Facebook is a strange thing for me. To date it’s the closest thing to actual “social networking” I’ve attempted, but I’ve used it primarily to maintain strands of various social cobwebs which should have been swept away by the feather duster of time long ago. Sure, there a few recent updates; co-workers, friends of friends, etc. But for the larger part it’s people who have made cameos in my past and, if nature had run its course without this infernal technology getting in the way, I’d have never seen again. My Friends list is populated mostly by people whose names I remember. Not necessarily people who were influential in my life, or people who are potentially valuable in a professional sense, or even actual friends. It’s mostly just people whom I’ve stumbled across late at night mining my friends’ Friends lists and going, “Oh, I recognize that name from somewhere. Send a Friend Request, maybe they will also recognize my name!” And then, a day or two later, the Request is accepted, and we become online friends in the same sense which we were once offline friends. That is, our profile pictures notice one another from across the room, smile awkward acknowledgement, and then look away nervously hoping we won’t be forced to talk with one another.
I’ve got people on that list whom I haven’t said (or typed) a single word to in over 20 years. Why?
This isn’t about that, though I expect I’ll roll back around to it at some point. This post is about one very special Facebook friend one who stands out as especially noticeable; we’ll call her Jane. See, every day Jane fills my news feed with somewhere in the range of 5-10 “Inspirational” quotes plastered on scenic back grounds, or old-timey cardstock. Some of them are so… “Inspirational” they actually prompt a response. Seeing them all, though, got me to thinking. If I were to compile all of these single sentence nuggets of sassy wisdom; would they make any sense in a larger context? Could one construct a cohesive and coherent philosophy from them? Or do these snippets rely entirely on their complete lack of context in order to be “Inspirational?”
Are the folks who are doling out these magical one-liners actually trying to say anything? Or are they just casting a net of generality in hopes of entangling a few more impressionable minds? And so, in the name of science(?) I aim to do just that. For the next few days I will be pulling the first five Inspirations posted by this one specific user and posting them here. I will spend a moment or more examining them, dissecting them, and finally, I will take my chosen tenets and attempt to create some semblance of life philosophy from them. And so, without further ado; let us begin the construction of:
The Philosophy of Jane: Memespiration
Tenets for Monday: July 13th, 2015
- You can choose to life in the front row, or the third row…
Interpretation: This seems simple enough. You’re either a leader, or a follower. Or, you can chose to get up close and personal with life, or you can be more of a spectator. Either way, the essential message here is that you have a choice; you have the freedom to make your life as boring or as exciting as you desire. So far, so good.
- Life is full of surprises. You never know who you are going to meet that will change your life forever.
Interpretation: Again, pretty straight forward. Life is unpredictable. But more so, people, too, can be more than they appear. That’s what I’m getting here. The ambiguity though is troubling and, when recognized, gives this particular tenet an ominous vibe. See, there is more than one way to change a life; and some are not so good. Ultimately, be wary of humans. That’s the take away here; you never know what you’re going to get.
- None of us know what the future holds. So let us live fully, be kind and love while we can.
Interpretation: Not so different from Number 2; a point worth hammering home. You never know what tomorrow holds. So, I guess make the most of now and be nice just because? I’m guessing the idea here is that as long as everyone is living fully and loving while they can we could worry less about the unpredictable nature of people? Is that it? I’m not certain. These are the kinds of quotes that lose me. We are given instruction without reason. What if living life fully doesn’t involve kindness? How does one reconcile?
- Trust the vibes you get, energy doesn’t lie.
Interpretation: In the context of numbers 2 and 3… Trust nobody. This is getting ugly.
- Everybody has the power to make someone else happy. Some do it by entering the room, while some do it by leaving.
Interpretation: Getting a little more overt in our generally distrustful approach to life here. Everyone has the power to make someone else happy. A pleasant enough thought; there are people whom you’re always glad to see, people who always make you smile. But then there’s the other side of that coin, those folks whose very presence robs a room of glee. Those who trail despair in their wake and corrupt the very soil upon witch they walk. Happiness can only be found once they’ve gone.
Today’s lesson: Life is indeed unpredictable and you can choose how to approach that uncertainty. You can attack life, guns blazing, making the most of every moment and loving every minute of it; but beware, you might not be the only person rolling high on life and if you’re not careful you just might get in some else’s way. Be wary of everyone; trust your gut and that tingling sensation down your spine to tell you whether to hop on that party bus, or be thankful when the brake lights fade in the distance.