Prison Diary Extract

Prison Diary Extract from August, 2015

by Alan Carl Nicoll
Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved

This isn’t much, but a few readers may like it.  A couple of pages from my prison diary, dated 8/8, 8/10, and 8/13/2015:

What can one say about the human condition and human suffering to make it tolerable and not meaningless?

  • God swill
  • It will make you a better poet
  • It will give your face character
  • It will make you empathize with the suffering of others
  • It’s the “absurdity” of existentialism
  • Aw, quit your bellyachin’
  • “We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”  [Kurt Vonnegut]
  • He’s gone to heaven, darling.
  • It’s how we respond to suffering that gives our life meaning [what I remember of Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning]
  • Life sucks, then you die
  • Worrying about it isn’t going to change anything
  • Appreciate!
  • Given what you know about what you are, why would you expect it to be meaningful or to make sense?
  • Jakob the Liar embodies the view of Vonnegut quoted above, and still seems about the best response
  • This body right now is sad

8/10/15

Given what you know about what you are, why would you expect it to be meaningful or to make sense?

But:  how do things ever “make sense” or have “meaning”?  These are things we do.  Life and/or the universe don’t have discoverable meanings; they have meanings only if we say they do, and only to us.  We assign meanings, we give meaning, we make sense of things.

“Given what you know”—what we know is models, which are simplified mysteries.

So:  given what I know (the models of science), how do I make sense of it, what meaning do I assign?

8/13/15

The scientific method is how we make sense of things; how do we decide what is “meaningful”?

I think it’s safe to say that we have no generally accepted answers, unless you want to count religion.  [6/8/18:  Of course, I do not count religion.  This is not an afterthought; it’s not something I would have found it necessary to include in a diary.]

When science no longer makes sense, what then?  Stop expecting things to make sense.  [9/5/15:  When science can’t answer, all that’s left is emotion and wishful thinking.]

“Appreciate” requires an explanation, but I am not prepared to give that right now.  Maybe tomorrow.

by Alan Carl Nicoll
Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved

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