3/19/2016

FOLKS


My awesome classmates, Ellen, Robin, Emil and Niklas photographed by me.


I once spent a wonderful evening fooling around in the studio with some pretty awesome folks. This was about a year or so ago. My intention was mainly to "test ride" the studio for future photo shoots, since I had never been shooting at this particular one before. I, however, ended up dragging half of my class with me and we had some fun taking portraits of everyone. Better than the traditional class photo I would argue. It's funny how I had known these people for only one term and the group already felt like a big family. No faking or keeping up facades, just genuinely enjoying each others' company. It's very different from my experience throughout elementary school and partly high school. There was of course the traditional division into different groups (you know the deal), which of course has to do with building your own identity, through trying out different roles and all that jazz. I hated that shit. I went through that phase as well like the majority does but for a large part of my school years I didn't identify as part of any group really. And that's probably because I already had a very clear vision of what I wanted from life at a fairly young age (which I want to thank my parents for, since they are partly responsible). Of course I've had many great friends throughout those years (the last thing I want to do is discredit my friendships) but never have I thought of myself as truly part of some bigger group of people. And I've always had a very individualistic conception of life. But after all these years of having had this clear sense of my myself I've started to think slightly differently about the whole matter of identity. Coming to the conclusion that it's nothing more than something abstract that we build up for ourselves - a collection of distinct roles embraced in different environments and situations. It merely exists in our minds. There is no real actual concrete you.

       We are in the end all the same thing, realizing itself in different ways and forms. What one becomes is dependent on the environment including every single life event and everyone we meet, which further indicates that we are all connected in one way or another. And certainly the infinity of random events including one's biology also plays a role. What you perceive as yourself is just something existing in your own mind (and likewise other people have their own distinct construction of your identity in their minds). In fact, you're just a piece of flesh with a consciousness (whatever that is) reacting to things around you. And that very utterance is extremely hard for a human being to accept because our subjective minds lead us to believe that our lives are, indeed, grand and crowded with meaning. The human experience is overwhelming, there's no getting around that fact.

       Nevertheless, I now see all human beings as principally the same thing (or life force or whatever you want to call it), having the ability to independently define and construct ourselves, and, therefore, having the potential of becoming virtually anything. And yet we have the tendency to live in these tiny bubbles limiting our experience, and participating in these absurd human games, adopting roles, following patterns that we've created over years and years, when we could, in fact, be whatever the hell we want to be. Considering that we live in an infinite world with infinite possibilities, doesn't that sound just a little bit crazy? Getting stuck like this in certain patterns is not exactly a way of living and thinking that would encourage change, which, again, is a concept that very well characterizes this world. Constant change and transformation is the nature of life. I think that ought to apply to our way of thinking as well because only that may lead to any sort of advancement.

       I seriously don't know how I always get sidetracked, but then again all of these things do relate to each other, and I guess I just suck really hard at expressing them in a coherent way. Point being, thinking of it all from this perspective instead of a very limited one is rather helpful. Instead of focusing on forcefully satisfying this need to find your place in this world, forcing yourself to be something, we should just go with what feels natural (and I promise, one does not need to search for it, it's a realization that comes with time). Lifting off the weight from our shoulders and realizing that we don't actually have to be anything that society wants us to be. Actually, "society" (another abstract concept) doesn't want you to be anything - the people forming it don't give a damn what you are, their main concern is themselves. What actually matters is what you want to do. If you want to paint then be a painter. If you want to endanger your life in order to help other people then be a firefighter or a police officer. Whatever that may bring you sincere joy, do. It's the only thing that makes sense. Why would you waste your life voluntarily doing something that ultimately makes you miserable or leaves you discontent? A wretched soul won't bring joy to anyone. We should all know better by now.

       And shortly returning to the subject of groups. Besides identity building, they also serve another purpose. The more or less obvious thing, which is providing the feeling of safety. And, of course, creating the sense that we are all part of a larger whole. Having people around you to interact with in an honest and straightforward fashion will make you happier. This world is not easy to wrap your head around and being able to share thoughts about it with other people will most likely ease your mind quite a lot. And then there's the whole mystery of physical intimacy, which of course can be interpreted as a purely biological drive keeping us reproducing, but I can't help but feeling like there would be something else to it. I mean, why does hugging someone, even in a non-romantic sense, feel so good? Ugh, I really do apologize for the confusing text. My thoughts are a mess and I wish I knew how to reconstruct them here in a slightly more sensible way. Unfortunately you'll have to settle for this awkward lump of I don't know what. Bottom line: friends are awesome, cherish them!

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