Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Other Side Of Seriousness

I am contemplating cutting my hair.

It gets long and curly. People like my curls. I told my parents today that I kind of like the attention that my curls bring me. People want to touch them sometimes, people think they are cute, people think they jive with my silly and playful personality.

This is all well and good. The attention is nice. I like being complimented.

But I also like my hair to be very very short. Buzzed super close. I sometimes like my hair to be a bit more serious like that.

This tension in my hair reflects a larger tension in my own heart. I'm a deeply serious person. I take reading and writing and thinking very seriously. I'm very emotional. My life feels very intense to me.

But people don't always know this about me. They say things about how I'm never serious, how I'm always smiling and being playful. Which is true. I'm a very playful person. I love to laugh and goof around with people. I love to relax and express myself. But, for me, there is always some kind of intensity sitting behind all of that, supporting it.

Because in reality there is no tension between my playfulness and my seriousness. They are two sides of the same coin, they arise out of one another, support one another.

But I guess sometimes I worry that people don't recognize this in me. People sometimes just think I'm silly. But the truth is that my silliness has an intellectual foundation.

I was talking to my dad about this today. He said that I was so serious that I came out the other side. I'm on the other side of seriousness. I have tried to explain this before to someone. How if you take seriousness far enough you break through this wall and into a world of playful, lightheartedness.

Tonight I took a note on this issue. I wrote "Playfulness, dance, kindness, and expression are the only logical outcomes of my deepest convictions about the nature of existence, meaning, death, all that."

So what are my intellectual views that lead to playfulness? Well.

I was born alone.

I will die alone.

There probably isn't an afterlife.

There probably isn't any inherent meaning to life.

The meaning of life, as A.C. Grayling reminded me, is to make life meaningful.

Although I enter into a world of an already existing symbolic order, it is up to me to make something else of that symbolic order, to create myself and the world I live in.

Other people are on the whole good. They need love and should be loved.

Love is great, pain is bad but unavoidable.

A mitigation of pain is important.

An acceptance of pain is important.

So how does all of this lead me to the conclusion that dancing, singing, loving, joking, and being kind are the most important things?

I'm not sure how to articulate it clearly.

But it seems to me that if most things in life are transient and without inherent meaning then they are a space of potential creativity. They are there to be actively created, not passively experienced. And if I'm to create my experience it sure as fuck won't be one of pain, one of anger, one of disdain and disrespect.

It will be one of love, of jokes, of hugging and dancing, of smiling and of paying attention to people like they matter. Because they do.

Oh the years I was afraid to smile.

Oh how happy I am to see them gone, to regard them from a distance of years.

And what of all these people around me? All these customers I serve, some of whom are wonderful, and some of whom want nothing to do with me as a person.

What of those people who want nothing to do with me? What is going on in their lives?

Well, I imagine that the hustle bustle of their lives is quite a lot. They are worried about their jobs, about their children, about their spouses, their mortgages, their money. All very real problems. But transient and symbolically constituted problems nonetheless. The only real problem is life and death. How to live, how to prepare to die. The only real problem is people, their lives, and the way those lives interact.

I also have to take account of things like money and rent. But I want to do my best to recognize those things as transient and ultimately illusory. I want to get at the universals of life, things like love, pain, death. Relationships is what I care about.

I seek the other side of seriousness. I want to use intellectual work to clarify precisely what is important in life. And I can only conclude that the most important things in life are to love, to play, to laugh, to drink and be merry.

And, for me, always to think. Because thinking makes me happy. It gives me a sense of satisfaction, a sense of control, a sense of peace and love.

Stop fucking around with seriousness. Break on through to the other side.

Because on the other side of seriousness lies a world of playful love and generic affection for the world.

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