He's a nice enough
I thought. We're not
(actually "We're not
closeyet" may be a better way of saying that, only because
we're just not
around each other
often enough to be
yet based on the few occasions we've talked so far, I can tell there's
a potential for friendship and depth. "So, what do you
do?" he asked.
Now I've heard that
many, many times before (who hasn't?), often enough to know what it
really reaches for. Behind the
"What do you do?" (ie its translation if you will) is more
or less "What do you do for a living?" which really means
"What do you do to make enough money to
And that's just what's on the surface of it. It's not the
is there's something else in there ie there's another implied, unasked
which goes deeper than "What do you do for a living?". And it's the
I elected to respond to. It's true I could have responded to his
exactly as he asked it. But that would have kept us mired in the
humdrum which threatens to drown all of us in the deluge of trivial
chit-chat which surrounds
People "do" what they do, whatever it is. That much is clear. To be
sure, what we "do" we do to make a living. And for the most part, we
tell the truth about that. What we don't always tell the truth about,
is when we do it in order to avoid the experience of simply being
alive. It's poignant that the experience of being a human being,
is an experience we not only don't readily have access to, but also
don't let in. We seek to avoid it ie to shield ourselves from it.
So instead, I responded "What do I do? You mean what do I
do to avoid the experience of simply being alive?". That's the real
That's what's behind "What do you do?". And when the truth is told, the
answer to the
"What do you do to avoid the experience of being alive?" has morphed to
include what we do for a living, and what we do to make enough money to
Then it cuts through the pretense and goes much deeper
than that. Here's what risks making what we do for a living, and what
we do to make enough money to
inauthentic: it's that what we're thrown to do behind it
all, is to avoid the experience of being alive.
You see it on peoples' faces when we gather to socialize, speak,
exchange, and interact. It's a silent plea: "Do you know
what to do to avoid the experience of being alive?". "No. Do you?".
"No. Do you know?". "No. Do you?". "No. Do you know?".
"No. Do you?". "Do you?". "Do you?". It's rampant. And
it's everywhere. Really.
So I said to him "If you dig deep into what runs us, we have it that
the experience of simply being alive, could never be enough. No,
it's more than that. It's for most of us, we're certain
that for the experience of being alive to be enough, we'd be required
to add something on to it. But just for a moment, imagine
the experience of being alive, was enough - with nothing else added. If
the experience of simply being alive was enough, it would prompt us to
re-evaluate everything we do. It would transform what we
do for a living. It would transform what we do to make enough money to
And when we don't let that in, the experience of being alive is
seemingly unsatisfying. That being so (if we tell the truth
about it), we do most of what we "do" to avoid the experience of being
alive. It's worth considering this: can simply being alive be
enough? Well, can it? If (and that's the
big"if" right there) simply being alive was enough, it would
transform everything we do. Everything.".
The ordinary mired
business as usual
humdrum chit-chat of "What do you do?" was pierced - as if by a hot
a red balloon.
I looked over at him. I could tell he'd met my first measure: he wasn't
rolling his eyes. He'd remained inquisitively in the conversation. He
was interested. He was present. That being so, so was I.