white stone sculpture of man

What do you do when you are alone in an unusual place, with very little evidence that might explain your situation?

No matter how good of a scientist you are, some questions cannot be answered. No matter how many benevolent entities surround you, you are still ultimately alone.

What do you do?

Here is one of the most touching and meaningful passages of the fantasy novel Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke. This is the protagonist, all alone, having an internal conversation with himself about the place in which he lives, which he calls the “House.” (To avoid spoilers, I redacted part of it.)

Do you trust the House? I ask Myself.
Yes, I answer Myself.
And if the House has [REDACTED], then it has done so for good reason.
But I do not understand the reason.
It does not matter that you do not understand the reason. You are the Beloved Child of the House. Be comforted.
And I am comforted.”

This is so beautiful, and so sad, I want to cry.

When all else fails, there is still spirituality. When all else fails, there is still comfort in the fact that—even if absolutely nothing makes sense—you are alive, and a vitally important part of the world simply by virtue of existing, and a beloved child of the universe.

There have definitely been times in my life when—in the prison of my mind—this was literally all there was. Just the knowledge of my existence, no matter how broken, no matter how alone, no matter how doomed, under the protective and loving umbrella of some higher power or force of existence.

There were other times in my life when I lacked even that.

Those times were unspeakably worse.

I recommend to myself the way of spirituality. I will not pretend to make such recommendations for others. It’s very personal.

Do you trust the House?


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