Originally posted on Facebook on January 4, 2011:
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
~ Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)
A FEW months back, I read one of many of Mr. Richards’ (AKA Jaime’s) columns that was appropriately and very amusingly titled, Wasting Time, in which he describes a valuable lesson on time management, and more specifically, time that is spent in doing productive and meaningful things, and learning new and valuable ideas and values which can propel the education of the said average high school or college student many times forward intellectually and spiritually.
In other words, on a simpler understanding, it is better to immerse oneself on learning about how the real world really works (the “real world” meaning the world outside of a school) and discovering a multitude of people who have found ways to not only survive in the real world just to get by and to merely “exist”, but really to LIVE for a change, and if you are asking, yes, there is a HUGE difference between these two words.
Look up the words “exist” and “live” in any modern-day American English language dictionary, and you might find striking similarities between the denotations of these two words and how closely related they might appear to be. For example, in the Webster’s New World Dictionary (Third College Edition), the very first definition for the word “live” says this: to be alive; have life. Now compare this with the very first definition of the word “exist”: to have reality or actual being; be.
While the definitions of the word “exist” and “live” at this point seem to have been swapped, another closer look at the other entries reveals a much different perspective on these mere words. So let’s have a look: the third defintion of the word “exist” says to continue being; live, while the fourth definition of the word “live” says to enjoy a full and varied life.
So there’s my point! While a mere existence on this planet Earth means that you are physically alive, it may not necessarily mean that you are emotionally, mentally, and spiritually alive. In other words, your physical body’s alive and functioning properly, but the heart is cold, the mind is a blank slate or has been dumbed down from years of watching ridiculously mindless television or pointless YouTube videos, and the soul is dead. I ask you, “Is this what being human really means? To just live a plain and simple life wasting away every precious moment watching some person complain that some food tastes like crap at some kind of restaurant, as Mr. Richards points out with the ‘Man Angry at Subway’ videos that circulate around YouTube?”
I mean, don’t get me wrong here. I’ve seen plenty of those kinds of videos all over YouTube before, but after watching some video with that kind of content involved countless times, it actually starts to lose a lot of meaning and the jokes aren’t even hilarious to laugh at anymore. In some cases, those videos start to feel like they’re sort of a rude, tempting annoyance just waiting to lure you in just so you can see some guy acting in a very stupid manner. At that point, it starts to get very pointless and sadly, I’d hate this to say this, but YouTube is constantly filled with this kind of stuff, a visual junk food appetizer if you will.
But on the other hand, I’ve also gone on YouTube to discover lots of intuitive and intellectual videos that stimulate the mind, soften and warm the coldest, bitterest, and saddest heart and recharge the soul, like those TED talks for example:
Now those talks are really what I’m talking about (sometimes even in a literal sense). These kind of videos are truly thought-provoking and the speakers themselves encourage their audience to think not just with their logic-filled brains, but also to think and act on their hearts, which brings to mind a song like True to Your Heart that was featured on Disney’s Mulan, or even Mariah Carey’s Hero, respectively.
So why tie this “existing vs. living” differentiation with the Immerse Lesson? The answer is actually even simpler than you might think. The two are interconnected.
The real point of the “Immerse Lesson” then, is this: If you choose to immerse yourself with the best thought-provoking and creative stuff around, you might be inspired within your own soul to do something similar, to help change the world because of this kind of ideal (I’m pretty sure no one can blame you for these mere ideals, but if someone does, then they need to relearn this vital lesson). These people would really need to, for they would need to believe again that ideas aren’t just simple ideas, but things that can motivate people to really change the world.
I believe in this lesson very strongly, but how about you?
I just hope you guys do too.
So go be immersed in something thought-provoking, something philosophical, and stop merely existing here. The only way to start LIVING is through total immersion of mind, body and spirit. Now, this is all I really have to say. Take care guys and thanks! 😀
This is my New Year’s resolution for 2011: the Immerse Lesson.
~ A Fellow Columnist, Josh Chen.
Just a reminder for everyone to read Mr. Richards’ column! 😀