It's Wednesday and, coincidentally, it's also World Read Aloud Day! The idea behind it is pretty liberal, but basically, LitWorld is hoping to spread the joy of reading to more people in more countries by getting anyone who wants to be involved, involved! Check out their website to learn more. You can do your part simply by spreading the word! Seriously, it's that easy.
In Elsewhere news, there were no entries from outside sources for this week's Wednesday Writes, but I had a few thoughts about Hazel's monologue so I wrote one myself. The following is just me rambling on about the speech Hazel gives to Augustus Waters upon meeting him, and what it meant to me the first time I read it, and what I think it means, now.
"There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was a time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be a time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that's what everyone else does." -John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.
The first time I read this, I was shocked. Not by what was said, but by the tone of voice I imagined it being said in. Picture this: you are dying. Not only are you dying, but you are dying of an incurable disease like cancer. You've been going to this support group to talk to people who, like you, are dying, and you go there in the hopes that something someone says will help you. And then this one girl named Hazel opens her mouth and says this. Way to spread the love!
But now that I've had some time apart from it, it's less shocking and more... interesting, I guess. Because the thing I'm realizing, now, is that I hardly ever agreed with Hazel when she went into these monologues of endless gloom. I just appreciated the fact that, like me, she was a thinker, and I enjoyed getting to understand her thoughts and getting to see why she felt the way she did.
"There will come a time when all of us are dead." And this, at least, I agree with. No mortal being can live forever, and on an Earth like this, who would want to? Although there is beauty everywhere and in everything even if only in small dosages, there is also darkness, and horrors, and ugliness... This world is a temporary home for every single one of us, and whether we have cancer or we are well or whether we live to see 100 years or a single day, we all must leave it eventually. That's just the way it is. But Hazel goes on. She likes to get technical and scientific, and although I myself have never been a fan of science, she's right when she says, "we will not survive forever."
Here's the thing that gets me, though. If all these things she says are true, then really, what is the point of living? It seems, from her perspective, that life, itself is meaningless and not worthwhile. For me, life is about friendships, family, God, and love... it's about making your mark on the world while you're here although, as Augustus points out, some people are so obsessed with leaving a mark, they don't care that that mark might be a scar. To me, though, as long as you love, and you live, and you think, and you intend to do good, life has a purpose and that purpose is to encourage others to love and live and think and do good.
And what I think is that, at this point in the story, Hazel is trying to figure out if there's a point to it all if life, inevitably, will come to an end. But whether she believes there's a reason to the madness or not, she does believe you should live anyway. "...if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you," she says, "I encourage you to ignore it." Everyone does it, on a daily basis, by living. Like Hazel, I encourage you to ignore the thought of oblivion, but unlike her, I challenge you to leave your own mark on forever--- not a scar, but do something worth remembering.