By University Paper Help ‘On
Transience’, you notice how Freud starts his piece with a reminiscence
of the past- “Not long ago I went on a summer walk….” This theme of
looking back on the past has become a common feature in any conversation
“Remember when we used to think working in the library was a pain?”
groans one Ms Jones, a fresher working on a collaboration project with
her classmates on Zoom. One of the three students seems to have frozen
mid-sentence. “Now increase the pain by a hundred, and you’ll see how I
feel about collaborating in a Zoom meeting.”
Ms Jones isn’t the only student who would give anything to go back to
the pre-pandemic world. But, unfortunately, everything that you would
usually take for granted- such as meeting friends, going to school,
partying on weekends – has come to an abrupt halt as social distancing
norms and lockdowns force people to confine themselves in their homes.
This is most likely why thoughts of how much you miss those moments of
social gathering with friends would come unbidden to your mind, and
you’ll find yourself reminiscing the past.
As you progress in the essay, you’d notice Freud grappling renewable energy with
the meaning of life when your entire future is uncertain. During the
time of writing, Freud and his contemporaries had no assurance about
what the future held. Technology had yet to reach the advancement of the
21st century, and the grime and death all around called into question
the nature of everything that human beings take pride in.
Permanence and Transience
An initial reading of the essay would naturally make you think that
Freud mourns the destruction of art, science and civilisation that the
war has wrought upon them. With the bombings and lootings, various
places of historical significance had fallen to pieces or were barely
holding on during the World War. You can see this sense of mourning in
all the war prose and poet writers of the time.
However, living during the time of the pandemic, you find yourself focusing more on Freud’s use of the words “…shattered our pride…our admiration…our hopes….” This emphasis on our shows that Freud includes everyone in the shared experience of the war.
This doesn’t limit itself to the war. Freud’s words are an invitation
for people with similar experiences to share in the idea of a
‘shattered pride’. This anger and devastation at the pride shattering
are directed internally – almost as if human beings finally wake up to
the reality that they aren’t living in the harmonious world they have
envisioned for themselves.
Freud, who had experienced the fantasy of being a part of
civilisation and its eternal existence, is disillusioned and grapples
with the sudden realisation the war had brought about. According to him,
human beings form a personal attachment not only to their loved ones
and the people around them but also to their nation, socio-cultural
achievements, political prowess, natural wonders, and scientific
achievements. All these become a part of your identity with time.
Hence, in the destruction of any of these, you are bound to feel a
sense of double-loss – first when you lose something precious that you
cherished, and secondly when you lose that part of yourself that
identified with turabian referencing .
This sense of double loss is something that millions of people
worldwide experienced as the pandemic took away their daily lives
without any warning. The confusion and uncertainty, added with the daily
reports of hundreds of deaths and no cure in sight, made the initial
years of 2020 something straight out of a sci-fi Hollywood film.
The entire concept of ‘transience’ lies in the fact that nothing in
this world is permanent. Hence, when you mourn any loss in your life, it
begs the question – “Is the world transient because you mourn it, or do
you mourn because the world is transient?”
With these thoughts in mind, you can look back to the early 2020
months when you had to mourn the loss of everything you thought to be
permanent. This includes waking up every day and getting ready for
school, playing baseball after classes, commuting in overcrowded trains
to reach work on time, and the weekend trips to the restaurants.
While the situation is still yet to go back to the way it was before,
there’s no doubt that the struggle Freud faced during the writing of
‘On Transience’ is somewhat reflected in the confusion and fear that
permeates the current world reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Summing it up,
The lull of quiet that had prevailed after the end of the Second
World War broke when the coronavirus turned the entire world into chaos.
Those who had not experienced any world wars and lived their lives
under the false impression that ‘stability is permanent’ received a rude
awakening as they mourned the loss of their “normal.” This is similar
to the explorations professional essay writer Freud
takes in his essay ‘On Transience’ – a work that you would be able to
relate to the most in this current state of instability.