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Monthly Archives: July 2016

It’s funny because I realized this after witnessing my boyfriend’s maguro habit. We go to the same sushi bar regularly and he always gets that. Good old rice, fish (not very pink, not very red), and wasabi. He sits there, talks a bit, finishes it, and he’s done. He also has this thing with coffee. He likes his Americano with cold water, no ice. How can one be so sure about what they like? How can one be so sophisticated yet so simple?

Some days, I am drawn towards admiring the barest things. However, I tend to swoon over them some more once I learn about the complexity behind them. Knowing that there is something so intricate and complex behind something that’s seemingly simple.

There is a grey area between sophistication and simplicity. I can’t point a finger at it but it makes me feel. It stirs me in a particular way. That there is a process to perfect simplicity. To be simple, you need to know more. To know better. Whether it’s just for a cup of coffee or an essay on criminal justice.

They say when you are loud, your brain seems empty – just slurring out words hoping to hit the right ideas like throwing arrows on shelves of water balloons. They say when you can’t simplify something complex, you don’t really know anything about the matter. In truth, I think that sophistication has a final end – simplicity. When things are simple, it’s because there is reconciliation with complexity.

 

 

 

Life is worth living when you know your purpose. Knowing your purpose will lead you to happiness. Happiness is the ultimate end of all human actions. This is according to Aristotle.

Right now I can say that I am happy. I am currently doing things that I genuinely love with the hopes of touching the lives of others in a way that they’d also be inspired and encouraged to seek their happiness and flourish. Perhaps this is my purpose.

I listened to Fluorescent Adolescent and my early teenage years just flashed before my eyes. I remember just taking photos of fallen leaves and write about my feelings. The last meaningful conversation that I had with my friend before he passed away was about how we really determine who we really are. He said that we are all bound to be someone in our later lives and right now, it’s just all phases. I digressed. I said we all flourish into that person that we all want to become but with the characteristics that we already have. He agreed.

A vintage camera found its way to my doorstep last Saturday. I took pictures just like how I did before. I am writing more often now. In hindsight, I can feel that I am slowly going back to my roots. And I’m just happy. Full circle, isn’t it?

I remember trying to be someone I am not. Do things that I usually don’t. It crushed me and I forgot what I love. Perhaps choosing to do the things you love isn’t really settling in a comfort zone because doing the things you love is not comfortable. In a world where you have to pay for food, love won’t let you thrive. Choosing love is uncomfortable and justifying it is brave. But love is love. Love makes me happy. And happiness? It is an end in itself. I’m okay with that.

I found myself leaning on a cup of iced chamomile tea as if it could carry all the weight that I have in me. It was just quiet. There was only the meekness of rain that’s just began pouring and distant conversation. I started thinking about everything all at once. Then Alvin interrupted me by asking what I was thinking. I realized that I had my eyes closed all along.

I really appreciate those little, quiet moments that I have all to myself. And eventually, the conversation that happens after that. I don’t know. I just feel like there is something about those very personal moments that is so meaningful. Being lost in one’s thoughts in silence has a lot of personal depth. And the urge to share that experience to someone else through conversing one’s thoughts is just as special. It always ends up with more gravity.

After I was interrupted, I burst with lots of ideas about love for process. I started talking about how these past few days I have been meaning to invest my time and knowledge to things that are more meaningful. The more tedious the process, the better. Because I simply see the value in the length of time allotted to something that one is fully convinced to be great. Think: film photography, fountain pens and inkwells, a vinyl collection and turntables, an everyday pour-over coffee habit. Nowadays, we can all just get away with what we want in just an instant that we lose track of the real meaning of our current pursuits – why we do what we do.  The intent behind these tedious tasks and the heart to create good things speak so much of legacy. The kind that I want to leave behind.

Nothing is just lovelier than having the freedom to be quiet and be lost in thoughts. However, having someone who listens and tries to engage could be just as lovely. On the ride home he told me he watched closely how hard I work, even before the academe and when I was still a hotelier. He smiled when he told me that he is proud of my work ethic. I don’t really like flattery, he doesn’t. But these things just make me melt. These make me happy.

I may not have a clear vision of how I want the future to look like. But this is how I want it to feel like.

Reading is a chore lately. I noticed that I can’t go past chapters. It’s been a while since I last finished a book. Voice is important to me. For the most part, I can say that it determines whether or not I like the book. At least initially. But you know, that could be all. This experience does not only arise from fiction. I also have the same issue when I’m reading academic work. Right now, I’m even writing this at the back of a philosophical journal. Yes, I reached that point wherein writing my incoherent thoughts seems more appealing than actually reading something that’s supposed to improve my life, you know.

But for the record, I haven’t given up reading just yet. I actually keep a Lydia Davis short story collection on my bedside table where my bible used to be. I thoroughly enjoy her stories, short and long. I like Joan Didion as well. Apart from these, I also enjoy reading interviews between The Paris Review and luminaries. Just recently, I paid the undergraduate library a visit and left with two Foucault books. I enjoyed reading his interviews. I learnt he loves silence.

Stephen Riggins: One of the many things that a reader can unexpectedly learn from your work is to appreciate silence. You write about the freedom it makes possible, its multiple causes and meanings. For instance, you say in your last book that there is not one but many silences. Would it be correct to infer that there is a strongly autobiographical element in this?

Michel Foucault: I think that any child has been educated in a Catholic milieu just before or during the Second World War had experience that there were many different ways of speaking as well as many forms of silence. There were some kinds of silence which implied very sharp hostility and others which meant deep friendship, emotional admiration, even love. I remember very well that when I met the filmmaker Daniel Schmidt who visited me, I don’t know for what purpose, we discovered after a few minutes that we really had nothing to say to each other. So we stayed together from about three o’clock in the afternoon to midnight. We drank, we smoked hash, we had dinner. And I don’t think we spoke more than twenty minutes during those ten hours. From that moment a rather long friendship started. It was for me the first time that a friendship originated in strictly silent behavior.

Maybe another feature of this appreciation of silence is related to the obligation of speaking. I lived as a child in a petit bourgeois, provincial milieu in France and the obligation of speaking, of making conversation with visitors, was for me something both strange and very boring. I often wondered why people had to speak. Silence may be a much more interesting way of having a relationship with people.

I hate small talk. It’s either I keep an actual conversation or I remain quiet but not necessarily indifferent. I feel burdened when I’m pushed to initiate a conversation that I do not even want to happen in the first place. So I’m with Foucault on this fondness. I also appreciate how silence can mean deep friendship. Alvin and I used to always work together on the kitchen table in my old apartment. It was very similar to that scenario of Didion and Dunne in the book The Year of Magical Thinking. Just silent but there.

So, what was it about reading again… The other day, I went to the bookstore and I saw two Renata Adler books and I remembered that I was the one responsible for that because I actually ordered those but abandoned them. I guess I should give Adler a chance and see how much she’d encourage me to read some more.

I have a lot of books but I am a very selective reader. Before when I hate a book, I endure the hate until the last page. But now I just don’t have the patience for that anymore. I hate being stuck and uninspired so I’d rather just be restless and seek inspiration. This is very telling of my life right now.

I keep on running away, chasing what I think seems right at the moment. But you know what? It can get pretty boring sometimes. Chasing inspiration, contrary to popular belief, could be boring in itself. It becomes really dull specially if you’re surrounded with people who constantly try to remind you of what you should be doing. Because apparently, they should know better right? Right. This affects me because I listen to them and then I’ll think to myself that maybe  the chase is pointless. Everything then becomes bleak.

In a race, people should be cheering you on, right? I mean even if you’re running just for the heck of it with no aim whatsoever, the mere fact that you volunteered to be a subject of the pursuit, that should be noble in itself. Don’t you think? The same way we love people despite how clueless they are of their meaning and purpose. We love them anyways because they’re there. Not far away. Not unavailable. Not gone. Simply being there just for the heck of it. Existing just for the heck of it. Living just for the heck of it.

Choosing to live is profound in itself. At the very least, we can all say thanks. At the very least, we can all be hopeful.

The Foucault interview was taken from Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings 1977-1984. It was an excerpt from an interview with Stephen Riggins for the Canadian journal Ethos in the Autumn of 1983.