Return to Innocence

Last week during class I “threatened” to make a playlist of boyband songs and create a silly sequence so we can all forget for a moment to be so damn grown up. Because sometimes — and very often these days — grownups don’t display much more maturity than bratty two year olds fighting and screaming and whining over made up problems.

It was supposed to be a joke but I just couldn’t resist pulling it off yesterday. The more serious the world gets, the more seriously will I try to lighten up my own life and hopefully inspire others to do the same. Why? Because, as Albert Camus said: “Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.” Which means, every time we grownups throw tantrums, it’s actually an unconscious wish to be free of all the opinions, judgments and the harsh right-and-wrongs we impose on ourselves and others, keeping us so far from the essence of being that we have no idea what in the world essence of being even means.

Can you remember how you felt before your good opinions were formed? Before you were so conditioned by the state of mass unconsciousness and fear? If you can’t remember, maybe imagine how it would feel to be so free of all, or at least most, of the judgments you hold about yourself, other people and the world. Oh, I can hear your response already: “But who would I be without all my opinions and judgments?!” You worry you would somehow spontaneously combust, but I promise you that whatever vanishes, will not be you but all the things you mistake yourself to be.

Once freed from the things you are not and never were — all the things that ate up most of your energy day by day — you’ll find yourself back in your natural state of innocence. You’ll suddenly look at the same world with completely new eyes. And that’s what we all are yearning for, whether we realize it or not: to be able to see beauty and goodness and grace when we open our eyes.

To return to innocence doesn’t mean to walk through life brainless or passive or stupidly naive. And it doesn’t mean to act childish either. It simply means toning down our familiar adult attitude of seeing the world as evil and as a problem. How can children (before they get fully conditioned, that is) get so excited and be completely filled with joy over the simplest of things? And how come as adults, we demand that the world be as we need it to be before we can put a smile on our face, giggle, sing and be silly and happy for no reason?

Maybe reaching maturity, or fully growing up, means coming back to our original state of innocence. We’ve been walking and running and elbowing one another on the way to the imaginary finish line, not realizing we’ve been heading in the wrong direction. Rather than accumulating more mind knowledge, let some of that cerebral stuff just go by shifting your awareness from the head to the heart. Innocence lives in the heart.

And what does that have to do with boybands?! Not much. Except boybands are just cute. Not the cool kind of cute, but the innocent kind of cute; that’s the idea, at least. I wonder whether most of us want to throw up when we hear boybands sing because we’d do anything to push away that pre-adult innocence because we’re all grown up and don’t have time for cute and silly things anymore. And how’s that serious adult attitude working for us?

“A man of reason? A disinterested philosopher? I’d rather be a puppy wagging its tail.” Thank you, Marty Rubin; perfectly said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *