After Borges’ The Nothingness of Personality
Among the millions of entries on the Internet, there is nothing more or less special about this one. But it is straightforward, and moreover, brutally honest. This alone should separate me from the several thousands of writers who, in an attempt to present the best possible face to the reader, expose themselves through their embellishments, a fancy term, if you will, for lying.
The Internet is a curiosity for any number of readers, bloggers, bums. Who knows our age, our appearance, or station in life? Indeed we are, or may become, anyone we wish. We are not even constrained by gender. At least I know I’m not. You do not know me and, of course, I know even less about you. This forms the basis of our most unusual arrangement, or relationship, if one can be said to create a relationship in such an obscure way.
For now, let us suffice to say that I am a liar, that I am exceptionally gifted, efficient, and I might add, proficient in a most extraordinary way – in lying. My words deceive even me.
My clothing, which may consist of a shirt and a tie to give me a more professional appearance, is also a lie. I am not a professional. I am only capable of one true and genuine vocation. And that is, to be a sluggard. And this I truly consider to be my proper profession, that is to say, I profess to be a sluggard.
While you may say that this is far from an honorable profession, it is, nonetheless, defining. I may be nothing. But I continue to define myself, yes, even improve myself by doing … nothing. And the rest of you non-sluggards who are continually striving to improve yourselves: you are always changing. Always becoming different, always becoming. You are thus less defined; less known. And to fill the gaps, you circumvent anything true about yourself because you are not validated. You cannot be fully authentic while you remain in a state of flux. I, on the other hand, have attained my goal. To be nothing, and more importantly, to remain nothing.
Yet I am not at ease with this. Like the traveler who finds comfort in the journey and is somewhat disappointed upon his arrival, so I am dissatisfied at having achieved the perfection of my state of being. I long for more. But to be a true sluggard, one should not hope for anything for this would mean movement towards something. To move towards something requires action, presupposes action. A conscious decision to attain a goal. But this is contrary to who I am. And I do not wish to be contrary to myself. Thus, I must learn to remain disquieted.
I have studied the Stoics, who teach us how to remain calm in all situations. They continually remind us that our will is the only thing truly under our control. But to refine the will, again, I would have to take conscious action, to act toward some promise of betterment. To move toward something then, is to move away from my true calling, the only thing on which I can truly rely. The truth about who, and what, I am: a sluggard.
You’ve been caught in your own web of spinning an artful sticky lie. You lie in wait to catch those who pause to contemplate the beauty of web, proclaimed truth.
You, a sluggard, “hope for more”? You are “disquieted”?
Such energy it takes to weave such an artful web; disquieted until another’s curiosity brings you a juicy catch fomenting fitful laughter, “I gotcha!”