Therefore, yes it is better to accept imperfection and proceed to the next inspiration.

    Thanks again for liking my post. Hope to hear from you soon! I’m curious about your influences. Have any recommendations for when I have a little money?

    Your friend,
    Rob

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    • No prob Rob! It was an interesting perspective you had in your post that there aren’t any intrinsic divine moral constructs that we’re expected to conform to and it’s something I’ve often wondered about. I’ve definitely struggled with questions about why we exist, you’ve laid out here a lot of the thoughts I’ve had at different points in my life, and all too often I’ve questioned if a Higher Power cares about human affairs, and it’s difficult to refute the logic of many who think on how we came to be created in the first place since it’s so difficult to validate or invalidate those thoughts. That’s so sad to hear I’m sorry to hear about perfectionism driving somebody to that sad of a place. Writing’s definitely more fun when people read you and reply for sure you’ve definitely made it more fun for me with your comment haha thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! When it comes to my influences I’ve read a lot of Mark Twain, Nietzsche among other philosophers, Murakami, Oscar Wilde, list goes on but for sure you can read a lot of them online! Thanks so much for the comment and hope you have a great day!

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      • Thanks for replying. Congratulations on being considered by a publisher. Hope that bears fruit. You often speak of different mental states and emotions. I might as well tell you I have schizophrenia and have had many delusions and hallucinations. They make life more interesting when they aren’t a pain. I have alcoholism too. That’s scarier, more lethal. The consequences of drinking have grown worse in the past year. My psychiatrist doesn’t know what to tell me. If I want to live longer, I must discipline myself and stop rationalizing misconduct. Still, I enjoy getting drunk. I’m just a mess… Sounds like our influences are similar or old school in large part. I made a new post in the wee hours, if you’re curious. As far as God, you’re right that the evidence just isn’t there, so the idea just hangs there unproven either way. I have to be careful about deicide, though. If I eliminate God, it’s because my desire to do something bad with impunity drives it. Dostoevsky wrote that if God doesn’t exist, then everything is permitted. No absolute rules or punishments. No afterlife of hell. I turned 50 last month, so my mortality is drawing nearer. Intellectually, I won’t be able to solve the problem before I’m gone. Emily Dickinson wrote 1,789 poems or “riddles” to shed a light on the afterlife, but never got any closer. Practical people simply live their lives without speculating. I can justify philosophy only by asserting that I enjoy doing it. It’s a pleasure even if useless to laypeople… Agreed about JP’s end. My alcoholism has made death seem attractive a number of times. When, like now, I’ve been sober a couple of weeks, I don’t contemplate suicide. You’re right that it’s a sad place. Meanwhile, philosophy is an end in itself… I hope you visit my blog again. Thanks if you do. BTW, where do you hail from? I’m in Eugene, OR, USA. Take care.

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  7. I regret disclosing so soon re my dual diagnosis. I was afraid I’d made a dumb mistake. Thanks for bearing with me. This day will complete a fortnight of sobriety. My rationality defense has been disabled. It’s so much harder to excuse my sins this time. Life seems more unpredictable and dangerous when I leave the house. At bottom, when I’m out in the world, there really are no abstractions to smooth it over. It’s sort of like reading naturalist fiction, only it takes less effort to take a walk in your neighborhood and observe without bias. I don’t feel like Wallace Stevens today; more passive. My dog, Aesop, and I walked the mile or so to his vet this morning. Just a little adventure, nerve-wracking for both of us. Might’ve been enjoyable if I’d been serene. Murdoch wrote that one is never secure, and that rings true of this veterinary visit. The illusion of security when I drink is just that. I might be strong enough and brave enough to approach life without a crutch… Hope you have a good weekend.

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    • No worries Rob! I really do wish you all the best and I hope you keep time to write in my experience writing has gotten me through some very tough times and I see you’re no stranger to the benefits of writing as well happy blogging!!

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      • Last weekend I read _Abel Sanchez_ by Miguel de Unamuno, a Spanish existentialist. I really enjoyed it. Originally we studied it in Adv Spanish, in Spanish, in 1984. It really makes me wonder about faith vs reason, and is reason really evil? There’s some treatment of the devil in the novel. It’s about two friends almost from birth who retell the Cain and Abel story. Joaquin loses his beloved cousin to Abel and is furiously jealous of him forever after. The first is a physician, the second a painter. Joaquin is evil and crazy, Abel friendly and well-liked. But I’m oversimplifying. The thrust seems to be jealousy as the root of hatred and madness… Dunno why I revisited this book unless it was simple curiosity after so many decades. Unamuno just kindled a desire to get another existentialist under my belt. He also wrote a long essay, _Tragic Sense of Life_, which likewise piques my interest. I have a copy and oodles of time for both reading and writing… Yes, writing is cathartic and just plain pleasurable. Occasionally, I need a new book to digest so my writing doesn’t get stale with the same old ideas. I also own Turgenev’s _Fathers and Sons_. I might read it since he’s new to me. Who is Murakami, BTW? Also, do you like music? I’d better read your post on it. Thanks for responding. Later.

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  8. Good point. Most people could probably read just about anything written by anyone and find things to correct about them, even the most popular books by well-known authors. Yet if the authors hadn’t published them due to those imperfections all the readers would have lost out.

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