S. Li: Lives of Quiet Desperation

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.

So said Thoreau and I could not agree more during the wave of midterms. I am currently embodying resignation as I scroll through powerpoint after powerpoint of pure facts that must be diligently committed to memory. I’ve resigned to do this for the sake of, what, money and the “glory” that accompanies it in the end? I ask myself on a daily basis quite seriously whether I have sold my soul to the devil.

Then, of course, I proceed promptly to rationalize it.  “Sue, it’s important to remember that the line between living a life of non-desperation and a life of hedonism is rather difficult to define.” Thus, I sigh and continue to scroll and be attentive in class.

Sometimes that thought still seeps through the dense architecture of rationalizations. The thought that time is finite and my other major, or least the red tape around it, is no good for my “writerly” self. I should be reading books, I proclaim to the screen. It merely tells me I have 67 slides left to review.

99.9% of writers lead lives of quiet desperation.

The rest of the population is unaware that they are leading lives of quiet desperation.


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