It is interesting how things, occurrences, experiences have an effect on us that is beyond our control. Something bad happens to us and it consequently has a negative effect on us that we can’t seem to change for the better no matter how hard we try. But when pleasant things happen to us or when we witness pleasant things, they can have a very positive effect on us that leaves a lasting impression. I find this interesting because it is nothing that we bring about ourselves; it is something external that is beyond our control and all we can do is accept it for what it is, and either enjoy it if it is a good effect or suffer from it if it is a bad effect.
Monthly Archives: February 2013
How much of what we do in life is ceremonious and how much of it is real? There are certain things we do that seem to be very ceremonious, such as holidays, special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, etc. So how many of these celebrations are ceremonious just for the sake of celebrating an occasion that comes around every year so one is forced to celebrate it, and how much do we genuinely enjoy the celebrations and celebrate them authentically? It seems there are several occasions in life where we go through the motions ceremoniously, but don’t actually live in the moment for the sake of the experience, but rather for the ceremony and appearance of it.
Doing things in public and sharing in things with others, such as going to movies, plays, concerts, lectures, etc., is so much better than doing them by yourself because instead of enjoying these things solitarily you can enjoy them together. You can observe others’ reactions to things, which might influence your own reaction, which I suppose can be either good or bad. But there does seem to be something of value in sharing moments and experiences with others rather than just by oneself.
The other thing of value about going out into the public is observing others and realizing the connection between yourself and people and things around you. Something as simple as going to a coffee shop and seeing familiar faces that you often see there and observing them each time you see them can help construct a little world in which you live and experience the familiar – perhaps these people were once strangers, but by becoming familiar they become part of your life.
How do we know what we really want? How do we know that our lives and what we have in our lives is what we want? What if it is just a world that we have created for ourselves, and perhaps it was what we wanted at one point, or for a while, but ceases to be what we want? And how do we come to the realization that our current state is almost like a fictitious state and not our real life? But then how do we know what our real life is or how our real life might come about? Is it something that we have to create or does it come together on its own?
I think sometimes we come to a point when we step outside of ourselves and evaluate our lives – either voluntarily or because of some external cause that forces us to do so. These evaluations can be scary and even painful because they require us to be very honest with ourselves about what we want for our life. This is a difficult thing to do and I think sometimes we avoid it and simply continue on as before just because we don’t want to face it. But this does not lead to any kind of profound happiness, but rather merely a comfortable state in which we do not delve deeper into ourselves.
What is it about the city that I love so much? The lights, people everywhere, the noise, and just the overall feeling that comes over me when I’m in the city. What’s interesting about a city are the things that come together to make the city what it is; things that on their own, wouldn’t classify as a city, but when brought together measure up to a city. It is the things that I mentioned earlier, like the buildings, the cars and public transit, the people, etc. that make a city a city.
Beyond that, there are some cities that are intentionally created as cities, and others that accidentally become cities when all the components come together on their own or by accident – as Dostoevsky writes in Notes From Underground, “Cities can be intentional or unintentional.” Here he refers to St. Petersburg as being an intentional city that was planned and erected all at once, both spatially and intellectually, instead of coming together over time. Are cities that form unintentionally perhaps more authentic and enjoyable to live in? Who knows, but the Underground Man might think so, as he is not fond of St. Petersburg in part because it is so precisely and methodically planned out. The city’s plan, more so than just being physically planned out, also seems to have a plan for its residents; people are expected to be and act a certain way and the Underground Man doesn’t like it.
Cities that I am particularly fond of – Chicago, Rome, Paris – have been partially planned out to a certain extent during certain time periods, but not entirely planned out all at once like St. Petersburg. They have gradually come together over the centuries and are still continuing to form and develop. So what is it that I like about the city so much? There is something about a city that encapsulates infinite possibilities in a way that the country does not offer, to me anyway. The country, which seems to go on forever in every direction certainly can seem to possess infinite possibilities, and it may well do so, but in a different way than a city does. When you look out onto a city, a big one anyway, it also may seem to go on forever in every direction, but that is not the kind of infinity that I mean. I mean, that cities seem to offer infinite intellectual and cultural possibilities for what one can become as person in that city. And this is what I like about the city…all the things that one can do in the city, and all the things that one can become in the city.