I can imagine there are moments – I suspect we’ve all had them – when life is such that one’s grown weary of it. If she’s lucky, which thankfully most of us are, that weariness passes, either because, thank God, the moment passes, or because, thank God, she’s relieved of any further moments. But in neither of these two cases, it seems to me, is there a tragedy to be mourned. Rather the tragedies to be mourned lie in either of two further cases. 

The one is where those moments of weariness are relieved by neither of these two species of ‘this too shall pass’. And the other, or so I imagine, is that moment just before one’s death, ‘before her time’, when she realises that this is all she’s going to have had of that one life she’s been given to live. It’s that moment of ultimate irremediable and so irredeemable disappointment. 

I used to think I couldn’t imagine a moment more tragic than this. But then I was reminded that at least that kind of disappointment, excruciating as it may be, will soon come to an end. But what about disappointments of this kind that don’t? What about a life consisting of nothing but a relentless concatenation of these moments?

I am no Christian. But of all the Reproaches sung at Easter in at least some denominational liturgies, the most devastating is, “I was in prison and you did not visit me.” My wife used to work in an elder-care facility and reported the same despair. It’s a good thing I’m not a social justice warrior. If I were these would be my two crusades. The no-doubt-excruciating pain of being misgendered would just have to wait.    

Categories: Angst, Social and Political Philosophy

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