Saturday, January 15, 2011

In defense of angst

I've long maintained that there is beauty in pain that's unparalleled by the gloss of joy. Think about the great forms of creative expression - music, art, film-making...If not for true, deep, searing sorrow or pain or suffering, we wouldn't have several masterpieces.
For us lesser mortals not given to creative expressions at the masterpiece level, pain at the very least, acts as a wake-up call. A symptom that something needs fixing. An inner thermostat if you will. In fact, one of my favorite thinkers, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chick-sent-me-high-ee) conceptualized anxiety and boredom as opposite, undesirable ends of a spectrum in which the optimal point is what he called 'flow'...being completely involved in an experience and deriving immense satisfaction and enjoyment from it. The corollary is therefore, that anxiety is a signal that there is lack of equilibrium.
Recognizing this is needs to be done to restore equilibrium and bring back flow. From angst comes insight. From confusion will be born clarity. Passing through fire we emerge pure and slightly wiser than before.
The challenge therefore, is in moving ever onward towards greater insight, clarity and wisdom to keep us in a state of flow.


Blogger J said...

Love the way you've worded this piece. Beautiful! On second thoughts, you sound like one of those swamis or philosophical speakers who are great at this....ever considered publishing one of your thought provoking writings?

12:18 AM  
Blogger RTD2 said...

You're so cute Jyo...I was just thinking I've hit rock-bottom and am writing rambling philosophy and you pick me right back up :) Well, my boss is asking me to write a book, so maybe I'll make it a rambling philosophical one!

2:42 AM  

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