So for my ‘almost’ philosophy series I’ve decided to go with one of the easier questions to begin with, “What is the difference between living and being alive?”
To me, this is quite a simple, obvious answer. Being alive is merely breathing, waking up and going through the mundane activities of the human condition. If any of you have read, or seen Samuel Becketts existential tragic comedy “Waiting For Godot,’ then you’ll understand. Everyday life is cyclic, it is filled with routine and somewhat trivial pursuits. If you don’t want to watch the full length play, here’s a cute three minute parody that sums up the basic concept of the boredom associated with simply ‘being alive.’ The mundane, ‘nothingness’ associated with this view, as Beckett points out, is absurd.
Jostein Gaarder once said, “How terribly sad it was that people are made in such a way that they get used to something as extraordinary as living.” To me, this clearly distinguishes between living and being alive. Why do we get so busy, so caught up in the routine of everyday life that we forget to really live? The beauty of being human is our emotions, our desires, our ambitions. To really live is to embrace these aspects, to say to yourself, “why not get that tattoo? why shouldn’t I go bungee-jumping?” There seems to be an assumption within the world that one really ‘lives’ when they seek out adrenaline pumping activities. This is ridiculous. You might just have a rather long list of books you want to read, being alive is making that list, living is actually making the time to read the damn things! It is not about living without regret’s, life doesn’t work that way, it’s about grasping every opportunity, doing what you love and following your heart. And I do apologize for the cliche, but it’s the easiest way to explain what really living ought to be about. So why do we so often confine ourselves to merely being alive, when we have the wonderful promise of truly living?
I’d like to keep these short, I appear to be shrinking under a growing pile of Uni work…as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do watch Waiting for Godot if you have the time, it’s the best way to ponder the meaning of life and mundane routine of the human condition.
UPDATE: The next question I shall attempt will be number 43- “Is life all a Dream?” If you’d like to be notified please follow me, either as a WordPress user or through email 🙂 Thanks.