26 Ocak 2017 Perşembe

Philosophy of Everyday Things: Why I decided to simplify my life

Apart from truly deep philosophical questions, there is a lot of simple stuff think about, that can  lead to actual changes in our lives, thus be tested. This is the first post on such, hopefully followed by others, including reports of practical experiments.

It is more about how we see "things", rather than "things"


    Imagine you are looking at a piece of art. Is there a message that you can formulate as a sentence. Assuming the artist really wanted to get this kind of a message across, why would not he just say it the way you are supposed to get it?
    An explanation could be that we enjoy this process of "packing" and "unpacking" the message, as cartoonist Erdil Yaşaroğlu puts in this awesome ted talk about humor. (Note for friends who do not speak Turkish, the subtitles seem to cut some of the awesome). 
    But is there always a conscious message? Do we unpack it the same way it is packed? In fact, everyone has a different way of interpreting  art and the conclusions differ. We could say there are some people who get it right and others are wrong. In a more open way, we can also say art is a collaboration between the artist and the observer. Inspecting an art-piece is an active process, and the subjective final outcome is rather a discussion between the artist and the observer.
    Same applies to everyday things and their observations. You can even say life is a work of art by the god or universe. The effects of every day events on our psyche are collaborations of the events and our interpretations.

There is joy in many things.


     As a special case of this idea, we could try looking for joy in daily things. I do not mean that we should be fooling ourselves into interpreting everything as absolute good, this could end up badly in long term. But we should learn to find joys we oversee.
   As a personal example: I did not like popular music (stuff you hear on the radio). The interpretation that I have chosen was that it is mostly not creative or qualitative. One option would be tricking myself to a superiority feeling.  ("I am better than people who listen to this"). The other option would be trying to feel the kind of joy that people have who like it. The second one is more mental work, and we are lazy creatures; but being able to enjoy more in life is a skill worth training.
   Of course, there is more than pop music. Why not learn to enjoy the daily commute? Or cooking? Or eating? Or even breathing?  Even the acts that we supposedly enjoy can often turn dull because we are not in the moment, so why not practice to fix that? 

Simplify!


   Being aware and in the moment all the time can be difficult, especially when there is too much going on. I feel overwhelmed by the endless stream of everyday things and events. There is more in my life than I have the mental space to really appreciate. My solution is, to get rid of things I do not need, as most of the objects I own or things I do, do not add any real value to my life.
In the following posts, I will try to look at things from that perspective in critical way, one at a time.