**I find it necessary to note that this article is about depressing things.
Mozart wrote Lacrimosa as his last piece, but died before he could finish it. Similarly, David Foster Wallace wrote The Pale King, but also died before he could finish his work. Both Mozart and Wallace were perfectionists. Wallace would write expansive novels—defending his writing choices to his editors—and edit them down to excruciating depths in order to get the words right. Mozart reportedly ran to the piano to finish a piece that his nephew/son had played but left uncompleted.
There was a quote from one of Wallace's books, I forget which, that I read after researching him for a while. The quote made me stop and think, and it was really sad.
It went something like: "Why don't more people care to leave notes before they commit suicide?" "That's just it. They stopped caring."
David Foster Wallace committed suicide 9 years ago. He hung himself on a porch. It is, and was, tragic. I have yet to cry over it, as I was around 8 when it happened, and it feels so distant from me, and I have no possible way of connecting to the depths of his emotional or intellectual life than his novels—which I haven't yet read.
I witness in my daily life a lack of caring. People quite obviously care about living, but there's still a lack of caring. For example, if we stare vacantly into a phone game or text or Instagram we do not care. If we follow an easy, dull lifestyle, we do not care. If we spend hours on Netflix or Youtube or playing video games, we do not care. One of my last articles was on addiction, and I talked about how our addictions fuel bad habits. I believe that disinterest is not an addiction, because we fantasize about living a happier, unrealistic lifestyle. Disinterest is more of a sickness, or a mentality.
I know there are ways to start caring more despite the responsibilities and restrictions of everyday life . Deletion of everyday wastes of time (Mindless activities, apps, etc.) would help. And it does. But there gets to a point where we get fed up with trying so hard to change our lives for the better and watching the external factors such as the sun shine through and blind us in the morning or the alarm clock screeching or the food tasting bland or the schedule being boring that we just want to seep into the ground and forget about anything. Egos are so fragile and—like Betta fish—we discover that we often get angry with ourselves if we look to long in the mirror.
Music. Music is what gets us to care, the easiest most ubiquitous way. Everyone listens to music differently, and everyone listens to different music. One day a person asked me as we were driving down a dark road together:
It was such a simple opening to a conversation. It was beautiful, yet—probably—unoriginal.
Humans are such interesting, smart, short-living creatures. I know this because we don't notice the glass melting, and though one day figured out that it was, we still didn't really care. One day (last Friday), I felt a wave of ennui crash over me and I slipped into a trance of boredom and exhaustive pleasure-seeking addictive droning. In the short form, I felt as though I had been playing Pac-Man for 30 hours straight, even though I had gotten to bed at a particularly reasonable time. In my search for why I felt so miserably bored, I took an hour long walk. During my 2nd period independent study, I walked up and down the streets near my school just listening to Franz Liszt's three pieces on love: Liebestraume No. 1 — Libestraume No. 3.
I didn't find anything. In fact, when I returned, I returned back to the state of unidentifiably miserable boredom that compelled me to take a walk. I didn't find anything. Except, classical music. It was the one thing that kept me looking for something more, because I felt that if I stopped looking for more, stopped caring, while listening to classical music, then something truly horrible would have happened: I would've become apathetic.
When you become apathetic you don't care whether you finish doing something, because things float by and you drift from moment to moment in a dreamlike reality where nothing has important consequence if any. This is addressed in the TV show Black Mirror in the episode "Fifteen Million Merits".
"Fifteen Million Merits" depicts a future-dystopian world where people cycle on bikes to generate electricity in exchange for a currency called "merits". People buy food, entertainment, toothpaste, everything using these "merits". The average day for someone would be getting up, brushing teeth, cycling for hours, having small breaks to eat food, and going to bed. TV's were everywhere, and entertainment was interrupted frequently with advertisements. One day, the main character falls in love, and everything changes for him. The episode is soooooooooooooooo depressing.
Obviously we don't live in a dystopia like that now. But what scares me is that I'm scared of it happening, yet don't care to do anything about my personal life that would contradict the possibility of that occurring to me. The threshold of chance that something like that to occur in our time period is actually pretty low, because we already have the technology that would equip us to transforming our lives like that, gradually, into a dystopian nightmarish reality of dependance and restriction.
The article is getting too Vonnegut-ish, or rather, John Bunyan-ish like that one place built by Beelzebub in The Pilgrim's Progress
Ironically, it was in a café—like the one in A Clean, Well-Lighted Place—that I discovered a true way to feel more alive. Not on a walk alone in the day, not at my house, not anywhere interesting or particular. How was it like the café in A Clean, Well-Lighted Place? It wasn't a white café with alcohol and two life-pondering waiters. It was a dimly-lit, romantic café with semi-ornate paintings and lamps ordaining the red walls and casting shadows over the floors up and through the windows. A romantic café, a deeply appreciated time away from the world, a 30 minute drive home in the dark with classical music blaring out of the open windows of the car.
Still though, I feel as though I need to finish reading The Pale King and get on with the dreaded banality of everyday life. I understand this because if I ever want to create something important, I need to do the homework. The result that the most brilliant of authors are able to make is a beautiful sort-of string figure replete with interwoven plots and symbols. Novels like The Pale King or Infinite Jest or Sandman.
Conclusion: Do fun things with people you enjoy being around so that you don't end up like Charlie Brown, and care about life so that you can appreciate music and books.
Ok the article's done now.