when things do not make sense

by wynlim

I have a penchant for doing things that do not make sense. I do not do them deliberately, more like neccessary, because if I don’t do the things I believe in, I cannot breathe. 

As a designer I should have started a design blog instead of a blog with emo writing like this, it would have made a lot more sense trying to maximize my online capital, isn’t it? 

When I started connections.sg I wanted to keep it pure and away from any commercial influences, I got told countless times that it was a waste of time and it would make more sense to monetize it. 

I told a good friend a few years ago that I wanted to create my own reality, he was genuinely worried and asked me if I needed ‘help’. 

A lot of things I choose to do and want to do, they do not make sense. But by convention, it implies that since there are no monetary or obvious gains, why do it? 

For years I have been wondering the same question of other people. Politicians especially. When I see a good person who could have chosen to live his/her life in peace instead of having to play the dirty game of politics – I ask why. The people in question to me are not in it for power, but for something else extremely intangible. 

Why don’t people actually realise that there are a lot of things that we wouldn’t be enjoying right now if everyone in this world wanted to make sense. 

Would envisioning flying in the sky in a huge metal machine make sense? When people first dreamed of equal rights for all human beings, I am sure it was presposterous. When Rosa Parks indignantly decided not to give up her seat, did it make sense then?

As part of humanity we need to start to invest more in the well-being of other people, because that is the only way the world can sustain its evolution. We have always needed gigantic leaps of faith to move forward. Our progress was not possible because of calculated risks and logical reasoning. It was because there were people who wanted to do things that didn’t make sense.

I do not do things for tangible benefits, at least they are not tangible by society standards. How do you really measure emotional impact? Should we only do things which have measurable impact? If I deeply impact one single person’s life, does that make me less worthwhile than someone who goes on to impact a million people superficially? Who are we to decide? 

Basheer books, if you are in the creative industry in Singapore, you would have heard of them. They deliver books to you for you to browse, if you don’t like them you can return them without paying for it and there’s no time limit. Did it make sense? No. They have probably tons of damanged books but in return they receive loyalty from their customers, which in return probably brought them a lot more economic benefit than a typical bookstore would have received. When I tell this to outsiders of the industry, one of the first questions they ask – “How can people be trusted?”

BooksActually, they publish work of local authors without much profit, if any. It doesn’t make sense at all to most people. But when I was there last weekend, touching the covers of these books made my spine tingle. It left a deep imprint on my soul, how much had to go into these little printed books of words. 

It didn’t make sense, but it made me want to cry. Are my tears less precious than dollars and cents? By a mere touch of these books, recognizing all the blood, sweat and tears going into them, a memory in my consciousness now, the sudden awareness of the love for humanity.

Some things do not make sense at conception, some things may not make sense at all for the rest of linear time, but I sincerely believe we should be less caught up with whether they make sense and instead focus more on doing things we feel needed to be done.

I think that’s one of the greatest ways of self-expression, that you do things because you want to or needed do, in spite of and despite of. We could have modern-day Shakespeare among us but we wouldn’t have recognized him because these days, all we expect is for people to make sense. 

I have been so caught up in my professional work, that I have lost touch with that part of me. That part of me who loves the subtle intricacies of other people’s creations. I do not listen to new music anymore, I barely have time to discover new books, and don’t even talk to me about art. My life has been defined by the internet. Which I am utterly grateful for, but I forgot how much I had missed the physical connection of other people’s work until I experienced it once again. 

Each time I want to make something that doesn’t make sense, I am blessed right now, because of entities like BooksActually, I don’t feel all alone. When I touch the cover of one of their books I feel a sense of connection to the author, that he or she wrote that book painstakingly despite of and inspite of. That it doesn’t make economic sense to write at all, but what is it that is more important – numbers, or your sense of self? 

I find myself having to make similar choices lately. Increasingly. As though if I have to go through a series of tests – do I choose to remain true to myself, or do I want to make sense to other people? If I remain true to myself, am I being selfish?

But being true to myself is ultimately being true to you.