Wednesday, May 8, 2013

revised philosophy: part i - life as art

I've been thinking. A lot. Mostly out on walks with Joe along the water, listening to music. Something about the combination of sound and vision puts me in the present, and I feel alive, and totally aware of myself, and of life.

Last week, wonderful Blazy Beams wrote this post. Do read it. It made me laugh so much, and it sparked this contemplation of what it is that makes me love life. Since then I've been rethinking where I am with philosophy; what I think about life, whether or not it means anything, and what it's for. It might sound fruity to say so, but thinking about it has given me so much pleasure; it's made me think cringe-worthy things like "the world is my classroom", which just adds to my fun because it's all about treating the non-serious simply as non-serious, and getting your kicks where you can. It's also made me rethink my position that everybody should study philosophy. Not everybody needs to. I did, because I needed permission to think the things I did, discover that I'm not alone, and to have a reference point, if only to help me explain in succinct language what I learn through feelings and barely coherent thoughts.

Nietzsche said to live your life as a work of art. I thought that meant being serious about what you do, and being aware of your legacy; making it something beautiful for other people to look at, which I respected but didn't entirely connect with - it seems like something you could do some of the time, but not always, unless you worked for Red Cross in Gaza. It didn't seem to fit me. I love ephemera. I love empty time. I love things that connect us all, but not just the big things like sorrow and joy. I love the fact that we all have to take our undies off to pee, and that most of us have bad breath in the mornings. I love things like teacups and trees; things that can be beautiful both superficially and in a utilitarian way. When I was out walking today, I realised that the translation "live your life..." as opposed to "make your life..." (which it is, in some texts) is where the crucial difference lies, for me. Walking with my dog on a South Island peninsula listening to The Clash is living my life as art. It means something. The walking makes it so normal; something people do everywhere, all the time. It connects me, as does listening to The Clash. But then, it's me doing it. And my life, done by me, on purpose. I feel like simply by recognising that, I'm not wasting time. I'm living, and I'm aware of the fact that I'm living.

This is tumbling out and not making sense the way I want it to. I'm pretty sure I've posted it before, but maybe not in this context: this is one of my most favourite songs, and it says a lot of what I'm trying to say. Life is full of mundane moments that seem devoid of meaning except that they keep us functioning, but to me they're much more than that. They're part of the art we create, and they have so much entertainment value; there's so much humour in the world, particularly in what seems to be unglamourous and incovenient/downright painful. Life can be so much more meaningful and experienced more fully if we're aware of it; aware of the fact that every part of it is "life"/"art". And with that awareness comes the enjoyment of seeing it as a show; as art that, while tragic, has so much comedic value, or is simply diverting. "Two lovers kissing amongst the scream of midnight... two lovers missing the tranquility of solitude".

That's entertainment.

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