Three Litanies For Life From Sci-Fi

When I was younger, I focused on the Litany Against Fear from the Dune novels. 

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”

Not only was I exposed to it at an early age, but it also reflected a lot of the challenges in my life at the time. They were fear inducing – whether because of physical or emotional or social peril, they were things I feared. Then I ran across this from The Handmaid’s Tale:

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

It isn’t about fear so much as perseverance.  Of making it through the tough times and horrid people to get to somewhere better, something better. About being strong enough to endure. That held me in good stead for quite a while. Now, though, I’ve been having a different problem. It’s not been fear, and it’s not been strength.  I’ve been struggling with straight up nihilism.  Not the cheerful nihilism I’ve written about before. This has been a struggle with pure “nothing means anything” grey-colored nihilism.  The kind where you’re just going through the motions.  Where any effort is futile, and entropy has the final laugh. And into that space strides Gunny Draper from The Expanse.  Though not formally named, she too has a litany.  Gunny Draper’s litany is perhaps far more relevant for both me at this time in my life, and perhaps for the world as a whole right now. 

There are people I love. There are people who have loved me. I fought for what I believed, protected those I could, and stood my ground against the encroaching darkness. Good enough.

Good enough indeed. Thank you, Gunny.