Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help…
Jean-Paul Sartre. L’Etre et le Neant/Being and Nothingness, 1943.
As a child, I spent many of my summers at my grandmother’s home in rural Ohio. I came to cherish the time as an opportunity to explore those lonely wooded areas and empty fields that surrounded me. Our evenings were spent talking, playing board games, reading, and listening to outdated records. It really felt as though time stood still during those long, lazy summers.
My grandmother passed away during the summer of 2004 after a long, and regretfully painful, battle with several types of cancer. This event led me to consider how these moments with my grandmother had truly formed who I am today – largely my values, my ideas about the world around me, and my plans for the future. I ultimately came to the realization that we are largely alone in this world.
As members of a largely anonymous society we are simply faces in a crowd, if even that. In this world full of shadowy strangers the solitary figure could become a representation of an individual each of us can identify with personally or as an antagonist. A rejection of this solitary existence may be due to the fact that admitting our own insignificance on a greater level can prove to be very difficult.
© Chrystal Nause Photography