Wake up early and make yourself known to the world
It can be difficult to find Beauty in everything
There are times it is unknown to us
Our perception mingles with expectation
And we see only the divergence
The flaws from the expected Beauty
There is ugly in reality, it is everywhere
And there is Beauty– it is the paradox of life
That both are everywhere all the time
The movement of life assures this
So what are these aesthetics we cling to?
Perhaps an evolutionary morality
And we cannot help but to find and cherish
The beauty in all things
Occasionally I find myself awake at night thinking about Richard W. Hamming’s speech ‘You are Your Research’. “If what you’re doing is not important… why are you working on it?” he asked.
This can (and should) be a haunting question; it certainly keeps me up at night.
What are the important problems? Or to put it in a more existential tone, what should one work on?
We tend to operate on a flimsy context for what is important. Is it for survival– either individual, or for our species, or for our planet? Or is it the advancement of human knowledge, such as science and art?
Most of the time we don’t concern ourselves with such questions. We work to sustain ourselves, finding pleasure and happiness where we can, and occasionally giving back to others. Life is often nothing but an affirmation of our existence.
Perhaps then the answer is much simpler, and the existential concerns are nothing but evolutionary baggage– a side-effect of our oversize primate brains– perhaps what is important is to exist for existence sake. That is, to exist devoid of a purpose, not to leave an indelible mark, but simply to be. I consider this a sort of existential freedom.
Consider again, what are the important problems? I believe it is to understand who you are and be the best of who you are. Work to affirm your existence, simply be. There is nothing more important.
For me, there is much I can do, and much I cannot. Happiness is often my goal, my pursuit, my passion for the moment. I do not dream of grand human endeavors, but of the passions of soul and comfort. I am drawn to these things, my focus is on feeling good, making others feel good, and enjoying the beauty of existence. I do not wish to compete, to prove myself, to be strong, to be courageous… I wish only to love, be loved, and experience as much beauty in life as one could experience. But that’s just me…
You are who you are– and you cannot change that. You may or may not even like it. But the important problems are there for you to work on, knowing what they are is nothing but an exercise in understanding who you are– and being the best of who you are.
I have 33 years. I find that more idiomatic than “I am 33”. Not to get all Sapir-Whorf, but it’s no wonder we associate our identity to our age. Let’s change this– from now on whenever someone asks how old you are, tell them how many years you have! It’s like a badge of honor to reflect your experience.
In my delusional old-age I’ll bear this as a source of pride. “Oh, you only have 23 years, well, I’ve got 33! Suck on that!”