“Math is just too certain, so I can’t learn math well. I love languages. ”
This is a line from the genius poet Sun Yitong in the movie “Space Exploration Editorial Department”. Through this sentence, the director explores the choice between reason and emotion, reality and imagination. Many people were “hit” by this stroke of God. In reality, many of the things we encounter are too “certain”. The KPI of performance is stuck, the proportion of annual salary increases is determined, and even the path to promotion is traceable. They are “certain” to the point that only what can be done and what cannot be done. While we need to follow these drawn lines, we are worried that we will be “left behind” and stop at the back of this trajectory.
It is true to forge ahead in reality, but outside of the “certain” reality, we still need something soft, something romantic, something uncertain, to fill the void in our hearts.
And what exactly are these things?
It is a portable sanctuary
Outside of reality, we often need breakthroughs and growth brought by words first. Whenever we need it, we can find those “uncertain” things in literary works, and think, understand, absorb, and harvest from them.
Birkin was born and raised in the Northeast and witnessed a wave of layoffs from his parents. The trajectory of a generation’s life that never thought it would change was turned upside down in an instant. To this day, he still sees former industrial workers in the factory compound of his hometown who were laid off in the early years and are now dying, sitting downstairs in shabby old shirts and counterfeit sneakers, as if their vitality had only stayed more than two decades ago.
Such a memory imprint always made Birkin lack some security in life, always worried that one day in the future, the great changes of the times would leave him far behind. This sense of urgency has allowed Birkin to turn his work into a race, every moment trying to beat the “big market” made up of his peers. Even now that he has established himself in the workplace and achieved excellent results, Birkin still lives trembling, still panicked inside, feeling that changes may occur at any time, and is therefore at a loss.
Until one day, he read Shuang Xuetao’s novel “Moses on the Plain”. It’s a story about how people continue to work hard to live in the midst of layoffs. Everyone in it has encountered problems of one kind or another, facing the turn of the times and the treacherous fate of individuals, they are still striving to pursue their goals. In the novel, those descriptions of the northeast, those descriptions of the wave of layoffs, those lonely factories and those struggling to survive but still optimistic, not only made Birkin find a long-lost sense of familiarity, but also made his anxiety about life suddenly cheerful, no one’s life will be smooth sailing, but he should not be as restless as in the past, but should be full of expectations for life.
Birkin said: “The book is called ‘Moses on the Plain,’ and for me, the title itself is a revelation. In the legend, because of Moses’ firm faith, even the sea made way for him. Although we are not Moses and there is no sea in front of us, we should also have faith in life, even if life in the future will not be smooth sailing, but life will always go on, and we can still be a Moses on the plain. ”
Because of a book, Birkin broke the cocoon shaped by his childhood memories and made his attitude towards life clear. This is the power that words and reading bring to Birkin.
Later, he read Maugham’s “Reading is a Refuge to Carry with You.” Birkin thought the words in the title of the book were really nice, “Isn’t that what it is?” Through reading, we can always find the answer we want. ”
In addition to words, those things that can bring us imagination are also important nourishment for our spiritual world. Like movies, even video games.
Pan Pan is a “young man from Beipiao” who has just graduated and came to Beijing, and because of his tight schedule, he can only rent a small second bedroom. There is only a single bed and a small desk in the room, and outside the window, there is the endless flow of the fourth ring road.
Sometimes, Panpan will stand at the window and think, the city is so vast, but he only owns this less than 10 square meters of world, and there is inevitably a sense of alienation and unfreedom in his heart. Every time at this time, he would turn on the TV and watch a movie. He likes to watch American Westerns, from the earliest “Guanshan Feidu”, to the later “History of Western Pioneering”, “Billy Kid”, “Django Rescued”, and then to other Western-style movies in other countries in the world “Heart Stick” and “Double Flag Town Swordsman”… Wait a minute.
These movies can instantly make climbing jump out of the Burrow, travel to another world, and travel freely in the vast wilderness of imagination.
In addition to watching movies, he also likes to play games, such as Red Dead Redemption. This is a free-world game set in the American West in the early 20th century, in which he can ride a horse and gallop around Westworld. Pan Pan said: “Even if I don’t do tasks, just riding horses casually in the game can give me a sense of freedom that is rare in the real world.” “A lot of people think that video games are just a superficial entertainment, but climbing doesn’t think so. He thinks there are also many soft, sincere things in video games that he feels cared for.
Every time he watches a movie or plays a game, Panpan forgets that he is a novice worker, he no longer worries about rent, he no longer feels sorry for the occasional taxi fare, and becomes another self in a parallel world.
Like the feeling of climbing, whether it is a movie or a game, we can experience another life in an imaginary world, and have a carnival of freedom while expanding the breadth of life infinitely.
It is a kind of emotional comfort
Music and art have similar powers, they can constantly mobilize our emotions and leave us with beautiful memories. Music has a magic power, if you listen to a song when you do something, and then when you listen to that song later, you will remember those things.
Xiaoyao and her boyfriend’s initial date began with an appointment to fetch water together. At that time, she and her boyfriend were still in college, and they went to study hall every night until 10 o’clock. I don’t know when it started, every night after self-study, he would wait for her downstairs, carrying a kettle to fetch hot water, which became their daily fixed meeting time. When the two were still in an ambiguous stage, there seemed to be a layer of window paper that no one wanted to break. Fetching water is a secret rule for them to reasonably ask each other to meet without letting their careful thoughts be exposed.
They would walk side by side with their kettles and carefully keep a safe distance. At this time, listening to songs together becomes the best way to break the embarrassment when you are ashamed to speak. They like to listen to five people the most, and when they are about to walk downstairs to the dormitory, the two of them will tacitly slow down, one is that the distance from the water room to the dormitory is too short, and the other is that the song has not yet been heard.
Playing water is actually an opportunity for a boyfriend to express himself. The water room of their school is plug-in, the water is plugged in, and the water is stopped, but after the card, there is still water in the water pipe that has not been completely purified, and it will continue to flow for a while. This makes the amount of water less controllable, sometimes the card is pulled early, the water in the kettle is not connected, and the water in the kettle will overflow when it is pulled late. So every night, her boyfriend would happily help her complete these steps, precisely controlling the time of card pulling, so that the amount of water in the kettle was just right, and the cork would not overflow. This inconspicuous little thing has become a tacit little pleasure between them.
When he was about to graduate, his boyfriend’s parents arranged a job for him in his hometown, while Xiaoyao, as a native of Beijing, preferred to stay in his hometown. After the graduation ceremony, they went together to fetch water again, and Xiaoyao never felt that the path from the dormitory to the water room was so long, nor did he feel that filling a warm pot was so fast. That day, they listened to “The Sad Man” together, and the lyrics said: “The person you love may not really love you / Or he shakes his head and leaves/Where else can I write to you/Although love can make life more beautiful/But it does change like the summer weather…”
After a long time, Xiaoyao would still occasionally listen to the songs of Gojo. Every time I listen, I think of those interesting stories about fetching water, and I can’t help it. When she first broke up, Xiaoyao felt very depressed, but she often comforted herself that at least these good memories were still preserved in these familiar melodies. People can’t always grieve for the past, as the song goes: “You must learn to forget the past and live your day well.” ”
The power of music and art is sometimes like this, and if words and reading, movies and games keep our minds rich, then music and art keep our emotions from withering. They always go deep into our hearts and reach the softest places in our hearts.
I want to walk on earth like this
In real life, being so “certain” will inevitably only lead people into two states, success or setback. However, if life is only smooth and embarrassing, then how boring it should be.
Fortunately, there is another way to walk the world beyond reality. Just like the stories of Birkin, Panpan and Xiaoyao, whether it is novels, music, art, movies or games, they can bring us more interesting life experiences. These things full of humanistic spirit and care are the answers to the question at the beginning of the article.
In the movie “Space Exploration Editorial Department”, there are two typical characters, one is the top pot genius Sun Yitong, and the other is the secular aunt Qin Cairong, they represent the two parts of our reality and spirit. Perhaps, each of us has a Sun Yitong in our hearts, and we all live a Qin Cairong. We need both real life and spiritual resonance. If the real world is rational, objective, tight, and result-oriented, then the humanistic world is sensual, romantic, rambling, and allows us to enjoy the process to the fullest.
In the humanistic content and works full of “uncertainty”, we can obtain inner healing, personal growth, and find the habitat of the soul.
The busier the era, the higher the thirst for humanistic spirit among young people. They long to find their own spiritual home outside of reality. The recently launched “2023 Zhihu Humanities: I want to walk in the world like this” precisely echoes this spiritual need of today’s young people.
In this “2023 Zhihu Humanities: I Want to Walk in the World Like This”, Zhihu invited 100 young creators to settle in, including well-known writers such as Shuang Xuetao, Feng Ge, and Yan Leisheng; Best-selling authors like bandits and rice like frost; science fiction writers such as Fractal Orange, Zhang Ran; literary critics such as Liushenlei and Zhang Jiawei, and game producers such as Yao Zhuangxian; Musicians like Yu Fei; Anime people such as Li Shuaishuai, Xu Xianzhe… It covers literature, film and television, games, music and many other fields.
Not only will they be posting posters, sharing ideas, and conducting Q&A sessions at Zhihu, but some of the guests will also announce their long-term linkage plans in their respective fields.
In addition, Zhihu also cooperated with Damai and UCCA to hold the “Live Like an Artist” exhibition activity, which will invite friends to see the exhibition for free, and after the exhibition, they can discuss their experience and feelings in Zhihu with the topic of Living Like an Artist.
Unlike similar activities in the past that only focused on a certain personal cultural category, this time Zhihu “2023 Zhihu Humanities: I Want to Walk in the World Like This” covers a wide range of humanities such as books, movies, music, travel, exhibitions and so on, as Slogan “Pack Your Spiritual World” said, in Zhihu Humanities, you can always find a pure land that belongs to you and contain your spiritual world. And through offline activities, live broadcasts, round tables, discussions and many other carriers, it provides nutrients for the spiritual lifestyle of contemporary youth, helping them live in a more relaxed state through humanistic content.
In fact, in this era when everyone is afraid of being “left behind” by those “certain” tracks, we can sometimes let go of the hard shell, slow down, and return to our hearts. For today’s young people, real life and the spiritual world are not opposites, they can also complement each other.