Reading a book is like having a deep conversation.*
Watching a movie is like experiencing vivid dreaming.
Listening to music is like hearing the sound of emotions.
Viewing a photograph or a painting is like stopping time.
All forms of art, provides an opportunity to engage in an aesthetic experience.
A doctor applies an anaesthetic when she wants the patient to feel nothing. Anaesthetic leads to numbness. On the other hand, an aesthetic awareness is a door to wonderment.
So much of what we consume today is like anaesthesia. Yet, what is needed is aesthetics that un-numbs us, that provides us a “waking up” to the inherent beauty that is possible to be engaged with.
As Proust says, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Engaging in art has a way of clearing the fog in our eyes and waking our senses.
Art might be “useless” in a conventional economy paradigm, but it is highly valuable from what it means to be human.
*Reading a poem is like listening to the the truth, told “slant”.
Photo by Mr TT
We attempt to lead the speed of life as if we can travel in the speed of light.
Only recently, this dawned on me, that my attempt to deal with the stresses of life was—in a true civilised 21st-century approach to living —to speed things up.
Go faster, read faster, write faster, do chores faster, put the kids to bed faster….so that I can buy more time for the next.
Inadvertently, I became impatient to others. People who were walking slower, people who were late, people who were blocking my way. The truth is, I was becoming agitated with my wife and kids. Simply because, on hindsight, they weren’t traveling in the same speed as I was. Especially for my 5-year-old, who has a very different concept of time, takes a fairrrrrr amount of time… to get ready to go out.
Something’s not quite right with this type of speed.
The speed of life is not the speed of light.
Therein lies the paradox: Time speeds up when we are rushing.
We see much more when we are walking by our familiar street than when we are driving by in the comforts of our car.
I’m still grappling with this. Daily, I remind myself again not only to slow down, but to do less, and embrace this persistent paradox with time.
Sit on a chair, and look around you.
The table in front of you took many hours to be built; it’s four legs shaped symmetrically. The finishing of the wooden top, coated to protect from wear and tear.
The music that is playing in the background. A singer with a four-piece band, playing through the speakers. The layers of production to give you this sonic experience.
The building that you are in, sheltering you from the afternoon heat. The house that is now your home.
Four thin pieces plus a slap of wood on the top took more than 40 hours to be made. The 3.5mins song took more than 3 months to be written and another 3-4 months to produce (maybe a year’s worth of mulling with the muses—and writing other bad songs—to even begin writing that song). The house that you live in took more than a year to be built, another six months to make it your home, and a lifetime for its soul to come alive.
Everything takes time to be made, but so little to consume it. Even that chair that you are sitting on right now.
You are made in the passage of time.
Make time to appreciate the making of things and people around you.