Kokay, The Manila Reader
“I meant,” said Ipslore bitterly, “what is there in the world that truly makes living worthwhile?”
Death thought about it.
CATS, he said eventually. CATS ARE NICE.
– Sourcery, Terry Pratchett
Some cats are definitely not nice. So let’s not go there. But what really makes living truly worthwhile if you think about it? Some people don’t ask it, for fear of getting answers. Some people invalidate the question entirely by offering a religious explanation which goes like this:
Life is a gift from god. All we need to think about is how to be good and how to make this life a glory to god. You don’t need to worry about making it worthwhile because if you think like that, then just about anything will – speed racing to death, partying all night, watching the sunset everyday (which will do damage to the eyes), and eating ice cream all the time, could just about turn you into a hedonist in no time. Life must have a purpose, or something otherwise, what’s the point?
Alan Watts, one of the more interesting philosophers of recent decades wrote the issue off by providing a different perspective. He asked,
What use is the universe? What is the practical application of a million galaxies?…What for instance is the use of playing music? If you play music to make money, to outdo some other artist, to be a person of culture, or to improve your mind. You are not really playing- for your mind is not really in the music.”
-from The Book (pub. 1996)
Most days, I think Watts’ words make more sense.
But I don’t mean to be philosophical or sentimental, really. It is unbecoming to introduce yourself as a “philosopher”. You might as well introduce yourself as a “reader”. It’s not a job description that could make you look friendly. But there you go. I guess I’ve just summed up what I am most days. A reader and not enough friendly but just about nice with the right amount of curious.
Sometimes, I do satisfy myself by asking a simpler questions. What would I rather do now? Make a cup coffee and just sit down and get on with reading and be nicer. Maybe share my thoughts about books to other readers, or fantasize about meeting my favorite authors. And if life be more generous, find friends among people who likes and thinks the same things as I do, someone who asks the same questions.
The Manila Reader is nothing more than a hope as it is- to gain deeper appreciation on the question of what makes life worthwhile, at least for this reader.
Reading, I always thought, reading’s nice.
Kokay, The Manila Reader is a writer/producer for television. She doesn’t have the answers.