Life Goes On

Until it doesn’t, life goes on. That is the message I get as a “watcher.”

By the way, I had planned on using another word for “watcher” but, fortunately, I learned early enough the error of my belief that the other word was not exclusively a synonym for scopophiliac. I thought an alternative definition of the word voyeur was “secretive watcher.” Apparently not, according to the dictionary I consulted. The only definition of voyeur in that source is “a person who engages in voyeurism.” And the definition of voyeurism is “the practice of obtaining sexual gratification by looking at sexual objects or acts, especially secretively.” Though scopophiliac is among the synonyms for voyeur, its definition is not exactly the same: “the obtaining of sexual pleasure by looking at nude bodies, erotic photographs, etc.” Close enough. Watcher is a more appropriate choice. Certainly safer. Labeling myself a voyeur could create all manner of turmoil. So I’ll call myself a watcher. Better choice. Back to the matter at hand.

No matter the experiences of war, mass murder, genocide, global climatic catastrophe, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and dozens of other horrors, we humans continue plugging along. Even as we watch reality crush our dreams…as our loved ones die…as careers get derailed…as addictions claim our friends or ourselves…even then, life goes on. In the midst of all this excruciatingly painful chaos, we continue to strive for some kind of sanity-saving normalcy. We do our best to counter the negative aspects of human existence—agonizing interactions with matters from hyper-local to global and even beyond—with what some might call trivial or insignificant. But the insignificant can become crucial to our survival, or at least to our ability to tolerate our life experiences with a modicum of comfort.

A local example of a sanity-saving endeavor that some people may consider irrelevant in the face of human suffering is the Hot Springs Village Animal Welfare League–an organization dedicated to humane treatment, prevention of cruelty, and relief of suffering among animals; the organization trades in compassion. Another example, combining whimsy with intellectual pursuits and interests, is the Bureau of Linguistical Reality (BLR),created for the purpose of creating a new vocabulary for the Anthropocene. The BLR and its mission are intriguing. I can imagine getting deeply involved in its mission.

Millions of other examples exist: golf, sewing, practicing tai chi, genealogical research, painting, amateur meteorology, bridge, poker…the list of such endeavors is endless. As I watch people immerse themselves in these activities and more, it is evident to me that they are distractions from the more serious matters like war, mass murder, genocide, global climatic catastrophe, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. In the absence of the capability, individually, to bring these horrors to an end, people must continue to live their lives. They must attempt to bring as much normalcy to existence as possible until they cease to exist. These endeavors—distractions or whatever one might call them—take our time until our time comes to an end. Life goes on, until it doesn’t.

It occurs to me that voyeurism and scopophilia might be among the distractions some people use as tools to maintain their sanity. Those tools may not be suited for the job, but who am I to judge? Maybe there are better options than watching, too, but I am satisfied with it, more or less. I expect to keep it up until I am no more.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.