Thursday, January 10, 2008
I came across it as I was searching for some photos of the new buffed Trent Reznor.
It turned out to be a photoshopped joke. But I was astounded by how devastated I would have been if it were real. I would have felt that my world had changed in some significant way, as though one of the last few people I still trusted had let me down.
Silly, I know. We shouldn't give strangers so much control over our lives. But I wonder if I do this because there are so few people in my actual life whom I think measure up to a certain standard of integrity and intelligence, so I project these on artists.
Because I'm unlikely to ever actually know them, they'll never actually disappoint me. I can continue to imagine they're something they're probably not.
I'm reading Not Buying It by Judith Levine.
She examines how consumerism affects attitudes and behavior from a personal and universal perspective.
She and I come from very different socio-economic backgrounds, so I don't identify with everything she talks about, but we connect in the important areas. Here's her reflecting on a skiing exhibition with friends that she finds hard to enjoy because she keeps comparing herself to them.
I'm trying to be happy, too. But if only I had ... [her elipses] I'd be keeping up with Grace and Lucy. If only I could buy ... I'd be a better skier. Better skis, a better skier. If only I were more like Grace and Lucy, I'd be a happier person. If I had better skis and were a better skier, I'd be a happier person. I'd be like Grace and Lucy. A better person.
That passage sums up a problem I've been having - a lot us have: sort of always floating in dissatisfaction with my current situation. And it's not only related to material things, as Levine points out in the book. It can be related to anything other people have that you feel you should have - many friends, many lovers, popularity, knowledge, a good physique. I'm always striving, wanting, yearning, and it's causing me to waste the Now.
Even as I read Levine's book, I'm envious of her way with words, her familiarity with books, authors and ideas. I should read Plato's Dialogues and subscribe to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (and learn how to ski!).
I've never felt constrained by my circumstances. I've always felt I could do better, improve. This attitude has its advantages and its shortfalls. If I think I can accomplish almost everything, I feel uncertain about which goals I should go for. Which are realistic and which are not? I feel overwhelmed by my own ambitions.
There's nothing wrong with wanting improvement - no, I won't use the word improvement because that implies deficiency when I'd like to think human beings just are. There's nothing wrong with wanting a more toned body for instance. But the irony of life is that to get a toned body you have to be more or less happy with the one you have now. Because of you're not happy, you're going to feel depressed and anxious and you'll find it difficult to do the things necessary to get the toned body. It's a catch 22.
| Currently reading : |
Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping
By Judith Levine
I feel as if my head has been blown wide open. It's the type of movie that will haunt be for a long time I think.
There's what I consider an updated version of it called Bejing Bicycle. That blew me away too.
I encourage anyone with access to make use of their library's film collection.
The heels are tapping
Where to, where to, what in?
From the old Vilna streets
They ship us to Berlin
I need not ask whose
But my heart is rent
Oh tell me shoes the truth
Where were the feet sent?
The feet of these boots
With buttons like dew
The child of those slippers?
The woman of that shoe?
And children's shoes everywhere
Why don't I see a child?
Why are the bridal shoes there
Not worn by the bride?
Among the children's worn out boots
My mother's shoes so fair!
Sabbath was the only day
She donned this footwear
- written by Abraham Sutzkever in the Vilna ghetto, upon seeing a trainload of shoes once the property of murdered Jews. The shoes were being sent to needy Germans in Berlin.