Hamlet – modern adaptation

[Jack knocks on the door].

JOHN: Who is it?

JACK: The question is, my friend: is it better to be alive or dead?

JOHN: Is it nobler to suffer what luck throws at you, or to fight against all those troubles and end them?

JACK: To die is to sleep – a sleep that ends all the heartache and shocks that life gives us.

JOHN: That’s an achievement I wish for. To die, to sleep – to sleep … maybe to dream. Ah! But there’s the catch! In death’s sleep who knows what kind of dreams might come, when we go there. It must make us pause. This is the tragedy that stretches out our sufferings for so long!

JACK: Who would put up with all life’s countless humiliations and abuses – the unfairness and injustice – when you could simply pick up the knife and call it quits?

[A knife is slid on the ground under the cubicle door].

JACK: Who would choose to grunt and sweat through an exhausting life?

JOHN: Unless they were afraid of something after death – the undiscovered country from which no visitor returns – that gives no answers and makes us stick to the evils we know, rather than rush off to find other ones we don’t? Fear of death makes us all cowards, and our natural impulse for action is lost in thought.

[John gets up and opens the cubicle door. No one is there].

Age-old issue

A: Angry humans of the twentieth century came to the brink of self-destruction, inflicting unbelievable suffering in the process. Hating the hatred helps it grow, even though it may change its face.

B: That’s just an empty platitude. If you don’t fight the malevolent, you are complicit by allowing it to continue.

A: You always become the result of the energy that moves you. Not for no reason has it been so often said that you become the thing you hate.

B: I have every right to hate. There should be justice! People sitting on mountain tops don’t have to deal with the realities of this world. If people didn’t fight for what is right, evil would walk over everything, including you and me.

A: You deserve not to be contaminated by this energy. You have a chance to be better, to make a better world. You can feel what is right and act intensely, but it is your anger that unbalances you.

B: Some people are evil, I have no intention of being kind to them, they deserve everything coming to them.

A: The world will only heal with kindness. If humanity can find its light there can be no darkness. You can help make that possible, right now.

B: Anything I do will not change the world.

A: Give your love and the world will be relieved. Give your anger and the world will be wounded yet again. That’s how important you are. That’s how important every single person is.

Peace of mind

1:  Can you help me?

4:  Yes of course.

1: I am consumed with feelings for someone who doesn’t have them for me. I have trouble sleeping and wake up aroused. I have no choice but to think about her and when I do I am flooded with physical desire for her. This is “in love” right?

4:  You know that sexual desire changes and what you are feeling now may fade away?

1:  Yes I know craving isn’t love, but it isn’t as simple as that.

4:  What do you think triggered it this time?

1:  I don’t know.

4:  Pain is attracted to pain because it wants more of it.

1: I’m not sure I agree with that. It’s recognition of something in another, a similar frequency or whatever you want to call it. I suppose if you see similar expression in another, empathy can create feelings of closeness.

4:  Can you express your feelings to her?

1:  It’s not possible or helpful to be open with her, she has her own life and I want her to be happy.

4:  Examine whether that is really true, or are you being fearful?

1:  No, it’s not possible, selfish even.

4:  Then this is an opportunity for you to practice love with non-attachment.

1:  Doesn’t sound very romantic.

4: Love is giving, complete, the source of everything. Love doesn’t need to crave anything. This is where peace and serenity reside.

1: Sounds like you’re saying I should not get too close to anyone or need or miss anyone. It sounds unnatural, uncaring.

4: Love is not conditional on the circumstances in this world. Let your heart break, don’t be afraid, don’t struggle, you will find that nothing is ever lost.

1:  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

4: Yes you do. Be still, radiate love, your true nature beyond the conditioning of your mind.

Something instead of nothing

1:  Why is there something instead of nothing?

3:  Given an infinite amount of opportunities anything can emerge from the chaos, including our world. 

1:  But why are there infinite somethings compelled with energy, rather than nothing?

3: There was no beginning, our universe probably burst forth from another universe and so on. It has always been so.

1:  But where did the first universe come from?

3: Not everything has an answer yet, but no doubt it will be explained with the advance of scientific knowledge. Even if the goal is not reached, there is no need to include supernatural causes in the equation. Logic requires that we deal with verifiable facts, adopting the most efficient explanation.

1: Time does not make sense. The existence of things does not make sense. Can we not postulate the existence of something beyond time and space that created everything? Can we call this God?

3: There is no need to do so. We may not know what the variable x is yet, but we should not start invoking imaginary entities.

1:  Something doesn’t feel right.

3:  There is no evidence for the existence of a God or Gods, the world is explicable in terms of scientific explanation.

1: The fact is that I have always believed in God, it’s not a considered opinion or the product of upbringing, it’s just what has been instinctive to me.

3:  Ok well a cognitive scientist may explain this as a natural propensity to religiosity, there by natural selection to give a purpose for the survival of the organism. 

1:  Is there any meaning?

3: A person may look at the nature of the universe, see the randomness of outcomes, the cruelty and enormous suffering and decide there is no benevolence at work here. They may look at evolution by natural selection and decide there is no plan here. The universe, although magnificent, does not care about us – we must make our own way and make our own meaning in the brief window of opportunity for existence.

1:  Suddenly you’re speaking with feeling, maybe your outlook is motivated through sympathy and outrage at the sufferings in the world.

3: It is logic replacing delusion. Myths and fairy stories aren’t needed anymore.

1: I admire your beliefs more than belief systems motivated out of fear or desire for self-reward. I don’t care what you believe, as long as your actions are kind.

3: My conclusions are not beliefs. Religious delusions have been the cause of so much of the worst in humanity.

1:  Religions are subject to corruption, yet the spiritual path can be found in the different traditions.

3:  A God is not necessary to be spiritual, to behave with morality and to appreciate beauty in Nature.

1: You do have a belief system. You believe the universe ultimately has no purpose and its existence can be completely explained by rules contained within itself – when in fact there is no way of knowing the ultimate causes of things. You believe the answer to the mystery of existence is that there isn’t one.

3: I am offering the most logical approach to understand the world.

1: I don’t believe that the world would exist without a purpose. I believe in the possibility of a reality beyond this reality, beyond cause and effect, time and space. In this life I see the purpose as feeling connected with the world, being present and alive, feeling love, creativity, beauty and joy. The true reality of experience may run far deeper than what our senses show us.

3:  I deal with facts and what can be observed, not imagined.

1: Reality is tenuous – it can be anything depending on what our senses show us. Whether what they are showing is objectively real is unknowable. I think you have too much faith in the material surface reality of things, a reality that in itself does not seem complete.

nosce te ipsum

2:  Why do you hurt?

1:  Because I love her.

2: Do you love her? You could have done something a long time ago if you loved her.

1:  I was dead inside.

2: Ah bless. Don’t make excuses, you want what you can’t have – is that not true?

1:  No I hurt because of losing the hoped for happiness I might have had.

2: You are confusing emotions, thinking with your dick. You’ve felt like this before haven’t you?

1: Yes. More than once.

2:  You’re just repeating the same old patterns then aren’t you?

1:  Yes probably, but maybe I am because I didn’t learn before.

2: Ha, bullshit. Shit happens, you think you’ve learnt something?

1:  I’m aware of this conversation.

2: I’m you, dickhead. Have this “conversation” out loud on the tube, see what response you get.

1: I might get a couple of extra seats.

I know that your voice is interchangeable with the madness happening in the world.

2: What’s that supposed to mean! Wake up, it’s survival of the fittest. Obey the rules or be just another of the losers cast aside. I can help you.

1: Maybe you mean it, but you say the same thing to everyone else as well, resulting in everyone using and abusing each other for the survival of you.

2: Nobody gives a shit about you. If you’re too stupid to understand that then you’re just another of nature’s mistakes. Tell me, what is love?

1:  A sense of feeling connected with another, wanting the other to flourish and to feel joy themselves.

2: Bullshit. It’s a chemical response in your brain evolved to make you bond for the purpose of rearing children. The science is there if you are prepared to look. You’re a disposable puppet to your genes.

1: I don’t understand the unknowable ultimate causes of things and neither does scientific knowledge. What I do know is that if more people felt connected to each other, and loved each other, then the world would be a much better place.

2: Women seek to manipulate and control you. They will prod and poke you to see your reactions. It’s all perfectly understandable – they want someone dedicated to them who will do their bidding. Love and sex are excellent ways to achieve results.

1: I think that women are more likely to get extreme when they feel they’re not receiving the love they have given. But generally everyone is crying out in the dark to be loved.

2: Love, love all we need is love – it’s shite. You’re here to be somebody, to take what you can before it’s too late. By all means, pretend to love if it means getting women, that’s a good tactic.

1:  It’s also callous and hateful.

2: People who desire love want to be adored, admired, pleasured. A little bit of chemical voodoo and that’s your love. It soon goes when the chemicals wear off, when things aren’t as pleasurable as before, when the compliments turn into insults. I can get you better drugs than that if you want.

1: Sometimes with the need to be loved comes an illness that is one way, conditional and with high expectations for personal reward. It’s not love. But all things change, the illness can fade into full health.

2:  A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

1: You’re becoming boring.

2: You disappoint me. You are not survival material.

1:  Somehow that doesn’t matter any more. 

2: You will gradually rot away to nothing. And no-one will give a shit.

1: Oh well. I feel a bit lighter. And you’ve helped me answer the main question. Yes I do love her because I want her to be fulfilled and happy, even if she finds that with someone else.

2:  Twat!

1: I would rather live in my world than yours. Cheers.