Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Thoughts, Thanks To Entertainment Weekly

1. Big Love

In the magazine’s Dec. 21 issue, Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks writes about the late Whitney Houston. She remembers watching an interview wherein Whitney said that even though she had numerous successes and had met so many famous people and had toured the whole world, when she fell in love with Bobby Brown, all she ever cared about was, in her words, “being in love. All I cared about was my husband. Nothing else mattered.”

Stevie then muses that if Whitney were alive today and was asked if she would change anything, she would say no. “I think she was very aware of where she was going,” Stevie writes. “And yeah, it’s a tragedy. But I also think sometimes when real big love gets in the way, there’s no turning back.”

Love, especially the passionate emotion, is a powerful force. Many stories and movies have romanticized such a love, and numerous songs have been sung of a love that moves mountains. It is an awesome and fearful sight to behold. It distorts reality, making it impossible for one to see the bigger picture. It makes one immune to reason. Big love consumes a person much like revenge.

It is awesome. It is tragic. And when real big love gets in the way, there’s no turning back.

Which is why the older I get, the more I prefer the ability of someone to keep his emotions in check. I find merit in keeping emotions, including (or perhaps especially) big love, in their proper perspective.

2. One Life

In the same issue, there’s a quote from the late Gore Vidal, talking about man’s place in the large cosmic scheme of things: “...all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. Because there is nothing else. Nothing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all.”

I remember nihilists use the argument that “Death makes life meaningless; ergo, we need not behave ‘properly.’” So we do not need to concern ourselves with others.

But there is a flip side to the argument. Because of Death, life becomes a one-shot deal. Since you’re only on this journey once, make it worth your time. Furthermore, life’s meaning and worth isn’t something foisted on us by the gods; rather, we ourselves choose to put meaning and worth.

What would be worth living? Is it money and material acquisition? Or is it the pursuit of happiness? For the longest time it was enough for me to “be happy.” But one day when I told my friend Leigh that my goal in life was “to be happy,” she said something which made me think: “Happiness is a by-product. What do you want to do? And in doing that, it will also make you happy?”

I realized that happiness in and of itself as a goal can lead one to purely selfish pursuits. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, unless those selfish pursuits are to the detriment of others. One’s goals should take into consideration the balance of things on this Earth. After all, “this is it. And quite enough, all in all.”

Again, there is a need for perspective. We should always consider the larger picture.

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