Friday, January 25, 2008

83; Laughing heartily

Weekend Mentality: Noun. 1. The state of mind which causes a person to postpone their enjoyment and 'let go' at the end of the work week. 2. The bane of modern society.

The mind frame most modern humans share is that the weekend is a time to relax, be yourself, have fun, and do what you want. Since this past weekend was a three day celebration it would seem especially appropriate for us to ask ourselves whether this is a good idea. Is this how we ought to live, not doing what we want until Friday and Saturday night abandon?

Well, first off, I suppose we should ask whether we should be allowed to do what we want at all. For some the answer would be no, right off the bat. These would include: 'Committing murder and getting away with it', 'Seeing if I can jump from a fourth story window and land', 'Using my sexuality to get favors and break marriages' and '48 hour chocolate pudding diet'.

Other things we want to do are not, societally or morally, wrong. Camping, reading, sports activities. Even passive things like catching a movie or watching television aren't morally wrong decisions (FOX and SPIKE pending review).

How many times in your life have you heard the phrase 'carpe diem'? I have no doubts that I will be sick of carps and deities by the time I'm forty if this rate keeps up. (Of course, it won't keep up. Once we settle to a certain point people stop reminding us that we have options beyond chicken or fish. That's the evil trick of 'It's a Wonderful Life': It tries to convince us that setting aside or hopes and dreams for a mortgage and kids is really swell.Of course there's no way of knowing until you try it, I suppose.) 'Seize the day'. Good idea, I think we'll all agree. Why postpone the day, if that day may never come?

In a way the Weekend Mentality is a form of optimistic release. You make a bet with the world each Monday that you will be alive and well come Friday night. Why not? So far, if you're reading this, it's played out thousands of times that you have, in fact, survived the week, got through school, got through work, and were allowed to relax and enjoy yourself.
The following excerpt comes from Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher:

"Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy -- to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work. Therefore, whenever I see a fly settling, in the decisive moment, on the nose of such a person of affairs; or if he is spattered with mud from a carriage which drives past him in still greater haste; or the drawbridge opens up before him; or a tile falls down and knocks him dead, then I laugh heartily. And who, indeed, could help laughing? What, I wonder, do these busy folks get done?"

We should pause here, a moment. First off, only a few years later Melville would open Moby Dick with a similarly melancholy and yet simultaneously frenzied character who has to control himself from walking down the street and methodically knocking people's hats off. Was Kierkegaard's narrator just reflecting his times? I think not.

If anything our world has gotten busier still. The fact that Melville, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Turgenev and others all felt the need to create such characters should be viewed, perhaps, as the first reaction to the then-initially changing world we've inherited. Why should we feel so much more comfortable that a tile will not strike us dead? If not a tile, why not the then-unpredictable, now most colloquial bus?

Rebel against the Weekend Mentality. Don't just put off your life to be celebrated two days a week, that's just not enough. Your life is special, and sacred. You have a duty to you, if you think at all highly of yourself at all, or feel that life is for the living, to indulge in your passions. Daily. If your job is your love then start indulging in your hobbies daily. No one tells us to take time for ourselves except the people concerned with our health, and when it comes to you who would you rather listen to? The person whose duty it is to make sure you're at your best, or the one who wants to work you?

Never forget that you have possibilities.

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