(About a 4 minute read)
I have recently noticed posts on several blogs talking about the value of playfulness. For instance, a brief post on “Writing to Freedom”, which can be found here.
These are heavily troubled times, and I think many of us may think play is less than necessary now — think it’s actually childish or offensive to take the daily blows in an attitude of playfulness.
But that attitude might arguably be the best we can do — with any events in life. In playfulness, there is great wisdom. One only needs to see how quickly children rebound from even the most severe things, to realize play can make us stronger, more resilient.
It can also help us put things in perspective, I think. What is really important in life? A light or heavy heart? In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, it is said the gods will weigh your heart against a mere feather after you die. Unless your heart proves to be lighter, you will not enter heaven.
Did the ancients know something we ourselves have forgotten to our loss? Long ago in Japan, the court nobles fully recognized the value of play, and nearly made a religion out of it. If your uncle died, you did not say, “My uncle has died”.
You said, “My uncle has decided to play at being dead.”
Of course, you uncle was really dead. Gone forever, and you would miss him. But the attitude he was merely off playing was what Nietzsche called a “useful lie” because it was a “lie that affirms life”, a lie that helps us to live, and to live fully.
So many soldiers turn grim — exceptionally grim — in combat. Maybe that cannot be helped. But is it useful to be grim?
I think it’s more of a consequence than something useful. Grim makes you relentless, and being relentless has its uses, it’s true. But relentless can turn on you in a snap, make you pursue the same course of action, despite the fact circumstances have change, and your action will now bear the wrong fruit.
Playfulness, if you can manage it, is more flexible and resilient.
How did I manage to play in responding to my mother’s death a year ago this month?
For one thing, I have written and published essays and poems about her. To me, creating such things is always an act of play. Always.
I do not want to suggest that play has made me feel any less grief at my mother’s death, but only that the unbearable is now bearable for me.
If you wish to seek play, seek fun instead. Seek to play and it becomes more difficult to play. See fun, and the road leads to play.
Some poor deluded person suffering from the PTSD so typical of long time readers of this blog recently told me that my insufferable posts were usually deep and profound.
I wept for them, I really did. So tragic in one so young to think I’m profound.
But then I got to thinking: What do I do to create the illusion of possessing profound ideas? Can anyone do it?
Well, I think just about anyone but Teresums has what it takes to get better at it. So here’s what I myself find works for me. Maybe it will work for you.
At least four things here, although I suspect more is involved than what I can think of without taking all night to think of it.
I obnoxiously assume that my thoughts and views are of interest to my readers, if only in the sense that a train wreck is interesting. That is, I write feeling as if I’m fully encouraged and supported to write — write whatever comes to mind.
And honestly, it does help that so many people genuinely do support me in that — especially Teresums, whom I am quite fond of in the sense of feeling an inordinate fondness for an exceptionally cute, but regrettably pathetic mutt.
So who is the most positive fan in your life? Think of them cheering you on when you write.
Second, I only lightly edit when I write. Years ago, I spent way too much time trying to perfect each sentence and paragraph was I went along — and all it got me was writer’s block. So today, I believe creating and editing are two separate functions best kept that way.
Next, I’m in it for the fun. That’s by far my primary goal when blogging. Everything else comes second, if it comes at all. Fun, to me, is the easiest goal to accomplish. And that makes the writing easy too.
Last, I do not begin by approaching profound subjects directly, in a straight-forward manner. I do not tackle them head on.
Instead, I approach them obliquely, from the sides. Ask to talk about love, and the first thing I think of is not ‘what is love”, but often as not, it’s something along the lines of, “How do people talk about love?”, “What are the differences between liking someone and loving them?”, or “Why can’t I get laid tonight?”
Speaking of getting laid, have you noticed how unnecessarily hard most men make it? Even some women do.
In real life, getting laid is so easy, anyone not actually making it difficult can get laid as easy as he could fall into an open manhole while sleep walking. And I suspect women, while they tend to be pickier than men, could easily get laid while still maintaining their standards.