Yesterday, I stumbled upon this blog created by a fellow Beatlemaniac who loves to dig deeper into the lives of the Fab Four. Inevitably, I got lost in the world of the four lads again.
While checking out that blog, I saw photos of John Lennon with this caption: “Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” As you know, this lyrics is from the classic Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever. Wave after wave of emotions flooded over me when I reached this part. I’m sentimental like that. Poor me.
“Ignorance is bliss” – a phrase coined by Thomas Gray in his Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton
This phrase has always bothered me. Back in college, I envied people who were clueless about the world. And by this, I mean those people who do not give a damn about anything. Most of my classmates back then only cared about meeting the course requirements, graduating on time, finding a steady job, and building a family so they could live and die happy.
These people don’t give a fuck about the pollution, the corruption in the country, the ongoing wars abroad, the mediocrity of the education they were receiving, the sexism happening every day, etcetera, etcetera. They do not read great books. They do not care if history gets repeated. They do not care who wins the election. They do not watch meaningful documentaries and films. They are not bothered with the bigotry of people. They are ignorant of the bullshit surrounding them. They are not bothered with the senselessness and stupidity of it all. They are stupid. They are normal. They are happy.
Now that I am already working and have seen more of life, I began giving them the benefit of the doubt. I realized that maybe, just maybe, there’s more to these people than meets the eye. What if they were mindful of the bullshit surrounding them but they just choose not to think about them? What if instead of bitching about skimpy things, they just choose to be…happy? What if ignorance is bliss, but there are people who are resilient enough to still be happy despite being aware of all the bullshit in the world?
“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” – Ernest Hemingway
But this quote from Ernest Hemingway suggests otherwise. Perhaps I am too young or too dumb or…well, too ignorant, but I can’t name an intelligent person who was or is happy with being intelligent. The writers that I look up to have a history of being lonely or depressed. Charles Bukowski, Mark Twain, J.K. Rowling, John Green, F. Scott Fitzgerald–you name it. Even the geniuses Albert Einstein and Ernest Hemingway weren’t happy with being…genius.
And even if you enlighten me with an intelligent person who is/was happy, there’s no use. It is, after all, a rare thing.
Tell me, how can you be happy when you are aware that the world is full of bullshit? How can you ignore sexism when there are fuckfaces who catcall you on the streets? Where is the peace of mind when you know there are wars going on? How can you be satisfied with mediocrity? How can you sleep peacefully at night knowing there are terror attacks happening in other countries?
“Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.” – The Beatles
Strawberry Fields Forever is one of my most favorite Beatles songs and it’s written by my most favorite Beatle (John). The song is, in my opinion, about a person taking you to a place of solace and safety where nothing is real. I think John simply got fed up with all the bullshit and thought about playing things safe. In the last verse, he says he disagrees. If that meant he disagreed with the phrase living is easy with eyes closed, we have no way of knowing.
Perhaps this lyrics from the classic Beatles song should be the mantra of all intelligent people. Perhaps when I get the chance and money, I should have this phrase tattooed on my body. Perhaps I need to be constantly reminded that living is indeed easy with eyes closed. Perhaps I need to be constantly reminded that whenever bullshit comes knocking on my door, the best revenge is to close my eyes and pretend that it never happened. Or is it?
“Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind made me feel lucky my life has never been easy. If a genie were to come to me and give me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to erase bad memories, I wouldn’t accept it. I’d still choose to remember those bad moments because they were the reasons why I am who I am today. Blessed are the forgetful, but enviable are the ones who remember–-they can learn from their mistakes and live a more meaningful life.
“Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
If there’s one thing I know I won’t ever regret, it’s that wisdom came to me while it can still do me good. Why would I waste this precious opportunity? Living might be easy with eyes closed, but there’s no room in my life for ignorance. We only have one life to live, so why not make the most out of it?
Sure, the best way to make the most out of life is to live happily ever after (if that’s even possible), but my idea of making the most out of life is to do whatever I can to correct the mistakes of the past and make sure these mistakes don’t get repeated in the future. I know this sounds impossible and absurd, but this is my life mission and I will stand behind it until my last breath.