Absurd Mischief

There are two things I regularly observe: the absurdity of human activity (individually and as a society) – and second, the mischievous moments periodically introduced into my day. To me, this means I cannot earnestly participate in the game of life. Have you ever tried taking a game seriously while other participants fooled around and ignored the rules? It’s not fun. And then to have your efforts regularly thwarted by mischief? Why do anything at all?!

BUT, the guy that takes a game too seriously is not correct – he’s actually a killjoy. Imagine playing a game of pretend, like “house” for example: You knock on the door and inform the homeowner of high-interest rates, the possibility of refinancing, the benefits of a 401K retirement plan, as well as the need for adequate life-insurance. Your playmate looks at you in disgust as she quickly closes the door and tells you to quit being a jerk.

I’m often guilty of applying too much formality to life. Wherever I go I want to check what I can and cannot do. “We must consult the rules!!”. But if you’re constantly looking for a rulebook that doesn’t exist, you’re going to have a bad time. In fact, this world is VERY resistant to rules – it’s a Wonderland in which mischievous absurdity leads the way. You can’t apply structure to its formlessness – it’s more dreamlike than anything. The ONLY recourse is to play along.

Imagine being at a dinner in which most of the participants peridodically stand and move to the center of the room. A cacophony begins and people hop around the floor while grabbing at one another. You think: “Why don’t they sit down, be quiet, and simply eat their food!!” But of course they’re just dancing to the music, yet you refuse to appreciate or participate in the frivolity.

In video-games, it’s common to work long hard hours to achieve arbitrary rewards that disappear as soon as the game’s over. So it’s fine to pursue frivolous objectives, that’s the goal of games – but the pursuit must be enjoyable. The point is to have fun while straining to achieve those ephemeral ends. In other words, you CAN work hard within a mischievously absurd environment, you just can’t obsess about the outcome. You can’t cry when the sandcastle crumbles.

In general, enjoyment must be extracted from the process of doing something and NOT from savoring something that’s already completed or attained. In that way, it doesn’t matter if attainment even happens or an accomplishment fades away. You should be too involved in the activity you’re doing now to care anyway. In this way, mischief can’t quite affect you.

In regards to absurdity, you’ll have to embrace it and play along. For example: just do whatever you want. If you want to paint popsicle sticks, do that. Stay calm, don’t worry, and just do whatever relaxing activity comes to mind. The more lighthearted you are, the more lighthearted the mischief and absurdity that surrounds: so keep it playful. Oh and planning doesn’t work as expected in an absurd world – in fact, it just makes it easier to tease you.