Thanks, farmerman, for your response. Lots of people did not "get" Godot. When it opened in New York in 1953 it got bad reviews; people did not understand it. There is for millions a kind of hell of frenetic passivity in life in our post-WW2 world, if not for a long time before. Working out how to live, what to do, where to find meaning, what to avoid, whom to marry, when to marry, what career to follow, whether to go fishing this afternoon or to watch the movie.
This hell could just as easily be called a hell of frenetic activity. It seems to me that millions become so adjusted to this hell that it becomes a normal behaviour pattern.(1) Of course, it is not always experienced as a hell; sometimes the spaces seem to be filled to overflowing with life's rewards, life's juices. --(1) Samuel Beckett, Waiting For Godot,
1953(1948). This theme of meaningless passivity is portrayed with some profundity.
I'll add one more piece I wrote on Beckett:
BECKETT and ME
FINDING OUR VOICE
At the beginning of the Baha’i Seven Year Plan in 1937,(1) the now famous writer Samuel Beckett(1906-1989) settled in Paris while he was working out the publication of his novel Murphy.
I am confident Beckett knew nothing about that Baha’i Plan as Europe was heating up/heading for a second big war in which he would play a part and receive a medal for his role.
I have always been fascinated by this writer, this now famous 20th century playwright, due to his mental health difficulties, his depressions, his battles with inner demons, and the persistence of what you might call a type of ‘religious’ seriousness in spite of his declared absence of any sustaining metaphysics.(2) His philosophy, it seems to me, comes closest to the philosophical doctrine of nihilism suggesting the essential meaninglessness of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value.(3)
In his later years he was also conspicuously hospitable to his friends but notoriously reclusive in relation to the media. In some ways, this is a paradoxical dichotomy. I find that this same dichotomy has come to characterize my life, reclusiveness and hospitableness, but for different reasons and exercised in different ways than Beckett’s. –Ron Price with thanks to 1the first Baha’i teaching plan from 1937 to 1944; 2 Tim Parks, “Beckett: Still Stirring,” The New York Review of Books
, 13 July 2006; and 3 See Wikipedi
a for an overview of nihilism.
You wrote about the experience
of waiting and struggling with a
pervading sense of futility: how
true this seems to me as I watch
and have watched the millions in
their own Waiting for Godot lives.
You wrote of a lost world and of
any attempt to order the world
of experience, & its unbearable
realities, its horrors and terrors,
entre deux guerres that were so
very unbearable from 1914 until
1989 when you went into a hole.
You were a strange personality
& many have found me strange,
Samuel. But many also found us
kind and generous, loyal, gentle,
humorous1 and we were late in
finding our own literary voices.2
1 Morris Dickstein, “An Outsider in His Own Life,” A Review of Anthony Cronin’s Samuel Beckett: The last Modernist
, in The New York Times on the Web
, 3 August 1997.
. Beckett and I found our literary voices in our 40s.
13 January 2012