11.29.2013

Outside

I live in a city, I work on a computer, I am mildly agoraphobic (maybe agoraversic? Is that a word?), and... well, lets be honest: a wee bit lazy. So, very seldom do I get outside much. This is a shame, because I love outside. I love the way everything has a texture you can't quite predict, the way that life ebbs and flows and bubbles and shrinks, the way that everything around you has a name and you don't necessarily know what it is (or at least I, as often as not, don't). But I live a life composed of things-which-must-be-completed (many of which I don't complete). And so if a thing does not have some sort of obligation tied to it - or is an effortless temptation - its unlikely I'll ever do it. No, I'm serious. My to-do list has 'take a shower' written on it. SOMETIMES I manage to check that box. If I forget to write it down? I never do it. Ever. Yes world, look on me with disgust (but perhaps, if I am behind on my list, don't breathe too deeply).

But to the outside world again - the trouble with systems of 'effectiveness' (Mr Covey, for example, or that Tech Darling, Getting Things Done) is that it assumes that what one wishes to do is synonymous with what one wishes to accomplish. Sure, there is the acknowledgement that certain other things should occur, because it is necessary to 'recharge the batteries' or as Mr Covey says, 'sharpen the saw', and perhaps High Gurus of Coveyality will wisely show how one can use a list to be more spontaneous and play Legos with my children (I put playing with my children on my list - again, otherwise I never do it). I am not the guru of anything. I read 'productivity' books with that mixture of hope, discouragement and bitterness with which damned souls read the bible. So! Many! Sins!

And this is how nature is for me. I don't want to accomplish the outside world. I do not want to win nature. I am not in search of the nature prize. IF you asked me what I wanted to get out of going outside, I'm not rightly sure I could tell you. I'm not sure I'd want to be able to.

In fact, what I've learned is that if I DO put it on my list, then I hate it. It becomes a chore, a sort of complex Vitamin D pill that must be swallowed.

Again, I don't mean to imply this is something exclusive to the idea of going outside, I think its more general. Its the same reason I think Liberal Arts is dying - because in the end the point is to give you a context for living in, not to make you more productive. There is no accomplishment involved in these things - like Oscar Wilde's essay on art being useless. But that means, you are left with the question - how to shape the day? How to consciously do that which you wish to desire unconsciously?