create and redeem
Mar 28, 2023
The question that most often occupies my headspace is: “will I be happy?” It’s purposefully vague so that it may elude any attempt at a definitive answer.
I’ve understood freedom to be the principle component of my happiness. Recently I’ve tried to challenge this long-held view of myself and I’ve met less resistance than I would’ve expected. How does one find meaning in a life full of disappointments? Maybe it’s not total freedom that I need, but the existence of one thing that I love to do - something that allows me to play and to struggle. What is life to be spent on besides creation?
I believe that creating things is central to happiness. To create is to synthesize one’s experiences in life and exchange it for a unit of some good through which we transact emotion. The musician pulls on their understanding of life to output a piece; it is this act of exchange that I believe brings happiness to the individual, and the thing that has been created can be redeemed by others for experience. Perhaps I’m forcing the analogy a bit, but I think the core message stands: to create is to live.
I can not claim that I have answered what is the meaning of life. It’s much easier to think about what are the things that can only occur because I am alive in this moment; etch your initials into to the concrete stairs leading up to the building you spent many of your childhood years. I really think that’s it. Not to scream into the void but to fold a paper crane that will float through space for the rest of time. The depth of human experience required to write Stoner or Infinite Jest is why these books continue to float around my mind even years later.
Life is incredibly isolating. In some way, everything we do is a bid for connection. The consumption of others’ creations allows us to temporarily experience a part of their lives. I don’t believe it’s possible to live a happy life solely off consumption though because how can you share your own experience with others if all you do is consume? I do enjoy the hedonic lifestyle myself, but when expiration comes what will you have to show? I pity the man who has acquired all the knowledge of the world yet passes without remark.
Throughout life we go through phases where we are more inclined to create or redeem, and it’s important to be aware of which state we’re in.
This post has been sitting in my drafts since I started this blog. I’ve rewritten this so many times now and I’m still not totally happy with how it turned out, but at some point ya just gotta send it. I’m going througha a difficult patch in life right now so it felt like the right time to finally get this done.