Two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, are on stage. They are there to wait – just as everybody else in the world is waiting – nobody knows exactly for what. Everybody is waiting, hoping that something is going to happen: today it has not happened, tomorrow it is going to happen. This is the human mind: today is being wasted, but it hopes that tomorrow something is going to happen. And those two tramps are sitting under a tree and waiting…waiting for Godot.
Nobody knows exactly who this Godot is. The word sounds like God, but it only sounds, and in fact the gods you are waiting for are all Godots. You have created them because one has to wait for something, otherwise how will you tolerate existence? For what? How will you postpone living? How will you hope? Life will become intolerable, impossible, if there is nothing to wait for. Somebody is waiting for money, and somebody is waiting for power, and somebody is waiting for enlightenment, and somebody for something else; but everybody is waiting. And people who wait are the people who miss.
These two tramps are there just to wait. What they are waiting for is the coming of a man, Godot, who is expected to provide them with shelter and sustenance. Meanwhile, they try to make time pass with small talk, jokes, games, and minor quarrels….
That’s what your life is: one is engaged meanwhile with small things. The great thing is going to happen tomorrow. Godot will come tomorrow. Today one is quarrelling – the wife with the husband, the husband with the wife. Small things: “small talk, jokes, games…tedium and emptiness.” Today, that’s what everybody is feeling: tedium, emptiness…. “Nothing to be done” is the refrain that rings again and again…. They say again and again “Nothing to be done,” but then they console themselves, “but tomorrow he is coming.” And in fact he has never promised them, they have never met him – it is an invention. One has to invent; out of misery one has to invent the tomorrow and something to cling to. Your gods, your heavens, your paradises, your mokshas, are all inventions. Tao does not talk about them.
This play of Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, is very essentially Taoist.
In the midst of the first act, two strangers – Pozzo and Lucky storm onto the stage. Pozzo seems to be a man of affluence; Lucky, the servant, is being driven to a nearby market to be sold. Pozzo tells the tramps about Lucky’s virtues the most remarkable of which is that he can think. To show them, Pozzo snaps his whip and commands “Think!” and there follows a long, hysterically incoherent monologue in which fragments of theology, science, sports, and assorted learning jostle in confusion until the three others hurl themselves on him and silence him.