Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I am leaving because I am bored

George Sanders was a very talented actor who starred in films for almost 40 years (from the 30s to the 70s). Who can really forget his acting as Lord Henry Wotton in “The Picture of Dorian Gray” of 1945 or even more, the way he interpreted the role of Addison DeWitt in “All About Eve” (1950) for which he won a best supporting actor Academy Award.

George Sanders committed suicide in Castelldefels (a coastal town near Barcelona, Spain) by an overdose of barbiturates, leaving behind a suicide note that read:

"Dear World,

 I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck."

I have always been fascinated by the contents of this suicide note. How can somebody, at one point in his life, say, well, I am bored of my existence. I don’t want to play “life” anymore. As if suddenly, he could see through all of our supposed worries and all of our supposed happiness as just the illusions that they are. As if he could stare “being” in the face and stop pretending. Martin Heidegger in his book “ What is Metaphysics?” (1929) says at one point: "Profound boredom, drifting here and there in the abysses of our existence like a muffling fog, removes all things and men and oneself along with it, into a remarkable indifference. This boredom reveals being as a whole."

How long have you got to live to have lived long enough? In this “sweet cesspool” we breathe and we fight and we play hide and seek. Generation after generation we take our turn and swirl around to the dance macabre in our fancy dress costumes. We are closely involved in our lives and constantly in motion like buzzing flies. We invent the new but the cycles remain the same. Form changes but not substance. And boredom, in revealing this nakedness of being, becomes the instigator of existential angst.

In Chapter 18 of the novel  “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), it is written; "The only horrible thing in the world is ennui, Dorian. That is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness".

I can actually picture George Sanders as Lord Henry Wotton in glorious black and white, having just said that.

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