Saturday, June 8, 2019

A very civilized afternoon

The issue of productivity is easily confused with the lesser ambition of amusement. Though the two initially appear to be polar opposites - the one (productivity) importing usefulness; the other (amusement) resounding of uselessness - both are as readily subject to identical flattery and condonation for practically the same reasons. The pursuit of productivity for example can equate to single-minded preoccupation with repetitive behaviour calculated only to promote the appearance of constructive activity - what, in the words of a former acquaintance, amounts to "lots going on and nothing happening". Likewise the appetite for amusement can translate into a profound manifestation of artistic expression if the equally serious effort is devoted to what one enjoys.

It comes as no profound discovery to recognize that the quality of performance doesn't depend upon its utility or lack of purpose. What is however worthy of examination is what we willingly characterize as cultivated or sophisticated. There is a danger that we diminish the research into a subject solely because it hasn't the refinement or polish which we assume should persist. There is similarly the threat that the patent richness of an undertaking risks contaminating it with an exceedingly visceral - as opposed to intellectual - character (the classic lust vs love dichotomy). If we allow duty (or whatever higher equivalent is preferred) to eclipse interest we severely reduce the product of our enterprise.  It is almost deceitful to remove oneself from the palpable persuasion in lieu of the preferable pressure. Aside from the social absurdity of predictable behaviour we close the door on invention and exploration.

The test of productivity or amusement isn't its own achievement but rather our success at piloting ourselves to a meaningful (though perhaps unpredictable) end. It is a mistake to presume that the talent of the research lies within a limited scope.  It's the very reason we take a spin on a Ferris wheel; namely, to discover the thrill and to enjoy the ride! Whether we should dedicate ourselves to a more definable agenda is beyond question.

The essential oils of life are by definition basic. It explains the transition so common among the elderly from complexity to simplicity. Recognizing what is critical means getting rid of what is optional. Narrowing one's focus entails uniting what once may have been divergent. For some people this encompasses the yearning to make amends. As worthy as that and similar objectives may be there nonetheless remains the need to apply similarly acute reasoning. Not every injury can be remedied. Not every shortfall can be reclaimed.

No comments:

Post a Comment