gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: Existentialism

Gucci Director, Alessandro Michele, on creating ourselves

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“It’s like a laboratory, you know?” he says. “Your life can be like a laboratory. In the past, the idea of being human was what the earth and nature gave to you.” That’s not so anymore. He calls this era “post-human”, explaining that “you can really manipulate everything. It’s pretty scary, but it’s also pretty interesting. You can lead different lives. You can decide to be different things.” 

I’ve always been drawn to the existential idea that our lives are what we make of them and that it’s up to us to define ourselves. I think this point brought up by Gucci Director Alessandro Michele in The New York Times Style Magazine is a poignant testament of how true this is particularly in our day and age. It has never been easier to create and recreate ourselves with ever-changing fashion trends, the re-emergence of old fashion trends, the urge to be individuals, the ability to present a curated version of ourselves on social media and present a different side of ourselves over and over again through these social media outlets. I think there is something interesting and exciting about this prospect, but it’s definitely also unnerving because not only does it make it hard for others to know who we really are, we can become completely unaware of who we are as well. It can even allow one to not truly be anything because it’s so easy to be a multitude of things.

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“Life pushes us forward”

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Nothing is an end in itself and therefore nothing is a source of complete rest. Everything is a stimulus to new wishes, a source of new uneasiness which longs for new satisfaction in the next and again the next thing. Life pushes us forward. 

Hugo Munsterberg

Hugo Munsterberg was a German-American psychologist active in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s who also contributed to film theory, which is how I know him. I studied film in graduate school and we read his book, The Photoplay: A Psychological Study, in a history of cinema class. In looking at this quote, it can obviously apply to life more broadly and not specifically only to film. In fact, not knowing that it’s part of film theory, one probably wouldn’t even relate it to film at all. Either way, I loooooveeee this quote and identify with it so deeply because of my attachment to existentialism. If this isn’t the most fundamental truth of our existence, I don’t know what is. It’s so true though, right? We never seem to be happy or satisfied with our current situation. And even when we are, we worry about what we’re missing – like if we’re too happy or when it might end because it can’t possibly last forever…we can’t possibly be that happy. On the other hand, when we are dissatisfied, we have no choice but to move forward, even if we’re not necessarily moving in a direction that brings us more satisfaction. We’re always looking forward with both skepticism and hope.

 

 

“Once I wanted to be, someone I chose to be…”

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You know those moments when you are so inspired to be alive and be yourself? The self that you rarely are because you rarely have the courage or creativity to be…I had one of those moments recently when I went to Chicago. The city itself is so beautiful and culturally-rich that it inspires imagination from the moment you see the skyline as you approach the city. Once in the city, we went to a vintage fair filled with old treasures that brings one back to the past and back to oneself. After that we went to Wicker Park and perused all the cute boutiques and watched the people go by, including two French Bulldogs side by side and a dog tied up to a post that had a little mohawk, and ate some  fancy ice cream from the future. I don’t know what it is about being in the city and constantly surrounded by interesting people and sights that inspires imagination and creativity…but it works every time for me.

We finished the day by going to see Blind Pilot in concert. Going to concerts is one of my favorite things, because seeing live music, for me, brings out in me everything that I am and want to be. Cheezy, albeit, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it. I can’t forget the mild alcohol consumption that always makes for a good time. Am I right? I mean, let’s be honest. Anyway, seeing music being played makes me want to play an instrument and be in a band. My friends and I keep saying we’re going to start a band, with banjos and all haha, but it’ll probably never happen. I would play the keyboard, I think…the point is, that having the ability to elicit that emotion out of people that music does would be such a fun life pursuit.

Back to being oneself, we get so caught up with living our lives primarily surrounding our responsibilities, we seldom have the time or the energy to break out of that and simply live. Those few glimpses of ourselves that we get on occasions like this, being in the city and experiencing music (for me), or whatever it might be for you, may be all we get. And we cannot overlook them, as they occur so rarely.