The Destructive Frivolity Of The Incurably Serious


I'm still dealing with Hurricane Dorian, but for me it's mostly an inconvenience, not a life-changing or -ending event. (Give to Doctors Without Borders and other rescue organizations; the Grand Bahamas have to essentially rebuild from nothing now.) Aside from my day job, I've been working on some long-overdue reviews for Ganriki, notes towards the next draft of Fall Of The Hammer, and various other things. And in the middle of all of it I scribbled down this sentence: "The most destructive frivolity of all comes only from the incurably serious."

My original line of thought around this stemmed from something I've written about before — the way things like video games or SF or comics seem childish to people who do infinitely more childish things in their own lives. Anyone who thinks you can't be taken seriously is only worried they can't be taken seriously. (We also don't really have any good role models left for adulthood in this culture, which is another story.)

But this line mainly refers to people of a generally humorless, un-self-inquisitive quality, regardless of what else is going on around them in the culture at the time. When people who aren't in the habit of playing, of not taking themselves seriously as a matter of practice, take things seriously, the results are usually grim mediocrity or complete disaster. And I am not talking about the sort of "play" offered by oafs like Boris Johnson, who can't help but take himself seriously, and thus condemn England to being frog-marched off the cliffs of Dover for the sake of an I-told-you-so. No one would any soul in their soul would do that. Still, I would bet my next mortgage payment Boris Johnson doesn't think of himself as some horrible humorless stodge. One hallmark of truly terrible people is they neither know nor care how truly terrible they are. (The ones who do know how terrible they are, who revel in it, are a separate subspecies.)

A while back I came up with the phrase: "I try to take myself just seriously enough to not take myself seriously at all." Emphasis on the try.


Tags: psychology  sociology 


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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2019/09/04 17:00.

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