A Man Said To The Universe………………….
A Man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
~~ Stephen Crane ~~
The existentialist irony of Stephen Crane is quite infectious. Although, sadly dying as a mere stripling of 29, he was a prolific writer of remarkable poems, short stories and novels, which beggars belief at what he might have become had the good Lord allowed him a further lease of life. Of course, this little poem is nothing but ironic in relation to Crane`s very short life span, when one considers it`s subject matter of the cosmic irony of God, basically throwing a celestial spanner into the works of fate in order to dash the hopes of humanity. The existentialist concept of a lifetime`s decision making being the sole criteria to personal destiny, rather than the essence of a soul calling the shots, is in full view in just five wonderful lines. Then again, God is usually a given in nature, but Crane shows us otherwise; existentialism is also indifferent to God`s existence in nature as well. We live in a mechanistic universe, which does not recognize the existence of humanity anymore than it does anything else – including an entity called, God. If God is just another name for the universe, then it harbours no concern for us at all; because the universe is also indifferent to existence. Nothing in the existentialist universe has an obligation to anything else; humanity`s hopes of universal recognition of existence is a fruitless excercise doomed to failure. If the universe lacks a sense of the presence of “others”, why should we suppose it owes us a nano second of it`s time to oblige us? Thanks to the incomparable mind of Stephen Crane, we can twist ourselves into philosophical knots to try and place ourselves in the universe, but also, whether we actually exist or not.