To Understand the Philosophical Intricacies embroiled in each Page of the book ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig, there is exigency to go through basic Philosophy. Perhaps, ‘Sophie’s World’ by Jostein Gaarder is a quintessential book, to begin with before delving into Midnight Library for conceptual clarity. A quote credited to Dan Howell says: “Embrace the void and have the courage to exist“.
As we start to read the very first page, we find the protagonist Nora Seed seems to be in an out-and-out predicament of her existence. A sense of existential crisis is being shaped in her psychological contemplation and this organically keeps her in anxiety, depression, and insomnia throughout the whole clock. Why such a state of affairs was predominant in her life? All because of lack of established definition in her life and this coaxed her to lay hold off antidepressant pills.
Fritjof Capra writes in his book “Uncommon Wisdom: Conversations With Remarkable People” which aptly fits the social and mental behavior of Nora Seed- “A person functioning exclusively in the Cartesian mode may be free from manifest assumptions but cannot be considered mentally healthy. Such individuals typically lead ego-centered, competitive, goal-oriented lives. They tend to be unable to drive satisfaction from ordinary activities in everyday life and can become alienated from their inner world. For people whose existence is dominated by this mode of experience no level of wealth, power, or fame will bring genuine satisfaction. They become infused with a sense of meaninglessness, futility, and even absurdity that no amount of external success can dispel“.
As dreaming is an inclusive trait of one’s life. So, Nora Seed dreamt to become an Olympic Level swimmer, glaciologist, possess run-of-the-mill musical talent which made her dreamt to be a teacher of classical music. A man with whom she cherished to marry and planned to open a pub remained brutally unattended just before her marriage. Her relationship with every being was in chaos and her only cat dead in an accident. In amidst such a callously rough-hewn list of dreams, she settled on suicide.
In the Peripheral of extreme despondency, Nora Seed wakes up, not on her cozy bed but in a library. The library is endless with nothing but books. Each book is representing a different version of Nora’s Life. The Midnight Library to Nora is metaphorically an opportunity to have countless possibilities of living the life she adores. The library indoctrinates that she could make different choices in her ‘Original Life’ and all those different choices will lead to different aftermath and a whole new life story would bring on. This midnight Library helps her to be a nomad of an imperial Journey in discovering her ‘Self Covert’ and adopting a beaucoup of versions of her own life. Unexpectedly, Mrs. Elm, the compassionate Librarian of Nora’s Schooldays happens to be the Librarian of Midnight Library and she guides her to choose books (path) of Midnight Library with no or minimal regrets.
What Nora gets to know in the Midnight Library is very aberrant to her sense of Philosophical understanding, that, every life contains something which tends to disappoint us and every outcome of one’s life has a sense of regretfulness. An ideal life is a myth and in that loop, myth, and idealism entice us more as it deviates us from the verisimilitude of Life.
This book provokes us of being concerned about mental health. Why mental health is becoming central to our Life. The reason is of course the distraction it hands over in the day to day life. Why so? Because of the decision, we make and accept to our life. A quote accredited to Don Yaeger, “Decisions are the frequent fabric of our daily design”. The philosophy of decision-making is found in our “ability to reason“. It is believed that for human beings reasoning and making good decisions are closely connected, and those right choices and rational choices are much akin. Since the issue of mental health isn’t exclusive, so, in that loop by picking up this book, everyone will find something similar as attenuated in this book. In a state of outright silence, we will introspect the worldly side of our life. Regret holds us back, enlarging the gap between reality and dream.
Kurt Vonnegut, the American writer says, Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been“. We must admit that a coin has two sides, if not this then that. To any side of the coin, there is a pond of regretfulness and we can’t be unshared to be in a state of regret. We don’t have much courage to face the reality. We feel to enjoy the process of procrastination. The outcome of regretting is brutally bad. It’s a never-ending cycle causing dissatisfaction, lethargy, and self-hatred. Prediction is majorly disastrous. As Matt Haig writes in this book, “It is easy to mourn the lives we aren’t living… it takes no effort to miss the friends we didn’t make and the work we didn’t do… but it is not lives we regret not living that is the real problem. It is the regret itself.”
The future is beyond our control. The present is what with us and we should beautify our present. We are acquainted with the theory of assuming ourselves as worthless. We think we do not matter to anyone or we do not have any role to anyone’s life. In the big picture, that’s not true. Every decision of our life shapes and reshapes our future which eventually falls to other people’s spaces also. Humans, with each passing day, strive for perfection. Attempts are made to sort out the disorder and smoothen out the irregularities.
The aim, it seems, is to create an ideal world where we may get everything served on a platter just the way we want it. Simply put, a world where there would be no conflicts of either thoughts or actions and everything would be synchronized and in perfect harmony with each other. In the world that entwines chaos and flaws within its very fabric, our relentless search for perfection appears as yet another anomaly.
A good many of us spend our entire lives on this wild goose chase. To imagine this perfect world is close to impossible; to create one, even more so. The real challenge, though, is to survive in such a world where things are so apt, so precise that any deviation of thought or action will be considered an absurdity. We truly lack quality of appreciation. We are on the verge of a cataclysm in every sense. The moral lies in the unaccepted fact that not every time we used to be on the good side of our existence.
We have to face a set of challenges irrespective of the decisions we make rationally. To be in a balanced mode of our choices it tends to be the Final call to be out from the state of depression, anxiety, regret, and overthinking. Instead of accepting and fighting the hybridized throughout our life, we prefer to apart from materiality which dexterously beseems the analogy used by the Joker in the installment of the Batman series, “we’re all dogs chasing cars; we wouldn’t know what to do with one if we caught it.”
Feature image is for representational purposes only.