Sunday, November 6, 2011

Of Being Perceived as 'Complicated' and The Importance of Being Earnest

Oscar Wilde once wrote, "I could deny it if I liked. I could deny anything if I liked" (Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 2). And indeed, the grand old wise man that Mr.Wilde is, he could. And for that matter, you and me, or anybody else. And as I've only very recently been taught, rather painfully I must acknowledge, people do; even so when you're convinced they won't ever. But that is not the subject of my essay- not tonight at least. No. Tonight, I want to look back at my own experiences and find out, if at all, what exactly is so intense(and complicated, as someone apparently has recently termed me in a fit of denial) about being earnest.

Now, I know I'm running extremely high risks of appearing narcissistic in quoting myself, but one thing I've often said about myself in talking to another very earnest (sorry S, since the world seems to take that word as less than a compliment) soul, is that I am nothing if not earnest. And I am... to the very core. That is one piece of characteristics I pride in myself, if I may say so myself. But, how does one be earnest without being honest to one's self? And here I am afraid, is where it gets a wee bit messy. When you are really, truly honest to yourself and your emotions, there is bound to be some amount of contradictions and paradoxes. Emotions are not logical, rather spontaneous. And spontaneity isn't exactly orderly, is it? So, you are bound to make a few errors of judgement, take a few steps overwhelmingly and act desperate. And people will frown, make no mistake about that. But is it a bad thing at all? Does it deserve being marginalized and abandoned and ignored, by one's closest and dearest? Well, I suppose it depends. Sometimes complicated, complex and deep can mean someone thinks things through, but says little and only when they feel certain of its value. That's a good thing because it inherently pushes quality over quantity of speech. On the other hand, thinking too much, no matter how deep, often ends up as unproductive overanalysis or excessive commentary on every thought. This can be okay, but it can yield less results for the undue stress it can cause the thinker, and the people around them. OCD is a good example of a type of uncontrollable overthinking that often goes in circles and can be less effective than 'underthinking' in many cases.

It is also a justifiable assumption that feelings can be suppressed by extreme adherence to logical thought. This seems like it wouldn't be a bad thing (logic is after all, a basic way to derive structure from the sensory world), but the human mind often creates its own false logic with too much thought, so what should be sequential thoughts with a valid result often becomes false reasoning to an invalid conclusion. Gut feelings and emotions are an important part of decision making because they come from basic instincts that are there for a reason (survival, reproduction, quick action in emergencies, and so on). Overthinking actions can dull a person's common sense and hurt social productivity which is an important part of life.

Speaking from a personal viewpoint, I prefer to talk to people who at least try to dive past the basics of any given topic, but personality complexity and 'deepness' don't always result in an amiable personality or the ability to be outwardly deep. The smartest people may not even be able to convey their thoughts without overstating them, and eventually contradicting themselves or understating them by not saying where the results came from. I guess what I'm saying is that complexity and deepness are only a good thing when combined with a personality that can convey those aspects properly. Unfortunately, more often than not, they end up being a social blockade because good communication is not a prerequisite for intelligence, wisdom, complexity, and depth.

Now, please don't get me wrong. I am not tirading against anyone. Nor am I acting in self defense. I am simply trying to think of a reason, as to why after nearly a decade of being the closest of persons would one of them suddenly doubt the other's very integrity and motifs? So far as to wonder out aloud whether or not the other one is at all harmless? I mean, having been through as much as two persons have been through, I somehow find it very unsettling that one of the persons concerned could so easily doubt the other's very soul. Is it really possible, that someone, having once made you the very matter of her affection, could all of sudden begin to wonder whether you are capable of sabotaging her life? Yes, when you lose someone close to your heart it shakes you, to the very core of your existence. Some people kill themselves, some cry and get over, some shrug and move on, and still others like me continue to love the one who is long gone. And an experience as intense as that leaves its mark. You can't help but show signs of weakness, at least at some bleak moments of your life. The fact that for some of us those moments come more often than with others notwithstanding, it is by no means a sign that our weakness is a judgement directed at the other one. If I drink and can't stop crying, it means I love someone helplessly. To even be capable of thinking that I drink and cry to blame the object of my affection of pushing me towards annihilation is something that is at once abhorrent and abominable to me. A blasphemy, if you will. But when that thought occurs to the very person you pine over, is nothing less than a bullet through the heart. A murderous event so far as the human heart and humane faith is concerned. God! I am weak, yes! As are all who drink to get through bad days. But to be capable of so much pessimism... is 'weak' a strong enough epithet to describe that?

But what do I know? Right? Someone very close to my being, recently wrote in a mail to me, describing himself and me as being the kind of people who would rather die than deny, if the denial would so much as cause someone close to us a blush. Apparently, not a quality that is being held in high regards these days. But it is not universal approval I am after. To slightly re-create Shakespeare's famous lines, "I am here to bury my weakness. Not praise it." Times change, people change... and things may look different tomorrow. But I just felt it was worth re-thinking our convictions once in a while. It is surprising just how far people will go, how much they'll turn their backs on just to win public approval. Just to fit in, and be tagged 'good boys and good girls'. What I do wonder is, just how far is being 'normal' and 'acceptable' worthwhile, if you have to lie to yourself? Is it still worth the hype, if you have to deny what you at your most private moments consider to be not 'unfair'? I will never know. So let me close this with another quote by Mr.Wilde:

"Gwendolen - Cecily - it is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind."

~~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 2~~

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