TWENTYSOMETHING by Ishi Dinim
…and that man comes on the radio he’s tellin’ me more and more about some useless information supposed to fire my imagination I can’t get no, oh no no no hey hey hey, that’s what I say…
– the Rolling Stones
‘Tis the season approaching, that massive reminder of how much we have already and how much more we should want from life. I was thinking about how, in this current mode, we are inundated with messages that reiterate what we’re supposed to need: additional, change, new, more, further, bonus, other.
This concept of desire that stokes us on to “greater things” isn’t only a bad thing. Frustration with our current situation is a natural process. It’s something that can motivate a change for the better; we transform ourselves based on the optimistic premise of continually improving our plot and surroundings.
The problem is that most of the time we are disconnected from the natural world. The influences that affect our dissatisfaction in modern, developed societies are generally artificial. This experience of discontent can be perplexing: “Do I really need new shoes. I don’t like my job. I wish I were in better shape. Who do I vote for this time?”
How can I manage an almost inevitable return of the feeling of a lack of fulfillment? I take stock of all the great abundance in my life: all my basic needs are met, yet, still, right around the corner I find sadness in what I haven’t achieved or may never achieve. I’m dwelling more in a world of want than of need. Am I hardwired to always want more from life? Is it somehow connected to that creative urge, that which moves us to grand things and forgettable ones as well?
I constantly struggle between my ascetic idealism and the reality of living with my ego in an imperfect world. It’s like the dilemma of standing at an all-you-can-eat buffet. My mind swivels: “There’s food at home in the fridge… those poor starving children the world over …, how long has this stuff been sitting out? … you’re not even really that hungry.”
I wonder what it would take to be in a state of contentedness all the time? I’ve often heard people say that less is more and that people with very little are the happiest. If I were poor and the bombs were dropping, would I be?
George W. Bush said, “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just as long as I’m the dictator.”The leader of the most powerful democracy (arguable, I know) thinks that the grass would be greener if he could lead like his old pal Saddam. I’m sure there are qualities of Iraqi life that are attractive to us and elements of Western life that are appealing to them. If Iraqis wanted a democracy, and supposedly got one, then why do all they have are capital punishment, torture and piles of bodies to show for it?
Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers
Once one knows what really matters, one ceases to be voluble. And what does really matter? That is easy: thinking and doing, doing and thinking, and these are the sum of all wisdom. Both must move ever onward in life, to and fro, like breathing in and breathing out. Whoever makes it a rule to test action by thought, thought by action, cannot falter, and if he does, will soon find his way back to the right road.
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Ishi graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2001, with a BFA major in photography. He makes films, collects cacti, and ponders many things. Currently he is trying to figure out what to do with the rest his life. firstname.lastname@example.org
Waiting to hear echoes back –