In with the “New”

by Jinryu

I was talking with a friend the other day and it came up in conversation that many people don’t believe they could be ‘arts students.’

There are differences between studying in sciences and arts– but they’re mostly topical, and mostly because people don’t give themselves the chance to really set their brain in a different system from what they’re used to.  I mean, crunching numbers, balancing equations, doing experiments, integrating your Riemanns’ sums– it’s really not that different from the formulas of art criticism.

There’s one thing that the science and art worlds have in common– simplification.  We’re trying to get to something at the bottom of it all.  We’re trying to understand, and, because we’re humans and we’re so easily confused, understanding something often doesn’t mean seeing things necessarily as they are but in a simplified way that’s easier to digest.

There’s something at the bottom of things.  I remember this skit on Sesame Street that I took to heart a bit too much, it was about the “Bird who asked Why.”  It was a musical short where Gordon was singing with Big Bird, and Big Bird just asked Why about Everything.  If you answered that question, he’d ask why about that next.  Reducing, and reducing.

There’s really no end to number of questions we can have, but perhaps there are less different kinds of questions that we can have.

There are themes.

I don’t really get caught up too much on the idea of originality in the sense that anything needs to be original for it to be good.  Because if I did, I could never live with myself– as someone who loves stories, I’ve got an infinite lists of protagonists who I in some way emulate unconsciously, and I put my life into situations that mimic fiction that I’ve read without even knowing it.

But is it really me that’s ‘copying’ them, or is it just a coincidence?  Are there only so many possibilities?  Is that we we end up doing similar things, making similar mistakes, go through the same growing pains as this or that person?

I find it ironic that sometimes when giving someone consolation, I can say that “you’re different,” and on other days, I can say “you’re not alone.”

It’s a matter of circumstance really.  There’s a left, there’s a right, but when you go too far off balance that’s when you need a push to remind you, even if the push is from an end that in itself would be a problem if it were too much.

What is my theme of the moment?

I don’t like doing laundries.  I don’t like doing dishes.  I’m at home, it’s raining outside.  And my first thought is, I have the day off– these are excellent conditions to go biking.

I’d rather be out there doing something new or something more active, something more mentally challenging.  What does mentally challenging mean? It means something “new,” or even if not throwing myself at something new, throwing myself at a situation in which new things will magically happen to me.

And I wonder if sometimes part of the ‘trick’ of living is not so much to be concerned about ‘direction’ so much as ‘momentum.’  I mean, chances are, the things I will encounter and that I enjoy are in fact things that satisfy an old theme– you know, those things that make me who I am with all my preferences and dislikes– so it strikes me as a paradox ( doesn’t it, you?) that that which we seek is actually that which we know– it’s just that it comes in a different packaging.

And the easy way in the end is to not think about it and just keep moving.

Laundries and dishes– those are so Wednesday.