Drawing the Line of Work and Life

Standard

When most people talk about their job and their life, they treat them as two separate things. They say that being professional and being personal should stay in their own separate spheres of influence. Of…well, living. But where is the boundary between work and life? When does your job become your passion, or vice versa? How much can you blur the line before you lose who you are?

On one end of the scale are farmers. For them, work and life are one and the same. They get up, go to the fields, handle their crops and livestock–which double as food sources–and then reap the benefits of their work, monetary or otherwise. On the other end are your stereotypical office drones, who come in and process paper after paper as if cogs in a machine. For them, work is just a part of their daily routine, one which doesn’t allow them to go out and just be themselves. At least they have defined lines to draw, one would think.

But where does everyone else fit in on this scale? Artists, I believe, are all over the place. Dangerously so, in fact. Those who depend on their craft for sustenance run the risk of either letting their passions die out in favor of going through the motions or starving because of their lack of direction with their desires. For them, the line between work and life is all but impossible to draw accurately. And you know what? Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s important to explore where you can draw that line. Maybe it’s important to set some things aside in favor of others. Or maybe it’s all a bunch of hooey.

Either way, artists still live to create, as while art isn’t necessary for survival, it does make life worth living.

…Wait a second. How did that…eh, never mind.

Advertisements

Practicality in Religion

Standard

Religion is a very sensitive subject. Sometimes, you wonder how long you can go talking about it without having it erupt into violence these days. Is there a god up there or out there? If so, why is there evil in the world? If not, why isn’t there nothing but evil? The list of questions only gets bigger and more convoluted from there.

But whether or not you believe that there’s an otherworldly power governing the universe, you have to admit that religion–any religion–teaches important life lessons, some more practical than others.

For example, in the Bible, therein is the tale of a man named Joseph. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s the story of a man who goes from hardship to crazy hardship and ultimately ends up as the grand vizier of Egypt and the key to reconciliation and reunion of his Hebrew family. But one part of it sticks out to me in a more practical sense: his economic policy in times of plenty and famine. Most people are inclined to spend and consume what they have in times of plenty on just about all the creature comforts they can think of but try to hoard what little they have left in times of scarcity. Joseph implemented the opposite: during the seven years of plenty, he suggested that the people stockpile everything they could spare, so when the seven years of famine came along, the people of Egypt had more than enough to eat–so much more, in fact, that the empire turned out huge profits from selling its excess to starving outsiders, including Joseph’s family.

Another example is the 1922 novel, Sidhartha, the tale of a spiritual journey of self-discovery in the time of the Gautama Buddha. About halfway through the story, the titular character has become a rich man and consummate lover, but even after gaining all that he could ask for, he feels so empty that he is almost driven to suicide–a sadly common fate among celebrities and other upper class people. Only when he realizes that his life still has meaning–something that no amount of wealth can give him–does he stop himself and resume his personal journey.

Now, all of this seems silly, I’m sure, but look beyond the controversy and senseless jargon and you just might see how much better we can all be if we stop and listen beyond what we know.

What Matters Most in Life

Standard

Lately, I’ve been obsessing a lot over quick ways to make money, from online marketing to working as a cashier at Bed Bath and Beyond for the holiday season. As I prepare to drive for Lyft, I begin to realize–or more accurately, remember–that money is just a means to an end. Something that I’m supposed to use to upgrade my voice acting equipment, take acting lessons, get a better living space, hire staff for projects, etc. etc. not use as an end goal for whatever reason. I guess that I’ve been so fixed on saving my mom’s house from foreclosure that I’ve forgotten that all.

Nonetheless, somewhere in California, a house is waiting for me to move into, so I can advance my career choices, entertain more people, and ultimately live my dreams, fulfill my identity, and…well, you know the rest.

Evil is Dumb

Standard

For untold ages, humans have searched for the root of all evil. Fear, selfish desire, money, hatred, ignorance…you name it.

I believe that the root of all evil is, in fact, stupidity.

Well, let me run it down to you like this.

  • You don’t start fearing something until you start thinking it’ll hurt you.
  • You don’t start hating something until you start thinking it has wronged you.
  • You don’t start desiring something until you start thinking you’ll be better off with it.
  • You don’t start obsessing over something until you start thinking that it’s all that matters to you.
  • You don’t start ignoring something until you start thinking that it’s not worth your time.
  • You don’t start being selfish until you start thinking that you matter more than others.

What happens when all of this thinking is misplaced? You guessed it. Stupidity. And that misplaced thinking leads people to do evil things. Sure, there are smart people who do that–look no further than Wall Street as a prime example–but in the end, their thinking is still misplaced.

What do you think?

Modern Day Gods

Standard

It’s no secret that “Captain America: Civil War” is a smash hit at the box office, and both critics and audiences agree that it’s an awesome movie–easily one of the best comic book movies ever made. Captain America and Iron Man both want the same thing: the betterment of metahumans fighting the good fight. But each sees the issue differently.

Now, this gets me thinking. Superheroes have been a thing since the 1940s, but only since 2008 have they really come forth as megahits in pop culture. Fans of every superhero, great and small, explore the nuances of and defend their heroes with almost religious zeal, comparing their stories, personalities, powers, etc. with those of other superheroes on a regular basis. And when those other superheroes’ fans come along and proclaim their superheroes superior, clashes ensue. But in the end, all superheroes serve the same purpose: as exemplars. Role models. Ideals for us all to aspire to.

In that sense, superheroes today serve the same purpose gods of religions past and present did for our ancestors.

Gods of different pantheons around the world also told fantastic stories and showcased immense power beyond mortal comprehension, but for the most part, they still had very human flaws. All of the Greek gods, for instance, were prone to immature squabbles that led to utter catastrophe, such as the Trojan War. The Egyptian gods too had a plethora of flaws, sometimes leading to family feuds that turned deadly, like when Set killed Osiris because he was jealous of his rule as king of Egypt. One could argue that even Jesus, the otherwise perfect son of God–and I’m saying this as a Christian myself–had a human flaw of his own: naivete, the clearest example of which being when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He begged God for a way out of his fate. He didn’t want to be crucified. But in the end, though not without reluctance, he accepted his duty and chose to go.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s the exact same storytelling formula that we use today when crafting superheroes. And all those wars, those seizures, those so-called crusades? That’s just fanboy rage manifest before it could be channeled through other outlets, like the internet.

Nowadays, however, in our ever-growing pursuit of more complex and relatable “heroes” and storylines, we seem to have forgotten the actual purpose of a hero. We are to look at the heroes of those great stories and say to ourselves, “I want to be like them someday, if not more so,” yet all too often, we look for heroes to look at and say, instead, “That’s me. I’m doing it all in my dreams.” In other words, we look for people to inspire us to be less than what we are, instead of more. If the heroes we ought to aspire to could see that in us now, they’d probably shake their heads in shame.