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September 13th, 2022
Taking nonsense seriously is a serious problem while trying to make sense of the world. But entertaining nonsense is a vital skill because of how it changes our relationship to the unknown.
Is there much of a difference between taking a concept seriously and entertaining that concept? Certainly the seriousness of taking something seriously indicates it’s a bit further along on the spectrum of seriousness when compared to mere entertaining:
It’s one thing to invite someone in and entertain a guest. It’s quite another to invite that guest to move in.
Many people suffer from simply being too serious. And the caution warning on life’s prescription bottle would likely indicate that taking everything too seriously is likely to result in the adverse effect of taking nonsense seriously when such delight should only be merely entertained.
A serious person might claim that nonsense should not be considered at all. But being so serious, a serious person cannot seriously entertain the possibility that such serious discrimination might hamstring the ability to discriminate! How is one who only considered things seriously supposed to consider whether something is nonsense or not? Well, our serious fellow is caught in the hinge and teeth of a serious problem. Consideration of nonsense mistaken as something that is not nonsense means said nonsense must be seriously considered.
Hence the need to entertain nonsense. Is this guest merely a fool who makes me laugh, or is this a zen master of sorts making fun of me and itself?
Entertaining nonsense means combing through a lot more of the content of life. But not as an arduous task, but a pleasurable one, like feasting ones eyes on a beautiful vista, taking in more and more because all the details add to the beauty.
But most importantly, the mental demeanor that comes with an ability to entertain nonsense translates to the way we shake hands with the unknown.
Traditionally the scariest thing to humanity, the unknown is home to both delightful surprise and crushing disappointment. All manner of unexpected lies beyond its front door. And those too serious to entertain nonsense have far more trouble knocking for entry than those who keep their souls fresh with a little nonsense.