Thursday, 16 October 2014

An atrophied will...

"When a third wave of poverty overwhelmed me, I knew with even greater certitude that when I had lived in Clerkenwell that the only complete solution to my problem was suicide. I never brought it off. I was afraid. A lifetime of never making positive decisions, accepting instead the least of the evils presented to me, had atrophied my will. It was not so much that I longed for death as that I didn't long for life. Emptiness, though, was not a sufficiently definite feeling to lead to a violent act. Instead of sitting in my room and balancing the relative convenience of various ways of ending it all, I ought to have been busy trying to summon up a reasonable amount of despair. Hopelessness was thinly spread like drizzle over my whole outlook. But, in an emergency, I could not find a puddle of despondency deep enough to drown in." The Naked Civil Servant.


  1. 'Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the hour of your death,' answered Gandalf. 'And only the heathen kings, under the domination of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair, murdering their kin to ease their own death.' Lord of the Rings, Book 5 Chapter 7

    “Actually I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’— though it contains (and in legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory” J.R.R. Tolkein, Letters, 255

    1. Hmm, I agree. But why post it here? My knowledge of both those quotes, and their contexts, is profound. But I also understand Mr Crisp. When the circumstances of one's life are so inferior that suicide seems the only option the "domination of the Dark Power" seems fallacious. The Numenoreans were terrified of death. Mr Crisp and I couldn't care less about life and are more like the lords among men who took unto themselves Rings of Power. To them life seemed hateful, akin to O'Brian's prophecy about the process of life in Nineteen Eighty-Four, but they didn't commit suicide. They merely continued until waking life and death were indistinguishable and they walked under the shadow of Sauron's Eye. If Hell is a dark solitary room beyond light and knowledge then I call it Heaven. If Heaven is being in the light, in the midst of great concourse of people then that is Hell.

    2. I would add that, like Mr Crisp, I do not long for death and am by no means suicidal (though I have thought a lot about suicide). Death just seems the lesser of two evils.