Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The power of the sense of realness

    (Art by: DuDu Sunny H.

Modern people are quite easily to grow older, part of the reasons might because that most of us will gradually lose the sense of ‘’realness’’, which allows us to fall into the trap of ‘’being hypocritical’’, as a result, adults are the synonyms of ‘’sophisticated creature’’.

If life is just about the body and brain survived in the jungle of civilization, then a reality-check might be enough to walk us through to approach the ‘’realness’’, yet the life is certainly much deeper than such ‘’survive’’.

In ancient society, particularly in the agricultural society, we human beings might have been in touch with Mother Nature in a more frequent way. Nature is absolutely something ‘’real’’, the more exposure to our Mother Nature, the more ‘’realness’’ we will be able to achieve. But in a modern society, such as industrial environment, we are surrounded by lots of ‘’artificial’’ things, we are no longer a kind of ‘’existence’’ in harmony with Mother Nature. For instance, our daily timetable --- In an ancient agricultural society, we might get up as the sun rises and sleep as the sun sets. Today, for most of us it could be hard to follow the rhythm of Mother Nature, and that’s why the sleep experts are so popular nowadays.

Keeping away from Mother Nature might get us lose the sense of ‘’realness’’, as we used to be the part of Nature, part of the ‘’realness’’.  We are fundamentally not the ones labelled by the ‘’society’’, we are basically the dust, the liquid, etc. If we take a look at the practice on ‘’Ash Wednesday’’, one of ancient Jewish traditions of penance and chiefly observed by Catholics – the pastor might apply the ashes on your forehead -- we will be touched by such saying, ‘’Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.’’.

But here, I’m not encouraging the culture of hermit or promoting any religion; I just want to clarify the importance of having that sense of ‘’realness’’.

Having the sense of ‘’realness’’ gives us power, and awakens us to feel the ‘’real life’’ --- not just a role on the stage of the society, or the ‘’social climber’’, or the ‘’walking dead’’. Those people in the crowd with strong heart and the strength, more or less, have that sense of ‘’realness’’.

Surely, to get in touch with Nature is not the only effective way to get the sense of ‘’realness’’, to play with kids is another helpful way to build up the ‘’realness’’. This might already be a cliché, yet it’s still widely accepted by many people, particularly creative people. It is said that Hayao Miyazaki sets up a child care centre next to his studio, and he might peep those babies for 15 minutes a day. He also feels so pleased with seeing those babies wrapped by the diaper are trying so hard to climb the little hillside (certainly not challenging for teenagers) near the child care centre.

If you have neither your own kids to play around nor the babies next to your door to peep, you can still expect to be inspired by watching anime. Those un-realistic BIG eyes will make you believe that anything is still possible so long as those protagonists are determined to change or save the world. This is the power of innocence.

To lose the contact with our inner kid, simply means we are far away from the ‘’innocence’’. Being innocent doesn’t mean that a person is ‘’stupid’’ or ‘’naïve’’, such ‘’innocence’’ also represents kind of ‘’realness’’, which is actually quite different, or opposite of the thing called ‘’reality’’. Such ‘’innocence’’ could be a spring to change the world…

Kids always speak their mind, and such frankness means the ‘’realness’’. In the short tale ‘’the Emperor’s New Clothes’’, When the Emperor wears his ‘’new suit’’ during the parade, everyone is praising that new outfit except one child cries out that ‘’the Emperor doesn’t wear anything at all”, and such tale has told us what the connection between the ‘’innocence’’ and ‘’realness’’ is. Unfortunately, it’s rare for adults to build up such connection, or some of us may have lost both of them.

Last year, I came across an online discussion about American Presidential Election, someone commented that there are some similarities between Trump and that candid child in the old tale ‘’the Emperor’s New Clothes’’.

That’s very interesting interpretation about Mr. Trump, and I believe that’s also part of the reasons why some supporters choose to stand by his side – People think he is ‘’original’’.  Let’s put political issue aside, when someone doesn’t want to be a “Mr. Nice Guy’’, the meaning of his behaviour, may have gone beyond the ‘’Anti-PC’’ culture.

In Lao Tzu‘s ‘’Tao Te Ching’’, his ‘’ideal character’’ is ‘’childlike’’ personality. He believes that the civilization may have its negative impact or side-effect on human nature, as such man-made culture has unavoidably destroyed the ‘’natural yet perfect structure’’ of the ‘’things’’.
In a very sophisticated, smooth ‘’social circle’’, people talk like the diplomat with sufficient rhetoric skill, but then, it’s impossible to find anything ‘’original’’.

To some extent, diamond in the rough is the best diamond. We human beings have been “over-processed” by ourselves. We need to return to our ‘’unrefined version’’.

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