“Existential dread is a state in which in individual questions existence, meaning, purpose and almost everything about life in a cynical way.” This is a random post I read scrolling through Facebook.

I was confused on why would this happen. Why would people get crisis on existing? Soon the confusion turned into curiosity and I want to know about this. I googled it but the results are a bit confusing.

So I messaged my friend, of course, you guessed it, John. So here is how the conversation goes.

Me: Hey John! My man! How are you?

John: Hey, I’m good, how about you?

Me: I’m good, so I saw this term called “existential dread”. What does it mean?

If you remember, John has a habit of texting back late when asked something important. After a couple of hours, I got a text back from him.

John: Why do you want to know that? 

Me: I just read it on Facebook and want to know more about the same.

John: Okay, before we dig deep, you need to know a term called “existentialism” and “existential crisis.”

Existentialism:

In simple words, it is is a philosophy that stresses the importance of human experience, and says that everyone is responsible for the results of their actions.

Existential Crisis:

In simple words, an existential crisis leads to a time of deep questioning within oneself. This normally associates with how someone sees themselves and their meaning within the world.

John: Existential dread and existential crises are technically the same. If we push, we can say that the dread is the next stage of the crisis.

Me: I get that, but why does anyone question their existence and feel bad about it? 

John: If we talk scientifically, it may trigger when there is a trauma, death of loved ones, major loss, substance abuse etc., But on a philosophical level it is on a different note.

Me: Okay, can you elaborate on that?

John: Sure, from the philosophical standpoint, the burden of existence is the cause of the crisis.

Me: What? It doesn’t make sense. I mean how is existence a burden? We all exist and that is a fact. I don’t get it.

John: It is very simple, the existence of an individual is not a choice. All life and existence are random. So you really don’t have a choice of existing.

Me: I get that, but life is what it is. Adding to what you said, you cannot really choose to exist or not. So why feel sad about it?

John: That is exactly the issue. Life is what it is which is an unavoidable thing.,. Some people choose not to exist yet they do. As there is a famous saying “Life is not a bed of roses.”

Me: Okay, I get the premise of the existential dread. How bad can it be? You might feel bad for some time and move on right?

John: It is one of the worst things to hit you. It is almost a mental suicide. If a person is hit by it, they lose interest in almost anything and just become a deactivated robot.

Me: I don’t believe it. How extreme will it be?

John: Any individual suffering from the dread will be in a very bizarre position. As I said, they have zero interest in doing almost everything, the consequences are overthinking, less expressive, not able to focus etc.,

According to some studies, these can lead to some mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety etc., It not only affects you mentally but also physically as you are not able to focus.

Me: Oh man! That is very bad than it sounds. What would a day look like for the person who is hit by existential dread?

John: I can talk from a personal point of view. For instance, If I have a knife in my hand, I want to just want to cut my hand and see how the blood would ooze out. Even by thinking about this, I wouldn’t flinch.

If I’m on the roof of a building, I would imagine if I would jump, how would my head burst when it’s hit the ground, how would the blood splatter all over and things like this.

These are not suicidal tendencies but complications of overthinking on the burden of existence. I would just sit in a dark room staring and thinking or would be in the shower for hours doing nothing. 

It is like a man who is emotionally dead, with an expressionless face just walking around. Everything around me eventually stops making sense doesn’t make any sense no matter what. It feels very weird.

Me: Man this sound awful! Is there no other way to divert from this existential dread?

John: There is one amazing quote I read somewhere it says “The universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you’ll be dead.”

If we just keep ourselves busy with any unimportant shit, we can eventually come out or avoid the existential dread.

In a world full of fake people using others, I prefer people who are truthful and show honest love. It was a tiresome Friday and I finished my work. 

The weekend is kicking in, not that I have some excitement, but I need not work these two days. You guessed it exactly right! I have very few people that I talk to.

 Every day I work, it feels like Sisyphus rolling the stone to the top of the mountain. It just feels like I’m turning into a programmable robot without me liking it.

As Albert Camus in his book “The Myth of Sisyphus” said, “One must imagine Sisphus happy”. I stopped even imagining to imagine to be happy. It may sound weird but It is what it is.

If you feel like you are in a room, where walls are slowly closing in to crush you, you don’t have a lot of choices, do you? I’m glad that I don’t have any work to do for the next two days. 

I sat on my couch and started browsing through my phone. and opened a dating app and started swiping and messaging people. I know my efficacy that none will reply. 

But it is just an arrow in the darkroom. I got no replies for an hour and I got bored and was about to quit it, then something unique happened. Someone messaged me!

 I couldn’t believe that someone replied to me and took my time and opened the message with utmost curiosity. The name is “Sruthi” and the message was a reply to my earlier text. 

So the conversation goes like this. 

Me: Hie!

Sruthi: Hi

Me: How is your life and how is everything? 

Sruthi: Like everybody else’s. Subject to entropy, decay and eventual death.

That is the most honest answer I have ever heard! I got very intrigued and continued the conversation. We talked our hearts out and is one of the awesome talks I’ve ever had. 

It felt very special like I was dreaming in heaven. Since childhood, I had a fantasy of finding honest love. Liking a person by their personality without any other factors.

I thought this might be a step towards that and went to sleep with a smile on this grumpy face. and was searching for honest love pretty much in all my relations. I got very few in life and I’m excited for this one.

The next day I woke up and the first thing I did is text her. I wanted to talk to her and I’m very excited. We talked for an hour and that is one of the best mornings I ever had.

The weekend came to an end and we talked about a lot of stuff. It is one of the best weekends I ever had. We decided to talk next week as we need to do slavery to capitalism for the next 5 days.

I’m back to the fake reality and boy this sucks. I went to the office the next day. I’m told that there is a debate in the office. We have debates in the office as a fun activity.

It is one of the activity and I like and I decided to join. We started it and was going very good. There is a girl making points in the debate. She is on fire and is eviscerating the opponents. 

I liked it and it was a good hour in the office. I’ve finished my day’s work and headed home. As each minute approaches the weekend, I’m getting a tingly feeling throughout the body.

Maybe this is called “excitement” a feeling I never had for a long time. Finally, the weekend has arrived and inner is me is dancing with excitement. 

I messaged her and started chatting. Back to the best times again, and I’m feeling relieved each and every moment I chat with her. I don’t know much about her, but I adore her personality.

She gave me her other Instagram handle and we started chatting on that. We decided to play truth or dare for some time and here is how it went after some questions.

Me: What if someone proposes to you now?

Sruthi: I don’t know, right now I’m numb and I honestly couldn’t tell anything.

Me: You know why I’m asking this?

Sruthi: I’m getting the hints, but not sure. Do you like me?

Me: Of course I like you, everyone likes you.

Sruthi: Haha, that is good.

****** After sometime ******

Me: Okay, I don’t want to beat around the bush. I wanted to express the feeling of my honest love to you. Now I know what you feel. I might feel sad, but I will definitely move on.

Sruthi: Okay, I get it. Thanks for being honest. 

That is the best reply anyone can give honestly. Now I think about it, it is a good response. Honestly, I don’t even know how to react if some random person would propose to me online.

A couple of months passed by and we are chatting regularly. The more I know about her the more awesome is the personality she had. The best part about her is the honesty. 

On a Friday morning, I went to the office and it is the debate day again. Last time one girl was spitting fire and was making awesome points. I’m looking forward to this one.

The debate started and the girl nailed it again. The way she made her points is impeccable. She encountered all the points and presented them very well. 

After the debate, I went to her and talked to her. Here is how the conversation went.

Me: Hey, you nailed that debate. The points you made were awesome!

She: Thanks man, I liked your points too.

Me: Thanks, what is your name by the way?

She: My name is Rashmika, what is yours?

Me: My name is Munna.

Rashmika: Nice to meet you Munna. I will see you later.

Me: Ya sure bye! Have a good one.

I rushed home after the office as it’s the weekend. I went home freshened up and messaged her. An hour passed and I didn’t get a reply. She might be busy.

After an hour, there is a chime on my phone. It is her message, I’m excited and opened the message. It went like.

Sruthi: Hi!

Me: Hey WhatsUp!

Sruthi: Nothing much, hey I got a question to ask.

Me: Shoot it!

Sruthi: What if I delete this account and never reveal myself?

Me: I will definitely feel sad. But I will appeal to you, not to delete it. 

Sruthi: Hmm, okay can I call you?

Me: Sure, now?

Sruthi: If you are busy I will call later.

Me: No, no. call me. I’m free.

***** Instagram call rings *****

Sruthi: Hi!

Me: Hey!

Sruthi: So, I need to tell you something. We are chatting for a couple of months. But I kinda know you.

Me: I didn’t get you, can you elaborate?

Sruthi: Umm yeah, I’m actually Rashmika from the office.

I was first surprised a bit, but I liked it to be accurate. 

Me: Rashmika? The debate girl?

Sruthi: Yes! I’m sorry if you felt bad.

Me: No no, it is fine. I think it is brilliant and loved it.

Then I had the best phone conversation of my life. We talked about a lot of things and I felt absolutely delighted. This is the best way to know someone’s real character.

I may be acting like I’m a nice guy looking, saying honest love and all that. But without talking to me and knowing my actual character, how can she trust me?

She may or may not accept my honest love motion, but I can say with absolute certainty that I got an awesome friend for this lifetime. It is wonderful! 

Should I kiss you back or should I not,

Guess this is just a curse, just a wrath;

Should I tell you this or just hold the thought,

Because you and I are made to be apart;

Is this what we call misery, or our fates throwing us dart,

Well, it might be just us again crossing the paths;

Should I wet my lips with you or leave them to rot,

Don’t worry my dear, that’s not your fault;

Wish you could ask me one more time to touch or not,

And I could tell that I miss you and you are too hot;

I laugh at myself about that because I thought I forgot,

For my mind keeps telling me, you are carrying a lot;

Whenever we meet, I can see through your heart,

Is it just me with you or is that my art;

May be I should seal my feelings like a clot,

Darling, you and I are made to be apart!

Read more such stories and poetry on https://penfluky.com/category/stories/

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