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)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

So Let Me Just Comment Here

When I read the Facebook exchange above, I was sorely tempted to comment. But then I realize that there is a difference between opinionated and intrusive. So just let me publicly reflect here.

Gleaning from the author’s choice of words and phrases used, one can get a hint of his problem: “everything has been against me;” “lived my life by the book;” and “deserving of all the good things that life can bring.” I was sorely tempted to ask the following: How sure are you that everything is against you? What is this “book” that are you living by? How can you say that you “deserve” such things? And what makes you say that these things are “good”? 

One important lesson that we need to learn while growing up is to be able to think for ourselves. This results in us defining our world-view. Our world-view isn’t shaped instantly, and it also can change from time to time, as we gather more and more experience.

However, thinking for oneself isn’t exactly a value that Filipinos are taught early on. Like most Asians, we are taught to value the collective more than the individual. Add to that the fire-and-brimstone message of the Catholic Church, and you have a people raised on pakikisama and Catholic guilt. I find nothing wrong with collective thinking; however, I feel we should also be encouraged more to think for ourselves. 

And when we start thinking for ourselves, we will also slowly realize our place in this world. I find it both a terrifying and wonderful moment when we slowly realize that we are so miniscule in the larger scheme of things yet so infinite in our minds. More than being bloated with a sense of entitlement, I worry about that realization. How easy it is for us to feel entitled. Or how easy it is to forget how much Lady Luck plays a part in our lives.

Which leads me to the comment about optimism and the grand conspiracy theory of the universe.

“The universe conspires” is the same as “shit happens.” Both are valid ways of making sense of the world. The difference lies in the attitude of the author. Speaking for myself, I often find myself bemusedly thankful at the former and amusedly resigned with the latter.

What works for me these days is a balancing act. When something good happens, enjoy it while appreciating the fact that the opposite had an equal chance of happening. And when things turn south, accept it. The sooner you do, the sooner you can move on and figure out ways to improve your situation. Hope is a combination of doing things yourself while allowing the possibility that forces beyond your control will align with what you want. 

When it’s good, don’t forget that the other shoe could have dropped. When it’s bad, try to make do, but be open to the possibility that Lady Luck may just smile at you.

1 comment:

rudeboy said...

Well said, McVie.

Nothing more to add here.