To be or not to be, this is the question: whether it is nobler of mind to endure the outrages, stones and darts of iniquitous luck, or to take up arms against a sea of thistles and fight to disperse them.
Dying, sleeping, nothing more, and with a sleep to say that we put an end to the grief and the infinite miseries natural legacy of the flesh, is a solution to be welcomed with joined hands.
Dying, sleeping, perhaps dreaming: but here is the obstacle, what dreams can assail us in that sleep of death when we are already freed from the mortal tangle, holds us back: this is the obstacle that so prolongs the life of our torments.
If not, who would want to endure the lashes and insults of time, the oppression of the tyrant, the contempt of the arrogant man, the anguish of rejected love, the delay of the law, the arrogance of the great, the kicks in the face that merit patient receives from the mediocre, when with his own hand he could settle his account with two fingers of a dagger? Who would want to carry heavy burdens, cursing and sweating under the weight of a whole life, if it were not the fear of something, after death, the unexplored land from which no traveler ever returned, to frighten our will and persuade us to bear our ills rather than running in search of others we do not know? Thus our conscience makes us cowards; thus the natural embodiment of determination fades in the presence of pale thought. And so companies of great importance and prominence are distracted from their natural course: and they lose even the name of the action …
William Shakespeare, Hamlet’s Monologue – To Be or Not to Be
The most incisive monologue in history could not have remained off this path. Although Hamlet’s line is famous, “There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horace, than your philosophy dreams of.” , Hamlet is a philosopher. He asks himself: to be or not to be, is it more noble to face the crossing in the sea of life fighting, or enduring fate stoically? Do we need to cultivate the strength of the soul to face the challenges that fate poses, or to conquer a condition of stable ataraxia? What is true nobility: the imperturbability of the soul or the courage to fight for justice?
What is the real strength: endurance or the ability to overthrow the unjust?
What is the goal: peace or victory?
Non-being is philosophical death, detachment from life, Nirvana: to come out of the precarious existential condition, with awareness. The annulment that leads to the abandonment of existence in order to achieve distancing from the earthly condition and indifference towards life itself.
Or choose to die, to “not be” physically, and put an end to the paradox of life with the liberation of death.
Life, as man is linked to nature and “flesh”, forces us to fight to survive and to defend ourselves and those we love. A struggle that involves everyone, which forces us to fight against our own family members. Even if the Oedipus man flees from his cruel destiny, it inevitably comes to meet him.
It is useless to try to escape or hide: the inevitable storm sooner or later overwhelms.
And at that point we are at the mercy of events, we can no longer avoid the evils, because we have already accepted the goods as well. And then the only solution would be to die?
But our life is held back by an invisible thread: the hope of a life after physical death.
However, we must deserve this beatitude, we must be worthy of God’s love. And therefore endure the suffering and injustices of earthly life, for the hope of an afterlife peace. Thus we are convinced “that it is better to put up with our ills rather than run in search of others we do not know”.
Or remain at the mercy of doubt, between being and not being, between life and death, between action and stillness. But this is the only choice that “makes us cowards”.
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