The Friday Telegraph

The Desire to Simply Not Exist

I think that a rarely discussed but commonly felt desire is to simply not exist. This should of course be distinguished from its far more violent and permanent cousin; an act that admittedly holds too tightly to this longing for nothingness. Just because you don’t want to exist doesn’t mean you actually want to die. It most likely means that you just don’t want to exist the way you’re existing right now. But the desire to not exist is far more vague. To not have to experience this anymore. To never have been born. To go to sleep forever. People tend to feel it when they’re embarrassed or ashamed.

One moment of freedom for an eternity of nothing. Of permanent silence. Is this a worthy sacrifice? I think not. There are enough paths to experience this ‘nothingness’ while still being able to stick around. Sure there are those mini-deaths we engage in when life becomes too much. Social media allows people to escape the reality of their being. People often use social media as a form of escape from an uncomfortable feeling like boredom, loneliness or any negative emotion. Behind a screen, you have the capacity to escape it all. The ability to scroll Instagram, sink into a burger and plunge into conscious nothingness is also known as escapism. But rarely do people feel better afterwards. This small retreat from torment does little in a reality where people self-reflect on their own insignificance. 

Fortunately there’s also just enough moments you’ve probably experienced in your life that have made you feel this prospect of escape and simultaneously feel a preference for being over nothingness. You’re nothing in the presence of a beautiful song or a piece of art or moments of shared connection between friends and lovers or making something that others enjoy and perhaps even relate to. Those momentary seconds that forced you to stare into the fragility of it all; to realise that being itself is pure chance. Your own existence is a brief moment, barely anything to begin with. And that’s perfectly fine. Because at every moment awaits some beautiful potentiality you are probably not prepared for. But if you give up now there’s no going back. Nonexistence will come to you soon enough. So why not stick around for just a little bit longer?

by Nileysha

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