Existential Fatigue

I heard recently that we have taken more pictures in the last seven years than we did in the whole history of the world before that point. It is interesting, all the pictures that we take. Even the really good ones often get missed because we have so many.

Great pictures stand out because they give a magical insight into a moment in time. I Googled “famous depression era picture” and the picture of a young woman staring into the distance with two young children burying their heads into each of her shoulders. When I used to look at the photo I thought she was older, but I now see she was a young woman aged by worry. She stares into the distance, but it does not look like she is seeing anything. She looks haunted, and appears to be experiencing what I call existential fatigue.

I believe that we are all experiencing it to some degree. It is the experience of being too often disappointed - by political figures, and by those we have trusted. It is not just about right now, but disappointments accumulated over a lifetime. We may have it because we have not been able to find the answers to dilemmas that we feel our life depends upon. We feel it as we feel that we are losing faith in life...in humanity itself.

The best time to do a fire drill is not when there is a fire. The best time to look for solutions to existential fatigue is not when in the midst of feeling it. We do it my finding nutritional activities that overwhelm our ability to focus on our trouble. We do it by resisting the titillation to endlessly read how bad things are going and by resisting the urge to project rage into the world.

There are many, many ways to immerse ourselves, and to ground ourselves in ways that wake us up, that allow us to actually see what we are looking at. Existential fatigue can mushroom into existential exhaustion, a state in which we can no longer keep on going.

It is urgent that we enjoy ourselves today, right now. Commit to being present, and to learning how to calm yourself. Project positive vibrations. Existential fatigue is a gift. It tells us that we cannot live forever without joy. It tells us to find joy in living today; to rejoice.

Drake PoweComment