Recently at a Spoken Word Poetry Performance, I learned of a new form of poetry that was created called “Maximalist Poetry”– where as much as possible is said, whatever that comes to mind is performed in whatever way, however extreme. The idea, I suppose, is to speak one’s mind without bothering to sharpen the blunt edges nor perfect the nitty bitty details. And so tonight, as my mind fails to put my point across as perfectly as I would initially attempt to nor as precisely as I would usually ensure it to be; here’s my maximalist post on the dangerous question we ask.
There’s a dangerous question we ask. It’s silly. A silly dangerous question we ask when we try to get to know someone new or when trying to assess the kind of person someone is; while we attempt to decide how best to hold ourselves before a person or in the split second we try to think of the “answer that this person secretly wants from me”. When you first meet a young adult, “So, what do you do?” I read in a TIME Article that we create our own conclusions based off stereotypes about a person’ profession within the first couple of minutes of meeting a person. These conclusions then shape the interaction that follows in the next few minutes, or more. That’s silly.
Some time ago, I wrote on Post Script about the uncertainties of our decisions, about how we never really know, or never can be sure. Ever. This is because we are ever-changing. It’s cliched but true, and it would be foolish to think otherwise, or to believe that we can be sure. Because we can’t. How is it, then, that the stage in our life that we are at now can completely define the kind of person that we are? At 25, my profession will only be a fraction of the kind of person I am– the complete picture would require an understanding of my past, my hopes for the future and so much more about my present. If you meet me when I’m 25, don’t just ask me for my profession. Ask me about my favourite movies, songs; about what I love to do and who I am in love with, allow me to share with you the things that evoke the deepest of emotions from me.
To try to understand a person through this one small piece of information is dangerous— not only because of the above mentioned inaccuracy, but more because of the culture that we are encouraging. Society defines success as the monetary value of a person; in other words, his or her profession. We put a label on a person and define each other’s worth based on how much we can earn, or how much ‘meaningful contribution’ we can make to society. But there’s so much more. There are our thoughts, our opinions, perspectives, experiences– by ignoring all that, we subscribe to the idea that our sole purpose, the sole meaning of our existence, shall be the work that we do. This mindset is the reason for the many depression cases we get every year, the countless suicides that no one wants to talk about and the silly little thing that Asian families argue about. I wish it would stop. We have to realise this danger. It is time we believe in luck.
There is a constant debate over ‘fate or freewill’, the truth we have to accept is that there is both. They come in varying proportions every time but we have to acknowledge the looming fate that controls our circumstances, the situations that allow some things to happen and others not to. In believing in luck, something out of our control, we learn to turn to a less idealistic (maybe less beautiful) reality; one with more truth. We can stop allowing ourselves to believe that everyone is given absolutely equal opportunity and leave all the decisions that landed you in the position you are in, the profession we end up committing to is your fault because you chose. You know in some situations, you had no choice.
So next time maybe if it could be helped, perhaps you know, we could ask a different question.
Here’s to speaking my mind the way it speaks at 1123PM into the night: good night!