Is there “No Exit”?

We are lost. Yes, just as the Christians teach us, we are “lost” though I differ with them on what that means. We have “fallen” into a world of contingency, the domain of cause and effect (time and space), and we are often at our wits end. We don’t know what to do. To cope with this tremendous anxiety, the vulnerability that comes from being a mere mortal, we have created culture (including myths) and we cling desperately to this culture to hide our nakedness. Yes, we cling to our fig leaves.

In the following poem Jessica Goodfellow so beautifully and elegantly describes this dilemma that we are in. We are always tempted by the hope of a “beginninglessness” or its counterpart, an “endlessness.” But either extreme is perilous. For, reality is merely that we are here, we are in the “in-between”; we are caught in this parenthesis of time and space. As Sartre noted, there is “No exit.” This realization is the point at which we can opt for faith, the belief (hope) that something Wonderful is underway in this void that we live in and that we are part of it.

Navigating by the Light of a Minor Planet

The trouble with belief in endlessness is
it requires a belief in beginninglessness.
Consider friction, entropy, perpetual motion.
And the trouble with holding to both is that
belief in endlessness requires a certain hope
while belief in beginninglessness ends in the absence of hope.
Or maybe it’s vice versa. Luckily,
belief in a thing is not the thing itself.
We can have the concept of origin, but no origin.
Here we are then: in a world where logic doesn’t function,
or else emotions can’t be trusted. Maybe both.
All known tools of navigation require an origin.
Otherwise, there is only endless relativity and then
what’s the point of navigation, in a space where
it’s hard to be lost, and even harder not to be?
Saying “I don’t want to be here” is not the same
as saying “I want to not be here.” It rains
and it rains and it rains the things I haven’t said.


2 thoughts on “Is there “No Exit”?

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