the daily mundane

There exists a disturbing desire of losing everything, and then having nothing to lose. A subconscious need of minimalism. To combat the quotidian dullness, we often develop unintelligent and sometimes dangerous behaviour patterns.

In a movie called A Scanner Darkly, with perhaps some screenwriting liberties by Richard Linklater, these words were written by Philip K. Dick, and eventually spoken by Keanu Reeves:

Bob Arctor: The pain, so unexpected and undeserved had for some reason cleared away the cobwebs. I realized I didn’t hate the cabinet door, I hated my life… My house, my family, my backyard, my power mower. Nothing would ever change; nothing new could ever be expected. It had to end, and it did. Now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and surprising things, and sometimes little wondrous things, spill out in me constantly, and I can count on nothing.

They struck some chord in me, and have echoed in my mind ever since seeing the movie. Similar thoughts appear throughout Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.

There’s a universal worry of becoming bored, shackled, or stalled. To battle the mundane, like Bob Arctor, people generate problems and excitement. Some have the insight to do extreme sports or anything intense or challenging, but separate. Others weave these emotional spikes to their everyday lives.

Without acknowledging this need, unintentional trouble or thrill seeking mixes into personal and professional affairs. There, common sense is overridden, and risk taking becomes needlessly damaging. It can be a hasty mistake with a long tail end, leading to stress and overload, to unmanageable strain.

But, hitting the so-called bottom can be freeing. Having fewer things, fewer commitments and fewer responsibilities, leaves us with more time and opportunities to engage in smarter and even more exciting activities. Knowing this, it is easy to combat the fear of losing money, material, and general stuff, simply by not hoarding them. Minimalism is an excellent approach, as it encourages us to prioritise and get rid of slack.

I try to observe when I entangle my need of excitement with ventures and people. I aim to let go of stuff instead of hoard it. I try to not become so placid as Bob Arctor and be more like a minimalist, like Tyler Durden


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