Pages 14-16, edited
Alan Watts has this excellent talk about how life isn’t a journey, it’s more of a dance. In that same way, the universe isn’t going somewhere specific (as far as we know).
So think about it, when you're dancing, you're just dancing. And what disrupts dancing? Some sort of endpoint, an interruption such as Will Smith slapping you in the face, or some sort of self-judgment of “not doing it right.”
When you’re in the flow and just dancing, there's no goal unless you're fulfilling a specific routine but if you're grooving to some music (let's say Will Smith's acclaimed hit "Getting Jiggy with It" for the sake of this example) then you're just in it and doing your thing. Sure, you can set a goal but it can be a bit absurd and ruins the fun.
I think of life and the universe this way. Is the goal of life to get to death? Because if it is then any of us can do that quickly. We don’t have to do anything or any of this. I could've won the race to the end at 11 years old and had it be over with. I would've stopped dancing to the rhythm of existence.
I think in this same way I'm learning to let go of explanations or the need for an explanation all of the time. I asked "Why?" so much as a kid, as kids tend to do until someone would say "Because God" or "shut up and go keep yourself busy by watching Will Smith’s underrated hit, Wild Wild West."
But ironically, I never understood why I asked why so much at the time. Ironically I ask now, why did I need to know?
I think I was about 26 or so when I finally realized that my parents don't really know most of the things I wanted to know and started to see them as people just doing their best. I had a greater appreciation for them at that moment. I saw them as equals to just hang out with and ride the wave with, not authorities or prison guards to knowledge anymore. I was on my own.
Explanations make me feel a sense of control and I think I'm realizing that I don't always need to be in control. I suppose that's a form of faith even though I'm not religious in any traditional sense. I guess that shows that belief is different than faith, but I digress.
Sometimes asking why takes me out of the present of the experience. I did this all the time while watching movies. If I found myself scrutinizing the movie or asking why someone would even bother recreating dinosaurs from DNA locked in a piece of amber then the whole magic of the experience is ruined. And I’m not saying nothing should be scrutinized but there’s a level of scrutiny where I’m only ruining my own experience of something that could be great by just letting it unfold naturally.
Imagine yelling “You fucked up!” to a ballet dancer because her toes weren’t extended. That’s what I do in my head all the time.
Think of it this way…stress is the tension between two points both physically and conceptually. And sometimes asking why too much is like taking what you experience and saying that it should be somewhere else or something else. And I think this best applies to a lot of trivial scrutinies.
I suppose what I’m saying is that I now ask myself if I need to be asking why before I ask why. Does asking why at this moment benefit the moment? Or am I trying to be contrarian? Am I trying to sound smart? Is the answer something I’m going to learn from? Will the answer benefit the situation? What’s wrong with just enjoying the show?
I guess I’m learning to leave some questions alone and enjoy the natural magic of some moments a bit more.
So, as far as we know, there is no end to the universe, no intent or goal, it's simply floating, crashing, reacting, bubbling, shining, bursting, radiating, and expanding. There’s a lot of happening happening.
Sounds like dancing to me.
Writing this book feels like dancing, playing, moving, flowing, and expressing. Do I need a goal? Not really. We can accept a poem as lovely even if we don't get where it's going. We can appreciate the movement of the universe without knowing every detail, though that exploration is also a fun dance.
When I or someone starts dancing I don't wonder how this is going to end unless I’m not enjoying it.
What I’d like to ultimately say here is that perhaps we can stay like this for a while. Just you and I cracking dumb jokes and throwing another log on the fire whilst sipping slushies in cozy socks. I'll keep talking for as long as you keep reading because we don't have anywhere to be.
“The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance. Like music also, it is fulfilled in each moment of its course. You do not play a sonata in order to reach the final chord, and if the meaning of things were simply in ends, composers would write nothing but finales.” - Alan Watts