A Philosophy of Life (unrefined essay)

Writing Practice 7/25/2019

My philosophy of life is…

My philosophy of life is still evolving. It’s never going to be completely static and arrived. That would be a naive way to view the world, as if you had arrived and had all the answers. We’re not Budhha over here. Which means we will constantly need to adapt our philosophy of life to new situations, new experiences, new people, who come into our lives. We need to recognize this dynamic nature, so that we don’t consider ourselves stuck, or stable, or solid, and get so entrenched in those ways, and so enamored with our own selves, that we cannot do any kind of modification at all when the time necessary for adaptation emerges.

Not to say we adjust according to every whim, every new fad in society. But we do recognize that there may be times when what we previously thought becomes insufficient to comport with the whole of the world presented to us, around us, beside and above us. We must, therefore, continually test and evolve to and refine our philosophies of life, even if those refinements are no more than to say, “yes, this philosophy also works well in that new situation.”

For us to wholesale, grand scale, top-to-bottom and soup to nuts try to remake our philosophies, though, is too large an undertaking. We shall be in a state of constant adjustment, whipsawing back and forth between extremes, with no real progress ever made towards the goal. And, since each philosophy of life shall have a different goal, one will hardly ever have the chance of Obtaining it, and either finding it a worthy goal or finding it wanting, should we continuously choose to bounce, to alternate back and forth between such options.

It is for this reason, much like the coxswain in he scull, that I advocate smaller and smaller steps of change each time, moving approximately half of your deficit each time. So, for example, suppose you’re starting out at the origin of a plane. You have two axes, the X and the Y. You decide that your best philosophy of life is designed to send you as far along the Y axis as possible. As much “UP” as you could go, as it were. Suppose, then, that you stat out living life, and find yourself traveling, or even just pointing, “EAST”, along that X- axis. Do you, immediately, slam on the brakes, and try to come to a full and complete stop?

Well, you could. Or, you could take the same energy you would use to stop, and you could simply apply pressure in the “UP” direction. Yes, you’d still going east, somewhat, but you would also be now heading more towards the UP than you were before.

Suppose it works. As it should. Eventually you may find that you have overshot your Y-axis, and are now headed a bit WEST-UP, UP-WEST, UP-LEFT, whatever. At this point, do you once again apply so much UP-RIGHT pressure as to continue to go back and forth across the axis?

No, if you are smart you will, after the first overcorrection, go less-right and more-up; if as, to be expected, you overshoot once more, your error will likely be less than it was originally. Continue to aim for your target, but with smaller and smaller corrective actions, and you will eventually eliminate your overshoots, and you will start to simply approach your goal, to be lived however and whatever and wherever it becomes you.

 

 

Writing Practice – 9/5/2018

Heart & Soul, p 201

“While most young men dream of becoming a professional athlete, Herschel Turner dreamed of becoming an artist.”

He would read books on Matisse and Magritte. He practiced cubism, sculpture, and 3-dimensional art. He painted wide swaths of canvas with daring colors, red and blue and green and orange, sometimes merging them into a dun-colored masterpiece that seemed almost indistinguishable from those hanging in the Guggenheim.

Herschel painted, sculpted, or cast into bronze by instinct. He’d seen all the others and determined to do it better, more simply, more provocatively, than they had. Just why anyone ever actually bough his shit was still remained a mystery to him. He even tried to throw them off with obsequious artist’s statements like

“This piece transcends the boundaries of language and meaning, reaching beyond context into meta-context and sub-comprehension. It is as if my feline inner nature were awakened by the transcendence of participation in the birth of this piece, and the reality has been shattered by its convergence into the conscious plane. Really, it is a sight to behold, one of the Nine Wonders of the Modern World, alongside Barack Obama, the gyroscope, and the theory of the electroweak force. Humanity is worse off for its participation in such drivel.”

And yet he was called a revolutionary. A genius. A man out of his own time. For us, as art critics, we could not see the value in what he’d been doing. But maybe that was because we were too close to the subject, to steeped in mythology and folklore of what had gone before to truly be able to step back and accept it for what it was, art, ART, art that moved people. That challenged them, that made their hearts melt or yearn or burn, and so they had to have his pieces, critical analysis be damned. I wish we could have seen IT. I wish we could have opened our minds, our eyes, just once, to see with that naive, childlike vision, to take in something just as it was, just as it made us feel, not what we thought it meant or with an eye to judge how well the execution outpaced the idea of the thing. OH, to be simple once more. To have that bland, blank stare of childhood, when you can simply like something, and you don’t have to have a reason. I miss those days.