Thursday, August 6, 2009

Be. Serious.

Being serious tires me. I am good for ten minutes, tops, before I begin to feel the force of life draining away and I begin, however clumsily, to seek a means or passage by which I might clamber back to common ground. Good humor is a conduit; seriousness is a cell. Perhaps that is why people who seem perpetually serious often appear over-taken with their own opinions. You cannot be a greater or should I say better fool than to take yourself too seriously.

But what does this mean, to take yourself seriously? I believe that within any given day one encounters instances that require a literal or meditative interpretation. Such instances - let's pick neutralish ground - such as balancing your checking account - call for an energy that cannot be replenished in the act. There is no conversation, no art. Enlisting oneself in the function of checking account balancing, voting, conflict resolution, business discussions, etc., is to enter in a contract which must have a set duration. Otherwise is madness.

There is a social balance, by which we feel free to act according to our personal interests on the one hand, while conducting regular correspondence with our community on the other. Seriousness threatens contact. One cannot be serious without falling out of love with much that is irregular, frail, and characteristic of the society we live in. Seriousness seeks to trim the edges of ragged joy and despair. It gives shape to the perfectly offhand, ill-fitting behaviors and occasions that represent most of life as we know it. What can be serious in nature, that never could draw a straight line? Be serious and you at once begin to lose contact with your source materials.

Humor therefore is not a rhetorical leavening of one's message. It is the best evidence of the door to source being left wide open. I am required to speak for myself and to do so seriously. Granted. The fact that I do so economically is a function of my desire to get back to the real work, which is gathering materials for a better life. I say what comes to mind that appears worth saying, but always I hope with an eye on an early if not elegant exit. Perhaps the gift of writing is the speed with which one can pass from community and nature to one's interior self and back again. To be serious, but only for so long. Not to lose sight of what harbors all opinions in common.


monkeylumber said...

Seriousness...hum. Seriously?

Nice complex posting!

Having survived which by most accounts was considered a very dismal childhood - chock full of those uncomfortable flinching movie moments of neglect and abuse we sheepishly watch through trembling fingers, I was indeed a serious little fucker with a big chip on both my shoulders. I heard “stop frowning!” daily, for years- which only served to deepen my sulky furrows.
Only-children will often parent themselves to survive. I had to take myself seriously because they didn’t. I believed in me when they turned their backs as their own hell consumed them. I got on with my life as I imagined it to be. That was the key: as "I" imagined it to be.
They had no plans or expectations for me at all; just to be invisible and no trouble. I was free to dream big.
I saw my future self as the romantic loner pursuing a renaissance existence in the arts and traveling the world. I'd be a big success and show them all. I did try. lol! It almost killed me.
Of course that sense of failure and falling short, my flagging self-esteem and vodka-soaked genes naturally led me to the bottle and drugs- but my hard-wired self-respect and auto parenting skills helped weaned me free before it was too late; not wanting to be the victim ever again.
I believe that act alone gave me the confidence to laugh at my foolish self-importance and let it all go for good.
My life now is a fun romp without the restrictive gravity that once kept me earthbound and miserable; the only guy at the party constantly looking at his watch. Serious schmerious! There seems to be more truth in humor these days. Jon Stewart...there's a serious man!

Nada said...

Hear, hear.