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The red thread – culture

Life is an intertwined mess. The information overflow of modern society makes it so. The complexity of the human mind has always been there. These two might seem to inspire chaos, merely entropy-inducing qualities of leading a life as a human being on Planet Earth. Most people simply surrender to this pandemonium – I do not.

Ancient philosophers understood the virtue of contemplation, of endeavouring to find out what ”living” is all about. There are of course numerous philosophical teachings arguing for very disparate styles of living, everything from religious sects to atheist anarchists to humanists and scientologists. Whatever your belief system may be, you can always sharpen your intellect – just follow the red thread.

It is rather interesting to think about life. Are we here by some divine power, or are we nothing but randomly evolved animals? There is no certain answer since we cannot concretely prove the one or the other, although I strongly hold the belief that we are developed through the Darwinian model – I am basically a secular humanist. Hence, my red thread is the belief in the faculties of the human being. To me, it is accepting our limitations, but also aspire to achieve and exceed our boundaries. So, how do we do that?

I do not have the recipe, but I do believe that I am on the way on establishing some sort of belief system of my own. I try to read a lot. You learn a lot from books, from good books. The classics are classic owing to their qualities of describing the human being, factors from humour and playfulness to the darkness and failures of the psyche. They teach without lecturing and gives us clues along the way. Certain novels probably fit us more or less depending on where in life we find ourselves; I am trying to find ways to appreciate people from a very wide perspective, hence I, at the moment, try to read diverse literature. I have bought a bunch of American and British classics to sharpen my understanding of the English-speaking world, but that includes more than just Britain and the US; a few weeks back, I finished Half of a Yellow Sun, my first African novel. During my 4-month session in Nice, I read three (my first three!) French novels in French, discovered French film at the same time.

Film is the ugly culture, the easy-to-understand medium of life lessons. Films such as Forrest Gump, Les Intouchables, and Shutter Island does teach us something important, even some things. Action films? Well, good for Friday night entertainment, and no shame in that, but not the sort of culture to focus on if to reach fulfilment.

Culture is about describing life, whether it be abstract or concrete, in moving pictures or in a colour blob in a white. Paintings are for me still nothing but mysteries, but I have come to appreciate photography more and more. I took my parents to the Fotografiska Muséet in Stockholm on my birthday, and that was actually a revelation for me. I had not liked photography in that way before, but in the way that the Fotografiska presented their shows (Olympic Games, August Strindberg, and Sally Mann) I finally got a sort of link between real life and art. This link I tried to strengthen when I visited the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo a month later, which also was a nice experience with photo shows.

The link – the thread – is great when you fall upon it. The fall makes you feel alive, just as dreaming that you are falling wakes you up, getting the notion of you stumbling over the red thread will make you feel more alive and feel that there is something more to it. Whatever it may be. But, the trick is finding it – as you see from my post picture, the line is not straight – it is complex, it is intertwined, and it is a mess; just like life.

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This entry was posted on 21 september, 2012 by in Litteratur/Literature, Personligt/Personally and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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