Mona Lisa Smile

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What’s the point of knowing the language of the wind when only you can hear it? You can write compilations upon compilations of such discourse with no one else bothering to even comprehend a sentence of the numerous pages you ecstatically record for the sheer delight of sharing the experience. Its like scattering feathers in the middle of town square, while passersby go about their chores half-aware of the feathers floating in mid-air but are too busy, too indifferent, or too ignorant about its meaning to acknowledge the occurrence.

To them, these feathers are useless things and to scatter these things around to dance against the wind doesn’t make them any more useless than they already are. What makes a floating feather on air different from a feather inside a sack anyway? On the other hand, you, the “feather person,” esteem these fluffy, lightweight things like profound metaphysical truths.

“Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And a feather is all it takes to make me die of laughing.”—Joseph Delteil

So there you are, dancing with the fluffy, lightweight things in the middle of Town Square while everybody else takes you for a freak, an oddity of nature, a fool.

Perhaps that’s the reason why Socrates went about discreetly showing off his wisdom by pestering people with his questions: what’s the point of being the wisest person in the world without any one else knowing or sensing it?

I know that I do not know.”

Knowing that should have been enough for him to just shut up. What’s the point of asking a question when you already know the answer? Asking anyway seems nothing but a devious trap of gloating set to slap the other person attempting to come up with a feasible answer to your query. A question borne for the purpose of being able to gloat is nothing but vain and egotistical. Instead, he repeatedly contradicts himself and his adage, eventually spelling his doom through the kiss of hemlock.

Is it simply the fear of being called a fool that compelled Socrates to go about proving the oracle wrong?

Or is it loneliness? A type of loneliness, which is not about having no one else around but having ideas which most people find inadmissible. Socrates wasn’t going around asking questions to discreetly brag about his newfound truth or to prove the oracle wrong, but could he be hunting for another soul who grasps the art of not knowing?

Are we then left with the choice to let go of our autonomy to fend off the loneliness of not having anyone in our deepest secrets? After all, a secret is not a secret unless it holds a witness or witnesses. Like in order to validate or affirm our own existence, we need to have someone to share, understand, and get to know it with. But doesn’t that also reduce human relationships as means to gratify our need for self-affirmation, if not vain, ends? And people as objects like flattery recording boxes or Snow White mirrors that tell the fairest of them all? Are we as individuals not enough to validate ourselves?

What’s the point of being different, of discovering new realms, of being able to experience things a different way, or guarding lovely secrets if you are the only one?

If autonomy is too high a price to pay to drown the loneliness away or vanity a demeaning option, we can always look at Mona Lisa. She with her mischievous smile seems to be serenely content knowing something everybody else doesn’t.


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