I’m not quite sure I understand why people smile.
No.. wait. I get that. But why do so many, it seems like most people, smile in photos on these dating sites? Why? And then once in a while someone on 1 of those sites will tell me that I look intense. Because I am not smiling.
As if a smile is sign of content and happiness… which it can be for some people. Or for some moments. But not for everybody.
Sometimes I think a smile and true happiness occurring at the same time might only be a coincidence. Or a rare phenomenon, like the Harmonic Convergence. How strange is it that I can’t recall what happened during the last Harmonic Convergence. Where was I? Hmmmm… I think I was teaching part-time, working at a media arts non-profit that is now defunct, doing a lot of little performances or maybe working on 1 big one. Creatively, I was on fire. And hanging out at the Rainbow Club, like almost every night, getting plastered, which for me means 2 drinks. And completely screwing up 2 very meaningful relationships. It breaks my heart to think about them. So if there was one moment of convergence, I guess I was too distracted to notice. And I had been waiting for it for so so long. It’s a shame.
It makes me sad to write about it. Even though within that sadness was one of the happiest periods of my life. So maybe I experienced some degree of harmonics, sans convergence. But what happened to the fire?
The point I was trying to make is that a smile does not really signify anything. I mean, I’m going through my music collection. Hundreds of albums and CDs by incredible musicians. And with 1 or 2 exceptions, nobody is smiling. In my book collection, some of the authors are smiling but they tend to be Buddhists, people like the Dalai Lama or Pema Chodron. Otherwise, my apartment is cluttered with works by dozens of writers and musicians who inspire me, who look kind of “intense.” Can you imagine John Coltrane smiling while he recorded A Love Supreme? Can you imagine Samuel Beckett smiling for the book jacket of Molloy, one of the most hilarious books ever?
The point I was trying to make is that forcing a smile can wear a person out. And a worn out person is less happy. While the person who is not forcing a smile has a lot more stamina, which can make one feel very happy. And the people like the Dalai Lama …. their smiles are coming from a very deep deep place that not everyone can reach. But it is worth reaching for.
But then take another person like Krishnamurti and look at his photos on book jackets. I don’t think I’ve seen one photo of him smiling although I’m sure they exist. But I wonder how much success Krishnamurti would have on Tinder with those photos. Maybe this will be my next topic of research.