A Proclamation of Pleasure.
“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”
By chance, I read this quote quite some time ago. My research has shown that it either comes from Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves or a so-called Nanea Hoffmann. The author’s name, however, is rather secondary as it’s clearly more about the content. Enjoy and celebrate your life. Don’t take yourselves too seriously. What are you waiting for? Why are we here? To be happy, to have a good time, to make others happy. It’s hard to imagine that we’re here to wash our car every Saturday and let a scratch on a vehicle ruin our day. Nor are we here to scourge ourselves by making a lot of money that we may never be able to spend because cancer or something else has taken over our lives.
We are here to celebrate ourselves and our existence, but it seems to me that many people have forgotten or simply do not feel like it because it requires effort. We should say “yes” much more often. It’s like sports. It’s exhausting, but you get rewarded for it and feel better in the end.
Aestheticism was a literary epoch between 1890 and 1920, dedicated exclusively to the beautiful. Its representatives subordinated everything to the beautiful. Ethics, social issues, religiosity and knowledge, everything had to give way to beauty. Oscar Wilde’s novel “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” is regarded as the manifesto of this period. Of course, this movement also had militant traits, but it did some things right and put beauty above religion, for example. After all, something that aestheticism abhorred beyond all measure was prefering the practical to the beautiful. Practical, what does that actually mean? Pragmatism says nothing about a person except that he or she is practically inclined. But what about cultural identity? Should a garment be beautiful or practical? Frame-sewn shoes are definitely more beautiful than a pair of Crocs. Fabric napkins are nicer than paper napkins. Candlelight is nicer than LED light. Listening to a song on a vinyl is more touching than listening to a random radio station or a downloaded playlist on Spotify.
It’s not that I never choose the practical version, Crocs excluded. The point is that I try to enhance the desolation of everyday life with little special moments. It can also be a bit more rackety at times, better than even-tempered.
Oscar Wilde has said and written many clever things, but this statement describes my concern quite well:
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all?”
A glass of champagne during the week? Why not! In my home country, Germany, you are immediately considered decadent, nouveau-riche, snobbish or something else. Everyone probably has these people among their friends who have slightly dusty and greased Moët or Veuve Cliquot bottles in their kitchen cupboards. What are they waiting for? For the occasion? For the moment that will never come? For the time the bottles become undrinkable? When is the right time to open a bottle of champagne? The bottle is the occasion! “The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” This quote is from Elizabeth Taylor. The actress knew how to celebrate, how to live, and how to love. She didn’t subjugate herself to any constraints, but did what she wanted. For a woman of her generation, this was a venture that not only made her friends, but also made some people unhappy. Is rationality a virtue while exuberance is a vice? Nonsense. Celebrate your life, throw money out the window, and don’t get annoyed by little things. Have a good time. We are all just a blink of an eye in the universe.
Image: Tevei Renvoyé