Yesterday, in silence, I heard someone say the line from Waiting for Godot: “Nothing happens. Nothing comes, nothing goes. It’s awful.” The line saw something, but I don’t know what. There are a few options:
1.) The line is a dated period piece. It was an insightful look at 1950’s boredom. Civilized man had more free time than he ever had and it succeeded in only making him bored and depressed. Life has always been basically the same for those with too much free time on their hands, and people wrote about it for a few years in the ’50’s before we all got sick of it.
2.) No, the line marks something new. Some awful event was consummated some time before the ’50’s, and Beckett is speaking about it. The world around him became incoherent and could only be represented by gibberish. Occasionally, a moment of clarity breaks out. The awful event is World Wars I and II, nationalist movements, basic historical stuff.
3.) No, the war was as much a response to the event Beckett wrote about as the play itself. We went from an incoherent world where people carpet bombed each other to an incoherent world where they were too bored to carpet bomb.
4.) Enough about boredom already! It’s like an old man complaining about all the pills he has to take. Yuck!
5.) No, the 1950’s was the last moment where people let themselves be bothered by absurdity. Our present romp is just as absurd, but we took the absurdity to its logical conclusion. They called life empty and meaningless. We countered: if its empty and meaningless, then there’s no reason to be bothered about it. Nietzsche looked at absurdity (or something like it) and called it “the abyss”. But why bother giving it such a dramatic name? Put it in a kid’s film. Put a roller coaster next to it. Sell tickets. Put a billboard for toothpaste or mufflers next to it. Call it “my sweet abyss-ee-poo” and put it in a pop song. Make it the sort of thing the cool kids talk about in high school. If life is really absurd, then let’s make a buck off of it. And stop complaining that the art is low. Life is absurd, remember?
7.) All of the above.