Nothing Matters

Describe a book, play, composition, poem, scientific discovery, technical achievement, myth, historic event or work of art that has inspired and intrigued you. You can assume we are familiar with the plot and details; instead, tell us what it means for you personally.

I went home the other night, my mind full of ideas, words, and lines from a play.Excitedly, I began to explain my outlook to those who would hear me. “It doesn’t matter,” I said with a smile on my face, “none of this matters.” My audience was much less amused. Father had a frown and angry eyes to offer. My step mother wore a look of confusion. “I don’t want to hear any more of this negative talk!” yelled Father. He had missed the point. Yes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Vladimir and Estragon may still be waiting for Godot, but none of this matters. And while many are whining about how hopeless things sound, I am smiling, because I see the faint light on the horizon.It is impossible to deny the negative views in both Waiting for Godot and Rosencrants and Guildenstern are Dead. “Let’s hang ourselves immediately!” offers Estragon only 12 pages into the story. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seem similarly frustrated with life. Grim messeges are laced amidst the recounting of Bible stories and flipping coins. There is no happiness in giving “birth astride a grave,” no hope in words of “intensity which squeezes out life.” There is certainly a hopelessness to these plays.”Nothing matters!” scream both Stoppard and Beckett, and though these words can depress us, a promise of possibility may also be found.Both plays are about the lives of men. These are men working, living, and trying just as all other men. Pozzo of Waiting for Godot mourns that “the light gleams an instant,” and though our lives may be only that, an instant, is it not better than nothing? If it is true that nothing matters, than what does change matter? What does risk matter?There is a certain freedom offered in this concept. Yes, we may only live a short while, but we still have life, and choices. We can choose to live alone in anticipation of hurt, or choose to fill our lives with friends, lovers, and family. We can choose to wait for our own version of Godot, or to take matters into our own hands. We can carry our letters of execution to the king, or we can throw them to the wind, and that is what freedom and life are about. There is no need to consult the sky or Godot’s messenger. The position of the sun and the wishes of Godot do not matter. Nothing matters.Failure can no longer be feared. Nothing matters, so enjoy the moment. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go knowingly to England and their death, but that does not mean that I must. Vladamir and Estragon wait, and I can do the same, or I can search for my own dreams and happiness. My father can sit and worry away his years on important issues. My step mother can budget her life, but I’ve found hope. If death is near us all, what is to stop me from living? Maybe my fate will be that of Icarus, but it doesn’t matter. I choose not to wait. I choose not to walk defeatedly towards death. I will instead take a chance, and if, mid-flight, I fall, at least I flew.

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