Ernesto Sabato, The Tunnel

When at first I hear and then try to define, the word “tragedy”, I understand it to be a negative state. Tragedy being that label for the suffocation of humanity and of decency by means of a capricious form of void.

It is probably fair to say that one of the most tragic events in any persons life, is bound to be their own death. Yes, some may say that death holds no such connotations for them, convinced as they are of things they cannot know. To these people it should be enough to point out that a tragedy is generally magnified by the protagonist’s own ignorance as to the situation – confrontation with the void being a dramatic, though not a necessary feature of life’s tragedy.

Direct perception of the tragedy of life is beyond human comprehension. The void and by extension tragedy, are merely externalities generated by the act living – life being a state of existence implying the possibility of an inverse state, wherein things and meaning do not exist.

Q: Is it true to say that tragedy is beyond all human comprehension, as surely one person might perceive in part, or in it’s entirety the tragedy borne out by another?

Sadly no, as we are – each of us, locked up within ourselves and left to view the world, diffused and distorted from behind a veil of solipsism.
This is not a metaphysical contortion, but merely a statement as to the fidelity of information transfer. We as humans are only able to record, order and convey information to other human-beings with extremely low fidelity. The outcome of this simple fact being that we are, each of us individuals. This is due in no small part to the quasi-genealogical profundity of thought, variety of expression and the flawed prism of perception.
This means that we are by way of limitation, constrained from experiencing things extraneous to our own narrow field, we are confined, trapped within our own reality – born naked, to live and to die within our own isolated tunnel of reality.

Yet, in even this hopeless situation there are still those people whose tunnels seem to cross paths with, or run parallel to our own. An arrangement that can through the proximity of independent isolation evoke, as if the tunnels were strings being struck and left to hum in harmony for a short while, the remainder of all human emotion.


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