coromandal


We must learn not to care

What makes us anxious? Everything it seems: job, relationship, traffic, people in general – ha! The quote below by Tom Hodgkinson says anxiety compromises our creative natures; that’s the most important message. To get creative again, which is our natural state, we must overcome anxiety. And to overcome anxiety, we must identify the things that make us anxious and counter them. Identify and counter. Here are some notes from my reading of this text.

Generally speaking, the pursuit of security is the root cause of anxiety. This pursuit includes all the biggies of modern life: career, mortgages etc; they make us anxious because they cancel our creativity.

The pursuit of security gives anxiety which cancels creativity. That’s the present formula. The new formula could be the rejection of security reduces anxiety and reinstates creative nature.

One antidote to security is fatalism. The mystical, ecumenical, smells and bells, communal, mindful, slightly superstitious faiths, with icons and saints and processions make us less anxious. Why? Because they emphasize fatedness over security and control; they help us to see our place in the world as haphazard, willed by some force outside of ourselves. They free us back into our natural creative natures.

From How to be Free:

Anxiety is the sacrifice of creativity in the service of security. It is the giving up of personal freedoms in return for the promise, never fulfilled, of comfort, cotton wool, air conditioned shopping centres. Security is a myth; it simply doesn’t exist. This does not stop us, however, from constantly chasing it.

/…/

Another simple solution to anxiety is to embrace a fatalistic theology. Catholics, say, are probably less anxious than Protestants. Buddhists are certainly less anxious than Jews. If you believe that there’s nothing much that you can do that makes any sense other than to enjoy yourself, then your anxiety will fade. If you have that Puritan cast of mind and feel that you are terribly important in the world and it really matters what you do, then your anxiety will increase. Self-importance breeds anxiety. We must learn not to care – not in the sense of being selfish but in the sense of being carefree.

Tom Hodgkinson, How To Be Free, p 11

 



rioters and partiers
August 23, 2011, 6:24 pm
Filed under: brave new world, the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: , , , , , ,

In America you have the tea party, in England you’ve got this.

– UK rioter.

They see the hierarchy and riot; we are told there is no hierarchy and believe it.

A friend on facebook asked:  why do the Brits riot while in America we have the tea party?  They have rioters and we have partiers.

He is of course assuming that economic events – budget cuts and economic stagnation – are the common cause which give rise to both the rioters and partiers.  I waited and watched the thread for two days during which time he received, as could be expected, representative opinions from the cultural extremes:  the rioters are thugs and n’er-do-wells, or they are disenfranchised and have lost hope.  Partiers are crackpots working against their own best interests; they are the true fiscal stewards.

But these pat answers don’t address the question – a good one – to name the constituent difference, between England and America, that would lead to profoundly different reactions to arguably the same social impetus:  drawbacks based on a failing economy.  There has to be profound differences between societies that react so differently.

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no rhyme or reason

CAUSE & EFFECT – I had a conversation with a friend recently about cause and effect.  In his world a strong link between the two is important:  to know that by good intentions, preparation, diligent work etc., an outcome can be projected, expected and perhaps even defined.  I pitched a more tenuous linkage, and so we drank our beer and bantered back and forth for a while.

I came across another way of thinking about the relationship between cause and effect in de Botton’s book Status Anxiety.  In it he says that, further back in history, we used to believe in fatedness and fortune.  That the link between what you strive to do may have a very loose relationship to the outcomes of your life, and that, beside your own volition and will, there were many factors that contribute to the courses of peoples lives.  To reflect this haphazardness, people at the extremes of society were called fortunates and unfortunates.

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