The Thanksgiving Day parade is ridiculous.
Giants objects floating in the air, held steady by people dressed as elves. Boy bands from the 90’s, singing from a big decorated box on wheels. Marching bands moving in a military-like manner, playing music for a holiday still a month away. Hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets in New Your City, watching all this. Millions of people watching at home on their television.
The whole thing is ridiculous, but not unnecessary. Humans need something to do. We’re incapable of doing nothing. Putting together floats and creating costumes moves our attention away from boredom and big questions like What’s it all for? Ridiculous things like The Thanksgiving Day Parade don’t just entertain those who build the floats and watch them go by. They save us from ourselves.
Not long ago I would have viewed the whole thing as a waste. But now I understand why we do it. We don’t do it because of tradition. We do it to keep ourselves occupied. Think of all the people the event occupies. The builders. The organizers. The viewers. Law enforcement. Without The Thanksgiving Day parade these people might be doing nothing. And nothing is dangerous. We must always be doing something or we’re nothing. (At least this is what the majority of us believe. A handful of us know better.)
I could take all this in a humanitarian and philantrhopic direction and say that, if we just need to be occupied, why not build stuff that has utility outside of entertainment for people who actually need stuff? Like build homes for the homeless. But I already know the answer to my question. A parade can occupy more people’s attention than a home building initiative. Home building initiatives aren’t televised. But they could be.
Anyways, this is a thought for another time. Here I want to briefly explore why we do stuff and not what we could do instead.
Some more examples…
Why am I writing this?
I want to be heard. I want to document my thoughts because my ego tells me they’re important. I want you to see that I have interesting thoughts. And most importantly, I’m writing this to occupy my mind. To keep my mind off the big questions that cause me anxiety. To keep me from being introspective, self-conscious, and fearful.
Why do we work and make stuff?
We don’t need businesses, companies, and startups and technology. All we need is to know how to farm, get clean water, and make shelters. That’s all we need to know how to do. So then why do we have all this stuff? Why do we make all these products, all this software? How did we get into this capitalistic and often-greedy society where money makes your worth?
Because we need something to do. We need to occupy our minds. We need outlets for our energy. It’s a simple as that. Our products aren’t saving the world. Our products are saving us from ourselves. From boredom and insanity. They are our salvation. The act of creating them is why we create them. Giving them to people to use is just a small side benefit.
This is what I believe now, and it’s not pessimistic. It’s realistic. Life is ridiculous. I know this. And I’m learning to be fine with it. Because even though life is ridiculous, it’s not meaningless. All this stuff that occupies our thoughts will help us do more stuff that will occupy our thoughts. These products will help us build — even discover — civilizations in other areas of the infinite.
Being ridiculous is vital
Living is not enough. We need to be ridiculous. Being ridiculous saves us from ourselves. Being ridiculous has as much utility as food, water, and shelter. It’s the fourth basic need of life because, without it, life can become a bore, and boredom kills.