The Darkness of Mere Being: Excerpts from Watchmen

Over spring break, I finished re-reading Watchmen, one of my favorite books and definitely my favorite graphic novel. The last time I read it was near the end of high school, and I noticed that this time around, I saw certain things differently or was able to bring in my experiences and lessons learned from the past few years to enjoy the story and characters even more.

I wanted to share an excerpt which I think is quite profound and takes place in a conversation between Dr. Manhattan and the Silk Spectre on Mars. The Silk Spectre had been trying to convince Dr. Manhattan to return to Earth to save humanity, and up to this point, Dr. Manhattan had believed life to be meaningless and not worth saving, until his realization:

Watchmen Mars 1Watchmen Mars 2

Dr. Manhattan’s conversation after this is one of my favorites in the entire book and is as beautiful as it is profound:

…but the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget…I forget.

We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away.

Come…dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly.

Dry your eyes…and let’s go home.

The chapter then ends with a quote by the famous psychotherapist Carl Jung: “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”

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