Penyakit “Kesibukan”

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junglejourney700Kali ini ketika masih berkutat dengan kebingungan untuk memantaskan diri sebagai seorang eksistensialis, saya menemukan sebuah tulisan bagus dan sedikir beririsan dengan sebuah cerpen yang pernah saya buat namun belum saya sempat terbitkan (bukan tak ada waktu namun karena merasa belum puas).

Kurang lebih ceritanya saya lukiskan secara surealis, bercerita mengenai masa depan dimana manusia yang sibuk dengan kesibukannya bahkan terlalu sibuk untuk memikirkan bahwa mereka sibuk. Satu-satunya hiburan yang bisa melepaskan penat mereka hanyalah pertunjukan topeng monyet. Seluruh dunia didera penyakit kesibukan ini sampai mereka lupa caranya untuk senyum. Topeng monyet ajaib itu …. Ah lain kali akan saya terbitkan cerpen itu.hehe sekarang saya sampaikan tulisan dari Omid Safi, seorang kolumnis dan direktur Islamic Studies Center di Duke University. Mari kita simak dan berikan komentarnya jika kalian memiliki gundah gulana selepas membacanya.

 

The Disease of Being Busy

I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.”

Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: “I’m just so busy… got so much to do.”

The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed.

And it’s not just adults. When we moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, we were thrilled to be moving to a city with a great school system. We found a diverse neighborhood, filled with families. Everything felt good, felt right.

After we settled in, we went to one of the friendly neighbors, asking if their daughter and our daughter could get together and play. The mother, a really lovely person, reached for her phone and pulled out the calendar function. She scrolled… and scrolled… and scrolled. She finally said: “She has a 45-minute opening two and half weeks from now. The rest of the time it’s gymnastics, piano, and voice lessons. She’s just…. so busy.”

Horribly destructive habits start early, really early.

How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?

Somewhere we read, “The unexamined life is not worth living… for a human.” How are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human when we are so busy?

This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

Since the 1950s, we have had so many new technological innovations that we thought (or were promised) would make our lives easier, faster, simpler. Yet, we have no more “free” or leisurely time today than we did decades ago.

For some of us, the “privileged” ones, the lines between work and home have become blurred. We are on our devices. All. The. Freaking. Time.

Smart phones and laptops mean that there is no division between the office and home. When the kids are in bed, we are back online.

One of my own daily struggles is the avalanche of email. I often refer to it as my jihad against email. I am constantly buried under hundreds and hundreds of emails, and I have absolutely no idea how to make it stop. I’ve tried different techniques: only responding in the evenings, not responding over weekends, asking people to schedule more face-to-face time. They keep on coming, in volumes that are unfathomable: personal emails, business emails, hybrid emails. And people expect a response — right now. I, too, it turns out… am so busy.

The reality looks very different for others. For many, working two jobs in low-paying sectors is the only way to keep the family afloat. Twenty percent of our children are living in poverty, and too many of our parents are working minimum wage jobs just to put a roof over their head and something resembling food on the table. We are so busy.

The old models, including that of a nuclear family with one parent working outside the home (if it ever existed), have passed away for most of us. We now have a majority of families being single families, or where both parents are working outside the home. It is not working.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?

What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.

Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.

I teach at a university where many students pride themselves on the “study hard, party hard” lifestyle. This might be a reflection of many of our lifestyles and our busy-ness — that even our means of relaxation is itself a reflection of that same world of overstimulation. Our relaxation often takes the form of action-filled (yet mindless) films, or violent and face-paced sports.

I don’t have any magical solutions. All I know is that we are losing the ability to live a truly human life.

We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.

W. B. Yeats once wrote:

“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.”

How exactly are we supposed to examine the dark corners of our soul when we are so busy? How are we supposed to live the examined life?

I am always a prisoner of hope, but I wonder if we are willing to have the structural conversation necessary about how to do that, how to live like that. Somehow we need a different model of organizing our lives, our societies, our families, our communities.

I want my kids to be dirty, messy, even bored — learning to become human. I want us to have a kind of existence where we can pause, look each other in the eye, touch one another, and inquire together: Here is how my heart is doing? I am taking the time to reflect on my own existence; I am in touch enough with my own heart and soul to know how I fare, and I know how to express the state of my heart.

How is the state of your heart today?

Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, “I am just so busy,” we can follow up by saying, “I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.”

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Layar-layar

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Kita yang melayang setiap hari dalam layar-layar
adalah kita yang dianggap berada
Simbol berhamburan
menguntit tiap detik di tiap celah kedip mata

Sejatinya kita yang sejati bukan kita yang anggap ada di layar-layar
ketika layar mati maka layar sukma melayang
kehilangan nyawanya lalu kembali lagi ketika layar itu dihidupkan kembali
lalu kita mengembara kembali mencari diri yang entah di mana
apakah di absurditasnya rutinitas yang memaksa kita menentukan waktu santai
atau pada waktu santai yang memaksa kita menemukan kesibukan

Oh bintang yang sama di tiap malam yang berbeda
Kini kau kekurangan orang yang melamun menatapmu.

Void-We-Deserve1 41

Pictures by textsfromyourexistentialis.tumblr.com

Hmmmm…

Halo tuhan,

Bolehkah aku memesan sesuatu?

Aku pesan hujan boleh?

Oh mungkin, aku langsung memesan saja kepada awan ya?

Biar birokrasinya lebih cepat

Tapi aku sangat sangat percaya bahwa bicara padamu adalah bicara pada semua makhlukmu juga

Atau mungkin sesekali aku ingin berbicara kepada awan secara langsung

Kadang aku ingin tahu juga bentuknya seperti apa

Hai Pak Awan,

Barusan saya dari tuhan, saya ingin pesan sesuatu boleh?

Saya ingin pesan hujan dan gerimisnya sekalian

Oh ya jangan lupa petirnya yang banyak dan anginnya sedikit saja

Untuk apa? Ya untuk pesan saja

Sudah lama saya mendapatkan hujan tanpa saya pesan, harapkan

Biar kali ini aku lebih bisa berterima kasih

Oh ya tolong pesanannya diantar pukul 16.00 sore tepat ya

Harus tepat, kalau tidak tepat nanti bahaya, nanti yang saya persiapkan jadi hancur

Oh ya nanti alamatnya saya kirimkan, beserta titik koordinatnya sekalian

Sudah ya, terima kasih

Hai kamu,

Yang duduk dengan kedua kaki dirapatkan dan jempol kakimu yang turun naik

Oh ya jangan buru-buru pergi, kita nikmati siang hari ini

Tidak apa-apa biar saya yang bilang orang tuamu agar mereka bisa percaya

Bagaimana saya bisa dipercaya menjaga kamu, sedangkan mereka saja tak pernah melepasmu

Lagian hari ini, sore ini akan hujan.

Sebentar lagi pada pukul 16.00 tepat

Ya tepat, aku bisa jamin itu.

Kau mau apa? Kopi, teh, susu, air putih? Biar aku ambilkan

Bagaimana bisa aku tahu hari ini akan hujan?

Aku tidak tahu, aku memintanya

Ya ngawur memang, tadi pagi aku langsung menemui awan untuk meminta hujan

Tidak percaya? Lihat saja buktinya nanti, pukul 4 tepat hujan akan turus dengan deras serta petir yang menggelegar terus menerus, oh ya namun anginnya tidak terlalu besar

————————- Pukul 16.02, hujan turun ———————-

Tuh lihat benar kan? Langit cengeng mulai datang

Ya hanya lewat 2 menit, itu wajarlah lagian saya memintanya juga gratis

Ya ampun, ia aku mengerti bahwa sekarang musim penghujan, jadi hujan sudah pasti akan turun

Tapi kan susah untuk meminta hujan untuk turun jam 4 pas.

Saya kira kebetulan tidak akan sehebat ini.

Ya memang ada kebetulan yang lebih hebat, tapi untuk seseorang yang telah meramalkannya dari 2 jam yang lalu itu tentu sesuatu yang ajaib bukan.

Sumpah! Aku bukan peramal, aku ini peminta.

Aku tidak meramalkan atau memprediksi sesuatu, aku memintanya. Hujan ini turun khusus untukku.

Alasan? Duh harus ya ada alas an? Alasanku ya hanya karena kepingin saja.

Memang susah mencari alas an jika yang kita lakukan benar-benar ikhlas.

Tapi sebenarnya ada satu alas an lain?

Aku sebenarnya berani mengatakannya dan tidak malu, aku justru takut kamu yang mendengarkannya akan malu mendengarkannya.

Tidak apa-apa? Kalau kamu malu kamu tanggung sendiri ya?

Oke, siap?

Aku ingin menahanmu di sini,

Ya, air mukamu yang selalu berubah ketakutan tiap hujan deras turun selalu kusukai

Matamu yang memandang hujan sambil menggigit ujung bibirmu selalu ku ingat

Pembicaraan kita yang selalu tambah mengasyikkan ketika turun hujan karena kamu ingin mengalihkan ketakutanmu akan hujan itu membuatku kesengsem

Dan itu membuatku bahagia

Aku ingin lagi, lagi, dan lagi melihat itu.

Dan hanya hujan yang membuatmu bisa seperti itu

Biar hujan menahanmu di sini sementara,

Biar kunikmati hal-hal tadi, sebelum hujan reda

Ya bahagiaku sederhana dan cukup aneh

Dan maaf, untuk selanjutnya aku akan memesan kembali hujan, mungkin kali ini

Akan lebih panjang.

Jorge Luis Borges, “Sepakbola begitu populer sebab kebodohan itu populer pula”

Saya akan mengiyakan: saya adalah salah satu orang yang dibodohi oleh antuisasme pesta sepakbola setiap empat tahun, tergoda oleh arak-arakan berwarna-warni, udara kosmpolitan, nostalgia dengan permainan yang saya mainkan ketika kecil dulu, dan kebanggaan sentimentil yang menjijikan/mengganggu di lingkungan saya. saya tidak kehilangan kemampuan kritis saya, tapi saya tidak bisa menolong apa-apa. Kecintaan akan Piala Dunia sambil mengakui korupsinya, memperdalam kemiskinan dan eksploitasi, dan berbagai isu sosial politik yang serius lain yang mengelilinginya. Dan sebagai seorang American, hal yang cukup mudah untuk menjaga jarak antara olaharaga itu sendiri dengan kefanatikan Jingoistic dan kekerasan -Hooliganism sentimentil- yang selalu hadir dalam setiap permainan di bagian manapun di dunia.

Di Argentina, layaknya negara penggila sepakbola lainnya dengan jurang sosial yang dalam, kejahatan antar geng adalah bagian yang sering terjadi dalam sepakbola. Borges menemukan hal ini mustahil untuk dipisahkan dari budaya supporter sepakbola, sekali waktu dideklarasikan, “Sepakbola begitu populer karena kebodohan populer pula”. Seperti yang Shaj Mathew tulis dalam The New Republic, penulis mengasosiasikan maniaknya masyarakat sepakbola dengan semangat massa fasisme atau nasionalisme dogmatis. “Nasionalisme”, ia menulis “hanya memungkinkan oleh afirmasi, dan setiap doktrin menghilangkan keraguan, negasi, dan bentuk fanatisme juga kebodohan”. Seperti yang Mathew kemukakan, timnas sepakbola dan bintangnya seringkali menjadi alat otoriter dari rezim yang “mengambil keuntungan dari obligasi yang penggemar bagi dengan tim nasional mereka untuk menggalang dukungan populer [….] Ini adalah apa Borges ditakuti dan dibenci–tentang olahraga.”

 

There is certainly a sense in which Borges’ hatred of soccer is also indicative of his well-known cultural elitism (despite his romanticizing of lower-class gaucho life and the once-demimonde tango). Outside of the hugely expensive World Cup, the class dynamics of soccer fandom in most every country but the U.S. are fairly uncomplicated. New Republic editor Foer summed it up succinctly in How Soccer Explains the World: “In every other part of the world, soccer’s sociology varies little: it is the province of the working class.” (The inversion of this soccer class divide in the U.S., Foer writes, explains Americans’ disdain for the game in general and for elitist soccer dilettantes in particular, though those attitudes are rapidly changing). If Borges had been a North, rather than South, American, I imagine he would have had similar things to say about the NFL, NBA, NHL, or NASCAR.

Nonetheless, being Jorge Luis Borges, the writer did not simply lodge cranky complaints, however politically astute, about the game. He wrote a speculative story about it with his close friend and sometime writing partner Adolfo Bioy Casares. In “Esse Est Percipi” (“to be is to be perceived”), we learn that soccer has “ceased to be a sport and entered the realm of spectacle,” writes Mathews: “representation of sport has replaced actual sport.” The physical stadiums crumble, while the games are performed by “a single man in a booth or by actors in jerseys before the TV cameras.” An easily duped populace follows “nonexistent games on TV and the radio without questioning a thing.”

The story effectively illustrates Borges’ critique of soccer as an intrinsic part of a mass culture that, Mathews says, “leaves itself open to demagoguery and manipulation.” Borges’ own snobberies aside, his resolute suspicion of mass media spectacle and the coopting of popular culture by political forces seems to me still, as it was in his day, a healthy attitude. You can read the full story here, and an excellent critical essay on Borges’ political philosophy here.