How do you go on when you have so strayed from who you want to be. Where do you find worth when you have become worthless. Religion would be very convenient. The human soul cannot forgive betrayal. Maybe God can, but there is a point of no return with man.
“The Hour-Hand of Life --- Life consists of rare, isolated moments of the greatest significance, and of innumerably many intervals, during which at best the silhouettes of those moments hover about us. Love, springtime, every beautiful melody, mountains, the moon, the sea – all these speak completely to the heart but once, if in fact they ever do get a chance to speak completely. For many men do not have those moments at all, and are themselves intervals and intermissions in the symphony of real life.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, all too Human
These isolated moments define the lives of those who experience them. Moments of significance, critical decisions which will determine the trajectory of a life. Points of no return. There is nothing we can do once we have crossed the threshold of these decisions onto the new path, the way behind is shut forever. These moments cannot be avoided, putting them off only magnifies their magnitude.
So what can you do once you you’ve passed onto a path you didn’t want, or say you didn’t. “Say” here meaning that if you truly didn’t want it, you would have not made the decision that led there. So even if it is far from where you wished to go, you clearly did not hate it so much. Or merely lacked the strength to say so.
There is no coming back. This path is your life forever. You have to go on from here. To take one step after another as this person who you may hate. You can do everything in the world to change, to make right what you may have done, but you will never not be the person who made that choice. This weight is yours to bear forever.
We are teetering over a precipice. These significant moments may turn you into an interval at any time. An afterthought. A write-off. You have become someone without principle, without honor, no matter how much you change you will always be thus. You may keep secret your past doings, but once they are known their stain will return. To maintain significance requires constant struggle and the will to do what is right and be true to oneself always; this is what makes the heroic. To become an interval requires betrayal of oneself and the indulgence of the weakest parts, a grotesquely normal and easy thing to do. Regular. Unremarkable. Base. Crass.
Once this threshold is passed there is little hope of returning. Or is there? Feeling sorry for oneself is the lowest form of narcissism. But it may be that at a point all one can do is dedicate their life to helping others as their chance has passed them by. One may even metaphorically end their life, destroy their old self and begin anew. Possessions thrown out, working in isolation dedicated totally to improving the world, and yet always the mark of past deeds will remain.
What do you do when you’ve so betrayed yourself and those who you respect you see no way of regaining your honor? What do you do? What is there to do? Immolation, destruction, the Samurai’s method of retaining dignity through a supreme act of will, prayer, repentance?
Religion would be very convenient.
Forgiveness will not absolve you from the weight of your deeds.
There is only the terrible agony of life before you branded by the choices you’ve made. Step by step on the path you laid for yourself seeking to get back to where you want to be, to who you want to be. This may not be possible. There may be too much damage done. Never pity yourself. Man is the most foolish animal, for he wails and bemoans his lot, even when none but himself have led him there. He will curse himself for a liar and in the same breath lie, feeling sorry that he did so.
Regret too is foolish; the way back is shut. Wishing, hoping, and cursing are all wastes of time. Escapes from the brutal truth of reality. Only when we face the world truly as it is do we live bravely. Every hideous fact of life must be embraced like crawling over razor-wire. To look at what we’ve done with no attempt at rationalization or excuse, to see ourselves for the beasts that we are.
“We don’t live in a just world, we just live in a world.”
Sometimes we are the agents of injustice in this world despite our opinions of ourselves. There can be no surprise, no asking how this could have happened, when the choice was made. That is how it happened.
March forward into the grim truth of the world without hope of forgiveness or wishing for change and perhaps the way will come back to you. Perhaps. You may even become something like who you once wished to be. But you will never be the person who did not make the choice. You have killed that version of yourself. You have no choice but to go on living, with not an ounce of sympathy for yourself. Only brutal acceptance and adherence to truth and honor. You may never be absolved, but you may yet impact the world. Even for good, if you have what it takes.