If any artist was going to have some intelligent thoughts on “the point in life,” it was bound to be Nick Cave.
According to Cave, to start answering such a question “we must first understand what it is to be human.” “It seems to me that the common agent that binds us all together is loss, and so the point in life must be measured in relation to that loss,” he said. “Our individual losses can be small or large.
“They can be accumulations of losses barely registered on a singular level, or full-scale cataclysms. Loss is absorbed into our bodies from the moment we are cast from the womb until we end our days, subsumed by it to become the essence of loss itself.
Several other beautiful sentences followed: “We ultimately become the grief of the world, having collected countless losses through our lifetime… We are capable of the greatest atrocities and the deepest sufferings, all culminating in a vast, collective grief. This is our shared condition.”
Cave’s letter continued: “Life, it seems, is full of an insistent, systemic and irrepressible beauty. But these moments of happiness are not experienced alone, rather they are almost entirely relational and are dependent on a connection to the Other – be it people, or nature, or art, or God. This is where meaning establishes itself, within the connectedness, nested in our shared suffering.
“I believe we are meaning-seeking creatures, and these feelings of meaning, relational and connective, are almost always located within kindness. Kindness is the force that draws us together, and this, Beau, is what I think I am trying to say – that despite our collective state of loss, and our potential for evil, there exists a great network of goodness, knitted together by countless everyday human kindnesses.”
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He concluded: “Through kindness we slant, shockingly and miraculously, toward meaning. We discover, in that smallest gesture of goodwill laid at the feet of our mutual and monumental loss, ‘the point’.”
You can read Cave’s full reply to the fan here.