I dedicate my first article (in ‘Creofire’) to Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre for provoking me to rebel intellectually through my existence.
The Absurdity of Patience begins here.
A stand-alone word.
A singular quality.
An astounding possession.
A spellbinding virtue.
A subservient complacency.
A learned helplessness.
A perfect vulnerability.
Is patience just a stand-alone word? A lone warrior in the army of human attributes? Or is it an attribute that metamorphosizes from being a single word to being such a perfect vulnerability and thus exude an etymological anthropomorphism? Is it capable of carrying and actually embodying these definitions which speak of its subjective versatility? I believe the idea of patience is at the mercy of the individualization of the populace. An etymological sibling of patience is another word and equally an idea-patient. A sufferer and an endurer, both are patients, albeit of a different variety. The definition aptly applies itself impartially in its essence to a man confined to the limits, of an infirmary or his imagination, in which case he is a sufferer, and also to a man who has defied these limits and so becomes an endurer. The irony embedded in this dichotomy gives birth to an absurdity that is at once enjoyable and agonizing.
Patience is the long gestating art of waiting that is shaped by the experiences of life and honed by the exigencies of the situations. An art that exemplifies the necessity born out of the fervor to understand and assess the prorogation in the acquisition of things, ideas, attributes or even people we hold dear to us. The flower of undying beauty blossoms in practicing this art of cultivating patience. The seeds of this plant of patience are sown in the soil of necessity, the situations and people we deal with serve the purpose of irrigation and manure and the very act of existence supervises and witnesses the growth of this plant on a day to day basis, much like the sun. I love Sartre’s humble yet omnipotent remark of “Existence precedes Essence” so much so that I extol it to the level of glorifying beyond transcendence.
To even make sense and appreciate its sheer beauty, this remark of Sartre has to “exist” in my writing it as a statement on a piece of paper. When it exists, and in its existence when it begins to capture and enslave my wonder, I initiate an intellectual and philosophical appreciation of its essence to transform my mundane and bourgeois life. Similarly, to appreciate patience and its essence, we have to acknowledge its existence. Its existence is epitomized in people who let you savor the fruits of their trees of patience that they have cultivated over the years. The essence then lies in internalizing the unrelenting capacity that it [this patience] equips you with to bear with the miseries and burdens of passing time. A vest to neutralize the incapacitating injury that can be inflicted upon by the bullets of time and also, ironically, an apt testimony to the aphorism of time being a wound-healer too.
So then, is someone born with patience or does one acquire it over the time is a pressing question. Equally asphyxiating is the thought of comparative potencies of such “patiences” acquired congenitally or learned over time. In my honest opinion, every individual is equipped with the ingredients necessary to foster patience. We facilitate the destruction of these ingredients the moment we get addicted to the machinations and hyper-rationalizations of living a perfect life. A perfect life is flawless and as such does not exist. For it cannot exist. The inability to acquire all that we hold dear to us is a potent flaw that keeps our dreams and ambitions viable. And from this flaw is born the idea of patience as a means of overcoming this inability.
The utilitarian purpose patience holds surpasses that of earning wealth, buying property, shares, stocks, living a planned and perfect life, the machinations and hyper-rationalizations that come with it and in fact all those trivialities that define our bourgeois life. It is an elixir capable of granting essence and salvation in this platitudinous programmed world. It bolsters the sense of wonder inherent to every individual that makes one human. It attenuates the agony of “living a pre-defined essence” and intensifies the need for “creating an essence” to this existence.
While it basks us in the optimism and positivism of living this life for creating that essence, it also punishes and condemns us to the unfathomable depths of vulnerability and suffering. It equips us with a weapon so formidable that unequipping it becomes an impossibility. Our threshold for tolerance is redefined to defy the norms. It makes us a superhuman which makes you a rarity. A rarity struggles to thrive in this world of clichés. It authorizes others to exploit you as they need and sends a subliminal message of your ever-availability. It is an ID card that lets other access your potential, emotions, weaknesses, strengths and thus becomes a vulnerability.
The absurdity of such a virtue, therefore, lies in its ability to transform, from a singular wholesome quality to being a vulnerability. I cannot stop myself from bringing this analogy of patience’s semblance to salt. Indispensable in its necessity as pinch in the food we cook and eat, but in excess, an unpalatablility. The amount of it necessary to make a dish palatable is personalized, but in general, more or less, the same. Life is a dish you cook with the ingredients you have. Exercise caution with the salt you use. Much like the salt we use, the cultivation, utility and exhibition of patience lies on the bed of absurdity.