So I browsed a lot of blogs and websites on what we term the Meaning of Life. Poor, pathetic Alex, lost in this constant state of confusion and lack of self-assertion, the unbearable heaviness and drowsiness of ennui, of the gross grey state, of absolute insecurity. Hey, let me live my life. It’s fascinating alright. The fact that we all have such different ideals and notions and attitudes. We are freaking magnificent.
Here’s one I particularly enjoyed by famed science writer Stephen Jay Gould:
“We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a ‘higher’ answer — but none exists. This explanation, though superficially troubling, if not terrifying, is ultimately liberating and exhilarating. We cannot read the meaning of life passively in the facts of nature. We must construct these answers ourselves — from our own wisdom and ethical sense. There is no other way.”
Guys, it’s 2014. I can say it out loud, though it’s a little hard. It’s hard for me to say things without fully coming to terms with its gargantuan impact. I have officially had this blog for (ok almost) a year now, and even though I still keep a diary for more personal recordings, for a more self-assured, sometimes hazardous and selfish reinforcing of a sense of self, I found that this online release has introduced me to so many amazing human beings, inspirations, really allowing me to delve further into my passions of food and science.
I wrote down my resolutions in my diary, but then put down my pen. Continued the lazy browsing.
Four-teen. Two thousand and four-teen. Note the hyphen. The break for perfect pronounciation in normal conversation. It’s that nascent trembling again, that time when you’re supposed to make, what, a list? God I love making lists. I really do. It’s not banal, it’s not perfunctory. To me, a list is the epitome of organised thought, aside from some brilliant novel. As I said, something in me made me stop the recollection. In short, we should, no, need to, differentiate between recollection and appreciation. I’m currently reading a book about Proust and how in many of his novels and his own life (you can find it here), we may digest a tremendous amount of life lessons. Things like how to listen properly and how to take your time, the sort of self-help (goodness gracious what on earth) book I foresee myself purchasing when I’m 80 and grey and run out of excuses for a good life. But anyways, there are so many resources informing us on how to live, how to learn, how to see. How to pursue our passions and live in the most fulfilling way possible. Satisfying our inborn needs and letting our surroundings complete us somehow. Funny huh, how we strive for utmost perfection in our individual ways. In the book, I came across this particularly striking notion, the sort which actually relates to people on a mass scale.
You know how when you see something and just.. Like it? You just do. The shine on a pink apple, the drab but surreal and enlightening tones of a winter tree, maybe the sudden faint smell of tobacco and peppermint, for whatever odd reason that may be. That is because it provokes or stirs up an emotion in you, triggering a beautiful or old memory of some sort. Maybe you just like the aesthetic/visual/aural appeal of that object. Whether you identify the psychological reason behind it or not, you like it. That is essentially a fraction of the explanation detailing what makes us who we are and well, the mistake we always tend to make. In our everyday lives, we cease to stop and look, and only really get hit by an object’s full impact when it’s separated from a particular context, when we look from the outside in. Sometimes the object is fully placed in its usual habitat, it’s just that this time our senses are so heightened that it is suddenly transformed into something so excruciatingly potent or beautiful. All the details of its beauty are caught out, which is why most of us get that sad nostalgia churning on the inside when we reach (again, again) the end of a year. We look at what we have done, what we have accomplished, what more we need to do to satisfy those inner needs or self-manifested benchmarks for worthiness and goodness. And then what happens? We want to put a label on the Meaning of Life so darn badly that we actually forget to live life. To appreciate. Live. I’m not going to resolve to ‘live life to the fullest’ or ‘be the best’- I’ve done that too many times and I bore myself with my pseudo-disciplinary methods. Oh, so bored. But I am going to be absolutely ridiculous this year. And what I mean by that is to really throw myself into the many factions of my life and all it has to offer, and handle things my way, be it intertwined with my weird study schedule, obsessive skincare routine or the way I make my coffee in the mornings. That may seem the same as living life to the fullest, but remember, I said ridiculous. Just as beauty to you is different than what it is to me, what I term ridiculous, or absurd, may be utterly different from your definition.
“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
Happy New Year, you devils.