Monday, June 9, 2008

encountering the stranger, fragments

A city is filled with strangers. All types of strangers. Some you might want to meet and many others you may never want to encounter. Most of them seem to be looking blankly into the distance with a burden of worry or boredom creating distance between them and the rest of the world. Camus introduces us to the most alienated of strangers. "The Stranger" is not familiar with the emotions of belonging or love that might tie him to others or give him reason for his future. Empty. The stranger has no sense of meaning in life and all his relationships are so shallow that he takes no inspiration from them. There is no greater purpose for his life.

When we continue on in this way we have no reason to live and whatever it is that makes us want to is incomprehensible. When the strangers on the bus or in the metro encounter one another there is a renewed hope that we may find meaning after all. These encounters are mere shadows of what true relationship involves but at least they can remind us that we are human and that there is something beautiful under the masks that we so often wear. Opportunities abound to enter into relationship and yet they are missed because we fear being rejected if people see our true face, our weakness, our fear, or our failure. Because of this we remain strangers to one another, we stare with empty gazes into the future waiting for someone to instill some meaning into our existence.

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke