June 29, 2008

The futility of it all

These lines from Paul Auster's Invention of Solitude was particularly difficult to read because of my own difficulties with having to face with the personal things of my dad in his cupboard.
There is nothing more terrible, I learned, than having to face the objects of a dead man. Things are inert; they have meaning only in function of the life that makes use of them. When that life ends, the things change, even though they remain the same. They are there and yet not there: tangible ghosts, condemned to survive in a world they no longer belong to. .......
There is a poignancy to it, and also a kind of horror. In themselves, the things mean nothig, like the cooking utensils of some vanished civilization. And yet they say something to us, standing there not as objects but as remnants of thought, of consciousness, emblems of the solitude in which a man comes to make decisions about himself: whether to color his hair, whether to wear this or that shirt, whether to live, whether to die. And the futility of it all once there is death.

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