“We wait. We are bored. (He throws up his hand.) No, don’t protest, we are bored to death, there’s no denying it. Good. A diversion comes along and what do we do? We let it go to waste… In an instant all will vanish and we’ll be alone once more, in the midst of nothingness!” – Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
As an English major in college, I had to read this play and thought, wtf, this makes no sense at all. Nothing happens. What was the point of that? Exactly Beckett’s point. But, it wasn’t meant to be a boo-hoo commentary or a pessimistic outlook on life.
While I thought it was depressing at the time, I realize that, as time goes by, humanity cycles through on the repeat button, living the same lives with minor differences each time but that reach the same result.
In many ways, the Existentialists had a realistic impression of how so many people live and look at what they have been given. It’s all about passing time — some pass it in front of the TV for hours, others at the computer, and still others at a 9-5 existence. There are many variations on the same theme in-between. But, in the end, it is all about passing the time — maybe making it more exciting and interesting in the pursuit of a certain dream or chasing a person. The whole idea of the hunt, the chase, and then the capture. Then, it is a cycle that starts again.
Life and our relationships are very much the same whether we want to admit it or not — it’s all about overcoming the boredom and seeing if any new knowledge or any interactions will alleviate that boredom. For those that don’t even seem to bother, they are probably worse than the two characters in ‘Waiting for Godot’ — at least they continue to make some push to go past boredom — sure, it’s futile, but still.
One website (Philosophy Paradise) made some good points about our existentialist existence:
“Human relationships are existential: Pozzo and Lucky are literally tethered by a cord in a master-slave relationship. Pozzo who seeks friendship from Estragon and Vladimir ends up forming a meaningless friendship with them, much like his meaningless relationship with Lucky, which dehumanizes both of them.
The friendship between Vladimir and Estragon seemingly overcomes the existential whenVladimir wakes up Estragon because he “felt lonely” (9). Estragon and Vladimir are tethered by an invisible bond in a relationship that can best be characterized as friendship. While at times they hate each other, they cannot live without one another or they would die of boredom.”
Maybe if there was to be a lesson here it would be to make the most of what you got because then it would be less boring.