My daughter told me that she wanted to create “another” Instagram account to post, this time, only good pictures, like according to the ancient laws of this social media, which was: one picture (not many), square, no video, no story.
It is a tool for this page, right? I call it on the spot : “Second One Aside”.
You have a house, a home, but you rent a small apartment downtown, to write. It’s cool, alone, quiet, and in the middle of the city life.
You read a great big book, but you begin a small essay aside, to make the first one last longer, to make a pause, to breathe, to invent the pleasure to go back.
You’re married, but you have a lover or a friend you like to walk with because it’s another body – another brain.
You have a passion, a hobby, but you have another one aside. As a photographer, you paint, for example. The other craft brings you joy, a distraction, but also teaches you other things, it… enhances you.
It’s infinite! Where’d you apply that? Where’s/what’s the “second one aside”, and what could it bring?
I decided to explore a bit much the field of Graphic Novels. I don’t really read comics but I own some “milestones”, like Spiegelmann’s Maus, Clowes’ Ghost World and Burns’ Black Hole.
So I found some Chris Ware (I bought Rusty Brown, and ordered Building Stories). I downloaded things and read a 21 pages chapter of Building Stories – (“(god…) Sometimes I Really Hate It Here“) and I’ve been flabbergasted.
Not astounded with virtuosity or avant-gardy marvels, but by the profound understanding of human life, the delicate way of showing body postures, the smart page layout (which loses you just a bit, enough to keep you focused). So, like with Chekhov’s short stories, I feel like… poisoned by the intelligence of it all and deeply touched by the facets of humanity in it.
Yeah that’s toxic, delightfully toxic. I read a little about Chris Ware (who is my age), and also found a multi-authors book named “The Comics of Chris Ware – Drawing Is a Way of Thinking“, which makes me smile, and then I smiled more, because of this “Introduction: Chris Ware and the “Cult of Difficulty”. Awww!
It’s slow reading…
Attacking Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp. The character is an architect. We see him teaching something about “Linéaire/Plastique”, and my jaw opened, because I read the same day an article about Linéaire/Pictural, a fondamental opposition in Arts (I screenshot both books down there).
It’s clearly a good seed. It’s an art historian named Wölfflin who wrote 5 “principles” in arts, the first being : From linear (draughtsmanship, plastic, relating to contour in projected ideation of objects) to painterly (tactile, observing patches or systems of relative light and of non-local colour within shade, etc) -> Wiki.
You can google “linear painterly” and play – you find these facets :
the artist showing reality/the artist showing his idea of reality
Classic (the object as it is)/baroque (the object as it appears)
On Belgian radio I heard about Daniil Trifonov, a young and intense Russian piano player (I heard about him many times before), and I thought about “crazy artists of today”, like these graphic novels writers. Introverts, lost in their own minds, something like “too intense”, overthinking and working, therefore secreting marvels and “different” things instead of becoming alone and silly.
Here he is with Gergiev in an always-modulating shostakovich concerto :
Yesterday at work I talked with a thirty-something woman about her career : studying arts, working in interior design, feeling bored about all of it, and working, then, in food business…
Eventually, recently she helped friends to move and to… decorate their home. BUT this time she was not in front of ideas and pencils and computers, but with her hands, doing/making things. An epiphany! And we laughed, because she was coming back to the beginning, but in another way, understanding by doing – like some scholar finding concepts fixing motorcycles!
All this is chekhovian and about the previous article of this blog (returning to things): Life’s not easy but we can/should stand up – it’s the subject of “(god…) Sometimes I Really Hate It Here” and of Asterios Polyp.
The artists and the pianists work like crazy and produce big things, all with their… hands.
From Latin existere/exsistere: “to step out, stand forth, emerge, appear”.
And in a way we all know that to live is to de-coincide with me, it is to emerge into the world. To operate, maybe?
There’s something like: to live is adhesion, fitting to what “is”, but to live by existing is to detach, unstick, take off.
The singularity of the experience.
All this mess is linked to other words, like “possibility”. I immediately thought about Deleuze’s becoming.
To find differences, and to begin multiple processes of transformation.
To think differently, but how?
What do we do with the unpredictable?
What is the effort to create a future that differs from the present?
Can we dream our own dreams, but how to get out of the trap they are, if they remain dreams?
Human life is ordered, classified, distributed, and managed: how can we shape possibilities?
Deleuze “becoming” is not to imitate something, it’s to get out of our “territories”, invent new plugs, quit the always-predictable to evolve in “becoming mode”. And for a day or an hour, you become a cat, a doctor, a wolf, a mother, a cook, a stone, etc.
The magic is the word “and” instead of the word “be”, ungrip and unhook from “I am this I do this”, to let propositions happen, to watch what is singular, or intense.
Will we make a web, will we bark, will we gather food like squirrels, will we be a child, for an afternoon? Will I become minoritarian for a day?
The concept of Mêtis comes from the ancient Greeks. It is a strategy involving “the cunning of intelligence”.
Mêtis is practical, it’s about “what happens”, the moment and the now, changing things, unpredictable things needing immediate action.
It is like a “fight with reality” (or a dance) to maybe save the day, including technical matters: the archetype then becomes the artist, the craftsman, the handyman – with a use of a global knowledge, playing games, inventing solutions.
Cunning against what (or who) is stronger, using hiding and secrets. Intelligence’s strength stays sometimes in the Art of not being seen, therefore the other is stupid! This includes the use of lures and ploys.
Good examples are the Trojan Horse or archetypal characters like Robin Hood or Zorro.
This idea of “honest cunning” has been written “renarderie” in French, it could be Foxery.
The idea of “now adaptation” and cunnings sounds very Chinese to me.
See: Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society Jean-Pierre Vernant and Marcel Detienne, and of course the 36 Stratagems.
I’m sorry for my improbable Frenchy English. This was just a casual article, just a seed for thoughts.
When you ask for advice from people about to die, they say… Well, you have to ask!
Nurses know this pretty well, there are books about that too, and I asked someone who answered :
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.
I regret the things I haven’t done – never the things I have.
I wish I’d had the courage to follow my desires instead of doing what I was “expected” to do.
I wish I hadn’t work that much.
I should have expressed my feelings.
There’s this “advice from old people” text you’ll find everywhere on the web. What do you think?
1. People always say, “Make sure you get a job doing what you love!” But that isn’t the best advice. The right job is the job you love some days, can tolerate most days, and still pays the bills. Almost nobody has a job they love every day.
2. Years go by in the blink of an eye. Don’t marry young. Live your life. Go places. Do things. If you have the means or not. Pack a bag and go wherever you can afford to go. While you have no dependents, don’t buy stuff. Any stuff. See the world. Look through travel magazines and pick a spot. GO!
3. Don’t take life so seriously. Even if things seem dark and hopeless, try to laugh at how ridiculous life is.
4. A true friend will come running if you call them at 2am; everyone else is just an acquaintance.
5. The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you. Treat them as such.
6. Children grow up way too fast. Make the most of the time you have with them.
7. Nobody ever dies wishing they had worked more… Work hard, but don’t prioritize work over family, friends, or even yourself.
8. You might live a long life, or you might live a short one – who knows. But either way, trust me when I say that you’re going to wish you took better care of yourself in your youth.
9. If you’re getting overwhelmed by life, just return to the immediate present moment and savor all that is beautiful and comforting.Take a deep breath, relax.
10. Eat and exercise like you’re a diabetic heart patient with a stroke – so you never actually become one.
11. We have one time on this earth. Don’t wake up and realize that you are 60 years old and haven’t done the things you dreamed about.
12. Maybe this one isn’t as profound as the others, but I think it’s important… Floss regularly, dental problems are awful.
13. Don’t take anyone else’s advice as gospel. You can ask for advice from someone you respect, then take your situation into consideration and make your own decision. Essentially, take your own advice is my advice…
14. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t hold onto material objects, hold onto time and experiences instead.
15. The joints you damage today will get their revenge later. Even if you think they’ve recovered completely. TRUST ME!
16. I would say to appreciate the small things and to be present in the moment. What do I mean? Well, it seems today like younger people are all about immediate gratification. Instead, why not appreciate every small moment? We don’t get to stay on this crazy/wonderful planet forever and the greatest pleasure can be found in the most mundane of activities. Instead of sending a text, pick up the phone and call someone. Call your mother, have a conversation about nothing in particular. Those are the moments to hold onto.
17. Pay your bills and stay the hell out of debt. If I could have paid myself all the money I’ve paid out in interest over the years, I’d be retired already.
18. Jealousy destroys relationships. Trust your significant other, because who else are you supposed to trust?
19. If you have a dream of being or doing something that seems impossible, try for it anyway. It will only become more impossible as you age and become responsible for other people.
20. When you meet someone for the first time, stop and realize that you really know nothing about them. You see race, gender, age, clothes. Forget it all. You know nothing. Those biased assumptions that pop into your head because of the way your brain likes categories, are limiting your life, and other people’s lives.
The English verb “to act” is a MESS for a French. It means :
To act : to behave (se comporter)
To act : to take action (agir)
To act : pretend to be (faire semblant de)
To act : to operate (faire fonctionner)
To act : to perform (jouer)
The French question “Sommes-nous fait pour agir ?” means “Are we made to act?”. But it’s not exactly to “take action”, which sounds, I think, “decision, beginning”. Agir, in French is just to act “all along”, to do something.
Then the question could be : “Are we made to do something?”.
Our era is a good environment for this question :
On one side : action, gestures, do, make, use the body, use the world, interact, sex, dance, run, make, eat, walk, build. Gestures!
On the other side : language, thinking, dialogs, dreams, to read, and all the “do without doing” : to drive, to play a game on a screen, to watch a movie, to geek.
Some like 1.
Some prefers 2.
We dance from one to another. And there’s an invariable, an invariant, a fixed point : the body. It calls, it screams, it collars and nabs. Constantly it pushes us (our mind) and pulls us into the world. A recall, sometimes a caveat : we are incarnated!
So yes, on est fait pour agir, we’re made to “do”, though we can be tempted not to and stay in bed with our mind, thoughts and musics.
I needed to be 54 years old to get hit by this simple assessment : whatever we think or however we evolve, we constantly have to deal with our own body: its desires, its needs, its limitations, its changes, its… priorities…
The metaphor I have is the “constant conversation” we have to do, between our own mind, and the tool we use : the body.
We’re hungry, or tired, or cold, or we get sick, we hav some “aches”. The body says nothing, but as it’s our vehicle, it is very powerful! The brain wants, but the body does. Or does NOT.
Or the contrary: Does the head want to sleep and get some rest, or the body?
In the time of Internet, we are used to read and talk and think, we do things without the body, apart from moving the mouse and typing on a keyboard.
And a little “bio-break” at times, to eat/pee/sleep.
When I watch my own hand on the table, it can be a little shock. It’s like “something” next to me, it’s mine, it’s… me. And it can be scary : it gets old and change, it can… stop.
Humans found strategies to feel their bodies : sports is one of them.
Etc : One could play with this conversation for a long time. But this lead, to me, to the concept of GESTURE.
Gestures of the hand, with a phone, a cigarette or spectacles. Feet, ways of walking, gestures of babies, of theater, of orchestra directors, dancing, writing, art making. Military gestures, lovers gestures, vintage gestures. To try, to hate, to mock, to be proud, or elegant.
Each subject is an article. This could be an entire blog… “Gestures”, les gestes, in French…
I don’t know if many of us will be quarantined, but I already think about it…
I read this morning, about China, that being locked in your apartment with your spouse will “maybe” provide a baby boom this next winter, but in the meanwhile gives two consequences :
Infodemia (too much informations about epidemic dramas) and depression.
Explosion of… divorces.
We don’t need a master in psychology to know that many couples go on just because they don’t have time to be with each other. Busy busy busy! That’s OK, we all do what we can, right?
Locked together, toxicity begins to dance around, boredom walks along walls like a tiger in a forgotten cage, back and forth…
I can’t imagine what happens to sports addicts, bikers and runners. They can do push-ups, but well, that’s not enough drug, I suppose.
But for introverts, it’s probably different. Being quarantined with shelves of books and Blu-rays (or with a computer and Internet, if you’re a dematerialized person) looks like holidays…
Bah, it’s just a feeling. Spring will come soon and will make all of us (including introverts and other cat persons) in a sudden urgent need of going outside to 1/ run with a dog or 2/ to lie down in the grass to smell the good quiet power of nature growing.
Let’s hope the heat wave will kill the viruses, all of them.
I work in a bookstore where someone recently asked me about the Parker wine guide.
I answered with a bit of surprise : nobody asked me that in years! I checked and realized that the last Parker guide, in France, was from 2009.
We asked ourselves about how nobody seems to care anymore about Parker.
I remembered the “problems” at the time : the guy was giving notes to wines (from 0 to 100), and he was so powerful (or such an influencer) that wine makers around the world had begun to twiddle their wines around to satisfy him. And the higher notes made some wine unaffordable. And in France we have a suspicion about notes, the idea of “evaluation gives a digit”. Especially in Arts and human activities. Etc.
If a wine is Parkered 67/100, is it better than a 63/100? Really?
This leads to many structures :
The fact that Parker used digits to “note” wines was a problem in itself. Therefore we could note movies, poems, maybe love, why note? “This poem is a 88/100 and my wife is a 76”. Can we do this and why?
Parker was powerful and listened, and when he titled a book “Bordeaux, The Definitive Guide for the Wines Produced Since 1961”, the impact was huge. What is a “definitive” ranking?
Why is someone a star of an influencer at one moment and pretty much nothing ten years after? What about the stars we have today?
What about “controversies”? Should we listen to the cons, always? How to study their arguments?
What does one do with “Mainstream Tastes”? Do we jump happily in the pool of obedient followers? What is mainstream in a small world of specialists? Why do people follow, and who are those who don’t and try to find less frequented paths?
What is social pressure when it’s activated by an influencer, a critic?
If there a “Number One Influencer”, who’s the second (let’s rank the rankers, bim!), and the third? What if we compare them, organize ideas fights?
What about the minority of the “last followers”, the believers? What if they were right?
Then, again : where to apply and think with these tools? Photography? Movies? Fashion? Anthropology?
This article made you think about other people? Who?
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!
“This is how it should be done: lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.”
It’s an old tool many artists know : many constraints are fruitful. Mainly because a constraint is a problem calling for a solution, therefore you have to move, to be creative.
All jobs and activities have constraints : budget, environment, other people, time, space, your skills, your tools.
If it’s too loose, though, you feel a freedom, which can be messy. You can not catch anything. Stuck. You maybe need to tight something up, to find “your” freedom within a new frame.
Brian Eno invented the Oblique Strategies (mainly for musicians) as a card game. You pick a card and you have to obey (sometimes it’s terrible!). Some directors are well known to tell the actors to follow precisely something (the dialogs, or the places they have to move on the set, etc) before shooting. Some digital artists sometimes go out in a park with a pencil and a notebook. A photographer can go outside with the limit of 20 pictures taken, not much. And G. Perec wrote an entire book without the letter “e”.
Constraints are fruitful. You probably have many disposable levers for these. A poet can obey : write something in alexandrine; without any letter “p”, in less than 5 minutes. You may have to present a project in ONE minute only, and… with no words. What are your levers?
You can pull a lever to Zero, it’s the Total Constraint. For example, you’re a photographer and you go out without any camera. Just your eye. You’ll feel the need, you’ll feel your brain simmering. As you can only watch and… think, you’ll maybe have bursts of ideas (instead of taking pictures). Take notes!
Of course it’s an example of “Amor Fati”, being content with what happens to you, even if it seems bad. Embracing fate : every constraint, if you can’t avoid it, should (and will have to) be danced with.
Today I’d like to extend this. If “constraints in Arts” is a well known concept, what about life, or culture?
Obviously, it’s linked to the idea of “Comfort Zone”. Let’s take movies, or music…
If one listens to the music they love, good to them. But how do we discover other musics, in fields we’re not used to dig? We have to think, make efforts, find a way and a place, informations. Then we begin, and our brain is surrounded with constraints : we don’t necessarily feel pleasure, there are things we don’t get, and our lazy head pushes us to stop.
It’s the same for painters we don’t like, movies we usually avoid, etc.
Out of our comfort zone, we have to make efforts, we must use an amount of curiosity, we must find or draw maps. In fact, we build, we extend, we grow.
The wall of “I don’t know this” can be an obstacle. Do we skip over, making efforts and feeling the fecund constraints of the undiscovered, or do we go back to the mellowness of what we already love?
Is the real new fruitful for us? How?
If exploring is sometimes unpleasant, is it worthy to fight the unpleasantness (OK : displeasure) and why? You have to invent new tools to think? You could find pearls and emeralds and gold?
As I was exploring F. Fellini’s movies, I met this one : The Clowns.
The 2 mains circus clown Archetypes are Whiteface and Auguste :
Whiteface is the leader, vain, dignified, often stiff and pompous, but also sweet, good-natured. He laughed, but maybe cries inside…
Auguste is the one “who get the pies in the face” and gets hit in the pants. He’s the fool, the humble, the loser…
Now here’s a little Shakespeare :
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts
So you see me coming, right? The world’s a circus and humans are clowns. The master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the reasonable and the fool, the obedient and the rebel.
What does Fellini say? :
Whiteface is mum, dad, the master, the artist, the beautiful : what one “has to do”.
Auguste could be fascinated by this perfection, but it’s spread with such rigor and severity that he revolts and hosts a perpetual contestation…
Now we could play with examples. We can see Freud as Whiteface and Jung as Auguste. Who else do you see?
Of course you can use this for a single person : ourselves, for example. Like in old cartoons, the white angel and the red little devil with his pointy fork are arguing over one character’s head, it is a great metaphor for the clownery of life : we have inside fraternal enemies, we have two or more facets who want to exist.
If life is a play and we wear masks, it’s a whiteface mask. The genuine person is the Auguste, who wants and needs to exist! But it’s masked also, in the end…
It leads to this : what if there was an Auguste under a Whiteface you know? And the contrary, isn’t he frightening?
We can watch circus and see how the clowns are interacting. Whiteface is reason, but he’s sweet. Auguste is mocking, but he falls in every trap. Everyone has pros and cons, and they exist on the scene because they’re a couple, they’re together…
In the nineties, when I wanted to buy a good walkman, I asked to the guys (I work in a big store) : What is reliable? What brand is after-sales service unprone (which, I suppose, is not English, let me play)?
They answered me : Aiwa! So Aiwa it’s been…
So it is : “Those who sell, what do they buy?”. When you learn that many Microsoft people use Macintosh, you smile, right? I keep this in mind when I have to buy things – knowing that I need a grain of salt. Some guys use a brand because they got it for free, or because they’re interested…
The store guys liked to mock me about Apple computers in the 90s (“it’s almost dead”), but had so many problems with PCs and Windows that they all own Macs today…
What about choices?
Steve Jobs invented the iPhone & iPad, but his kids were not allowed to use them. Isn’t it interesting? Why are we curious when we spot an article about an artist we love, who is asked “What are the best albums of your life?”? And writers? Who do they read?
When you meet a professional, do you ask about their tools? A graphic designer? What printer brand? A photographer? What bag? Why?
Where else can we watch this? Who should we ask? The elderly?
There’s been an interesting post on the marvelous Facebook of Humans of New York (which you should follow, it’s… humanist).
One guy was in NYC, in his mid-30, struggling to be an actor with no or little success, living paycheck to paycheck. The people’s answers under the post were interesting, picking paths for him (from “go on you’ll make it” to “wisdom says you should let go now”).
I chose an answer from a reasonable person, who chose a family life. Drawing a three branched tree :
People with a more safe and secure life, as a choice, staying anonymous.
People with dreams and passion, wishing for success (in entertainment).
People “mourning unfulfilled dreams” within an ordinary life : they were too afraid to try and dare.
With a conclusion : “Not all dreams work out” and people fall down. But also the maybeness of dreams become true – with the eternal behind-law which says approximatively “When the Gods want to punish you they fulfill your dreams”.
Of course, the actor was necklacing castings, with very little success. It looked like lottery and gamble…
It becomes a game : What’s worse, to have an ordinary life complaining you should have been an artist, or to struggle for decades until nothing happens? What if you succeed, and it’s boring? What if my book is at least edited and no one buys it? Are there stages in these paths? What if you succeed and then fall into oblivion? What if you decide to move and act at mid-life? Or the contrary, disappear after success?
Robert Mitchum (1917-1997) and Marcello Mastroianni (1924-1996) were two actors. Both are known for their state of mind, which are different and similar at the same time.
They don’t give a tinker’s damn
Where? Well, it spouts from all the texts, books, articles and interviews about them :
The characters they impersonate often seem… floating, or watching, rarely “intense”. See Mitchum in Ryan’s Daughter.
In their relationships with directors. Fellini, for example, adored Mastroianni because he was not the “I have another question” type. He just followed. He did what he was told to do. Like a clay ball.
In their work. They never seemed to work a lot. But they were ready though. Mitchum is known for partying and drinking all night, then appearing on the set in the morning almost… defeated, then giving a splendid acting work in front of the camera.
In their lives.
This “I’m not really here” state is hard to name. Aloof sounds a bit snob, right? And indeed I don’t think it’s really a decision.
Here we also touch the Paradox of the Actor : “Do great actors experience the emotions they are displaying?”.
What are the limits of Actor’s Studio‘s methods? Mitchum was much less pulling faces than De Niro in their respective role of the bad guy in the two different versions of Cape Fear (1962 and 1991) – and Mitchum is said to be much more terrifying.
Is it a state of floating? Of being a “watcher”? Of being cool? Clever? Indifferent? Polite? A genius? A zen master like “I observe but I don’t judge”?
Is it a wisdom, an elegance of life, a modern, Chekhovian way of knowing that all is NOT that important, and we’ll die pretty soon, and let’s stand up cool, nothing big deal?
When do we say this? When we see someone acting badly, right?
Let karma do its job!
Give me some time to prepare my revenge!
To whom do we say this?
To the person. Like a threat? “One day, you’ll pay the bill, Billy!”.
To a friend, or a random ear, designing the other.
Are these consolations for the weaks? Or a more standing up orientally wise : Being like water, in the flow of vain things?
“He did wrong, he’ll pay one day”. Probably. Or not.
Watching the world from a calm place.
After all, as we all know, shit happens, therefore shit happens to the mean people too.
When you see someone who’s been a mean moron having an accident, sorry you’re not sorry. Bim! Good to him!
But sometimes the retribution is really awful. Much too awful!
The French word for “retribution” is “châtiment”, which sounds very frightening. Like a mean, horrible and rare punishment. Brrr!…
Is it the same for “retribution”?
You stupid hateful manager gets liver cancer, or his son dies in an accident, oh waow and ouch! This is not cool. But there’s one or two percents of smile in one’s head, right? One should not, though. Oh OK everybody’s innocent : it was, in fact, a complete random event. There’s not justice. Nobody pays the bill.
Ouch though. Bill’s payed and very payed.
Or more probably : the mean donkey finishes by hurting himself, right?
Schopenhauer said “All stupidity is overwhelmed by self-disgust”. Maybe, and even probably, this structure can be applied to meanness. The “being an asshole” thing is a burden, a toxic heavy one. One day, it kills with bitterness.
Well, we will all have to pay the bill for something, after all…
For example, in Moby Dick, there’s a single use of the word “matrimonial”.
I don’t know, it’s funny that some scholar study this, finding laws, etc…
It can be a tool (the number of the hapaxes you find in a text shows something about the author).
It can be used to find vocabulary (for example, flother as a synonym of snowflake) – new never seen words are ALWAYS fascinating, like jewelry.
It’s a mess in ancient texts for translators : Gvina is a Bible hapax, for example. What is it, then?
They can be mistakes
An hapax is always related of a context : a single text, a book, a life work, a whole language.
Some hapaxes are inventions from authors, and they can “enter” the language afterwards (Rabelais wrote about “la dive bouteille” about good wine : the dive (pronounce “div”) bottle is the divine bottle, of courrrse he’s French.
You can play with Google for whole history of humanity hapaxes. For example I invented “flabbergastortion”, which doesn’t exist. Hop, an hapax!!
Of course, some thinkers used this concept in life or philosophy. A life hapax is a unique event or a chance, or a drama you did not see coming and won’t happen twice.
Jim Harrison says somewhere that with the years our “wallet of enthusiasms” becomes thinner.
Well, this speaks to everyone, right? From a truckload to a wheelbarrow (“une brouette”), then to a small briefcase, to a wallet, that’s it. At 50 you don’t jump around screaming in joy about whatever new comes to you, like at 20!
“The moment when things you do become absurd” is probably something I should wonder about more. A kind of “inverse epiphany”, the sudden WTF moment…
So I just learned about Anhedonia, reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure, and I think it’s about it.
There’s the good old temptation of getting “stoned”, or to being “entertained” until death, Netflix like, or trying weed or booze, or worse : become workaholically busy like a running headless chicken. Put a lit on enlarging boredom…
You can also FOCUS on your little wallet. Think about it : what makes you enthusiastic, the “like a kid” state? Art exploration? Creativity? Writing (about what?)?
Someone told me recently (he’s a bit older than me) that he for now focuses on geniuses only. What would be YOUR list of geniuses?
Proust, Welles, Picasso?
These days I’m with two geniuses. Fellini for cinema, and Schubert for music. Both need organization and efforts.
Fellini comes from realism to crazy surreal monster films. It’s complex, evolving, multi-layered, a whole exploration is needed to understand : films, bonuses, interviews, biography and many books. At THIS level on invention, it becomes almost toxic. It haunts you (like when you explore Proust, Mahler’s music or Manet’s paintings). And it’s so much fun too!
Schubert is complicated : he died young, but composed many many musics, chamber music, piano and 9 symphonies! As usual, for a composer you don’t know, you have to listen to many things almost randomly – to discover if you’ll like it, to sponge it into your head. I bought books, a huge biography, and found my entry : the Great Symphony, his last, which obsesses me so much that I listen to different versions all day long. They I read pages of classical music fan forum (in French : http://classik.forumactif.com), smiling at all the passion people put into this…
Anhedonia’s here, but I fight, and it works! If you see me mimicking an orchestra director in front of my Macintosh : I’m good.
What’s next? What about you ?
A field you don’t know, and you’ll explore it. What is it? A language? A painter? A country? An author? Who?
I needed to be in my fifties to hear about this concept of “anhedonia“, a diverse array of deficits in hedonic function, including reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure. (Wikipedia).
Inability to experience pleasure, but also reduced
Well : the wanting and the liking are reduced. A big lost of interest!
This preliminary itself is interesting : it’s NOT depression. It’s just what we call in French “à quoi bon ?” : what’s the point, what’s the use, what good would it…, etc…
Association with boredom, a will to stay in bed, a will to sleep all the time! You can feel this even without being sad!
If one makes, in a good movement, an effort – like me with this article – one will stop very soon, because… what’s the point, right?
It’s sometimes a bit surprising, because in the past you LOVED to do it, right?
Then there’s probobly a seek for… oblivion. Video games? Stupid sports? Alcohol?
It can be helpful, after all, and more if you feel guilty! (because in our societies, one has to be busy, right?).
Anything vain will maybe help, like driving your car in the night, anywhere, for hours, with music.
And there are the old tricks : call a friend, get drunk, pick up a randombook, listen to some music, trance (go dancing?), shopping. It can work!
But most of the time, you don’t care about all this anymore… either!
Of course here I don’t talk about “major depressive disorders”, where you stay in bed crying or in catatonia for months.
No, it’s just the “not in the mood now”, a social detachment, random indifference…
We’ve all been there, right? Our mind like a Steve Reich music…
I am also convinced it can be linked to a loss. When you’ve been at war, for example, you’re into a “mode”, and then when you’re home you’re just… not bored, but not valued, not understood, alone, and you don’t understand what people do anymore. And lifting weighs seems suddenly… what’s the point?
What happens after a break up?
Wiki says : “There is no validated treatment for social anhedonia.”. Voilà !
I just found another word to explore : “Avolition”.
How do you deal with that? What if it becomes a constant mode? How to get out?
A UK wide survey reveals the extent to which the younger generation feel disillusioned, with the MAJORITY (89 percent) of 16-29 year olds, claiming their life lacks purpose or meaning.
Then I learned about three French guys this summer :
A Franco-Canadian man, a 44-year-old musician, died after being attacked by a grizzly bear in a remote area of Canada last week. He was surprised by the animal in his sleep. He was travelling along the Mackenzie River to record sounds of nature for a musical project.
The adventure of an “eco-adventurer” originating from northern France and living in Toronto, which was supposed to last more than two months, ended tragically during the second stage of his crossing of Canada by bike and kayak.
The body of a French hiker, 27, who disappeared in Italy after making an emergency call 10 days ago has been found in a ravine near Naples. He made a plea for help on 9 August, saying he had fallen down a cliff and broken both legs while walking in south-west Italy.
Then this :
Antidepressant usage has increase almost 400% over the past few years. 23% of women in their 40s and 50s take antidepressants. Women are 2 1/2 times more likely to take an antidepressant than men. Antidepressant usage does not vary by income level.
In other words, it’s safe to say there’s a health, happiness, and antidepressant prescription epidemic going on in USA. Why are people so miserable? Or why are antidepressant medications on the rise?
Then, I found this chart :
Jessi Combs, famed racer, skilled fabricator, lover of all things automotive, and the “fastest woman on four wheels,” as reportedly died while attempting to set a new land speed record in Oregon. She was just 36 years old.
So this is slowly becoming : what’s happening?
I asked friends, who all agree. In the old ages, we human beings struggled to survive, then (and also), we were constantly working. But today is the days of… more free time. Then how do you live? I wondered once :
You can google “how to live” or “live to the fullest”, you’ll find things possible (“know yourself”, “be moderate”) and hard to find cursors (“be curious”, “set goals”, “laugh”) when you feel this lack of “purpose & meaning”.
Voilà. I worry too much for my human sisters & brothers. Too much empathy, I bet.
What did you choose, between the big families?
Evasion, with pills, alcohol or drugs?
Engagement, with politics or religion, rules?
Moderation, with culture, knowledge, watching the world?