A fun and deep idea I got from Nietzsche— be like a child, and take your play very seriously.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Take Your Play Very Seriously
1. Based on a true story
Imagine and consider, a child focused on playing. He is sitting down, playing with LEGO bricks, insanely focused on making his masterpiece. He is enraptured. He focuses for hours. He is only two or three years old, yet hunger doesn’t beckon him. His mother is worried about him, but allows him to “play on”.
This child is Eric.
A little older, this child (now in the fourth grade, around 11 years old) is focused on his drawing. He pens in with his gel ink … all the intricate details of his robot. Every line stroke is precise, and considered.
He takes his “play” or his curiosity very seriously. He gets very angry and furious when anyone disturbs his focus, or his state of “flow”. He is in the zone.
2. The purpose of your life is to make art!
As of now, my philosophy is this:
The focus of your life is to be an artist and make art!
Not an artist with a capital “A”. Every child is born an artist. And what is an artist? An individual who has imagination, a sense of play and fun, and wants to create images in his mind’s eye… and put it into the real world, whether that be through movement, pictures, drawings, sounds, music, etc. Anything and everything we create is art.
3. Your free time is limited / Memento Mori
Now, many of us have to make a living. We gotta eat, pay rent, pay taxes, etc. Yet… once we have enough money for the basics, I say fuck wasting money on stupid “status symbol” items and luxury goods. I say, let us take our free time very seriously. Let us guard our free time with our lives. Say NO to superfluous social meetings, or using that time to passively tranquillize yourself with mindless media.
I say…use that free time to make art. And take your art and play… very seriously.
4. Your passion doesn’t need to earn you money
Don’t be like John Stuart Mill (most of English and American mentality of “utilitarianism”— that all human actions must have a “practical purpose”) and think that the purpose of human life is to produce widgets, make money, and improve “living conditions” for the maximum amount of people possible.
No— see the purpose of your life as the opportunity to make great art. If not great art, the chance for you to play, explore your artistic interests, and like a child,.. take your play very seriously.
5. What is ERIC doing?
Nowadays, I’m taking my play very seriously. For me, I consider reading as fun and playing. I read random stuff that I find interesting, yet might not have any short-term “practical” gains. This includes Greek Mythology, books on Chaos theory, poetry and philosophy.
My friend Alexander Amy has introduced me to “Differential Geometry” and I’m using my iPad to sketch and draw, and trade some of the diagrams and images… yes, for fun!
I don’t like using the term “work” anymore… I prefer “play”. Yet, I take my “playing” seriously. I disconnect from the internet, drink lots of light-roast coffee, and focus on my pictures, reading, research, or drawing. To me, it is insanely important to me. Ultimately, the two most important things in my life include my work and my loved ones. Nothing else.
6. Life is a child at the beach, playing, and building sandcastles
So friend, take your play seriously. Guard your free time like it were golden bars. You are born with only 100 golden bars, would you give away any of your gold to anybody? Each golden bar is a symbol of 1 year of your life (assuming we can live to be 100 years old).
Your time, focus, energy, and attention are your most valuable assets. Never trade it for anything else.
And don’t forget, PLAY! Have fun! Explore! Follow whatever random stuff interests you, and don’t think you gotta make money from it. Follow your passions, and let nobody judge you but yourself.
Philosophy: love of wisdom.
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