“The yearning for rigidity is in us all. Its a part of human condition to long for hard lines, straight edges, clear boundries and clear cut concepts.”
Mary Douglas . Purity and Danger
[I've been reading too much about 'dirt' recently...]
International Exhibition of Hygiene, under Nazi regime, Dresden 1931
Home for christmas is so random- it always offsets routine. Holidays = 20% work + 110% procrastination [...which actually means 100% procrastination..]
It’s really interesting to see how people procrastinate in general actually. I think it’s something everyone does- even if they don’t like to admit it.
I think in my family (a family of workaholics) for us procrastination is all about acheiving an easy, quick, short term goal that makes us feel good and forget temporarily about the absolute mountain of work we have to get through. I guess procrastination for us is our ‘quick fix’; a quicker way of ascertaining our control over our day to day lives and routines which are so dominated by that single task we have to battle with …
For my sister, procrastination is PS3 games. And she does it in such an ordered, civilised way. ‘I have a game for one week. That’s 7 days. I have to finish this whole game on hard level before sunday or I’ll never live it down. I HAVE TO FINISH IT SIS- AND YOU ALL HAVE TO SUPPORT ME!!!’
So basically, the living room transformed into Basmah’s den for this week. With her Law books cluttered to one side; under a pile of ‘anti-stress snacks’. The stress? self imposed deadline of game completion. The short term self rewarding therapy of making oneself feel good? I HACKED OFF 50 HEADS TODAY AND GOT ALL THESE AMAZING NEW WEAPONS- WOOOO!!!
I’ve procrastinated pretty awfully this christmas too- I took to cleaning the kitchen. Excessively- like a bit OCD tbh. I dno why cleaning; maybe cuz I live with 2 housemates that are pretty much neatfreaks :3 and our flat is usually pretty clean…but when you have 5 people in a home, damn, it gets messy so fast. I almost wanted to start setting rules for kitchen use- but then I had to stop myself.
I kinda realised…. dirt, cleanliness and the idea of keeping a space ‘clean’ is sorta relavent to the human soul. Ok stay with me here, this isn’t me going crazy (I hope).
Really- think about it. Ok maybe it’ll help if you took a look at the modern concept of a kitchen as layed down by Le Corbusier:
Isn’t it ‘spotless’? Every surface is absolutely shiny and dust free. White. (The Divine Colour) So you can pick up every mark. Surgical.
Never mind if that’s what the kitchen actually looks like when its in use- that’s how the guests are gonna see it, and that’s what its gonna look like in the photos.
The cyclic use of household spaces, the kitchen, the bathroom- are pretty scary to the ‘modern’ mind, especially because they accumilate dirt. They disrupt our marshalled order and blur our clearly defined boundaries. Sort of like our ‘nafs’ or the ‘soul’ as muslims like to call it; we can clean it relentlessly and keep it tidy, but once its in use, which is the state its always in, experiencing new situations and new surroundings and new tests and trials which every single person faces, it starts to accumilate dust and dirt in the corners of its neatly kept habits and diciplines. It gets dirty. It gets messy as it experiences the unknown. And it has to purity itself again. You have to get the mop out again. Nothing can stay perfect. Hence, nothing ever is.
Only in a photograph, when you present yourself to other people, or when the guests come round. You can hold it together (or pretend to) for that moment- as long as noone else sees the state its in when its actually in use. You can marshal rules and regulations to conduct that space when its actually supposed to be in use- but then you’ve just moved all your eating activities to another part of the house which is resultantly getting dirty intstead. ‘Out of frame’
So Mary Douglas was right; order and rigidity is in us all. When the world around us is moving constantly, and we have to be patient in the ‘flow’ we’re being dragged in, its no surprise that we all seek ways of grounding our lives around certain reference points that remind us of, who we are and what we are capable of, in our immediate vicinity. We need to marshal order around us, and regular control over something, especially if everything else is out of focus. It’s just the way we are.
I guess the secret is to not get stuck in that false sense of order. And realise it is just an illusion to help us carry on, a distraction, an image, and a temporary state that we’ve marshalled, rather than something that can substitute reality. That’s why God actually says again and again in the Quran, the people that are the most lost in this world are the ones that think they are doing good, where as all their works count for nothing (surah 18: 104).
That’s when procrastination gets dangerous, when we think the false order we’ve conducted within the ‘frame’ is right, and nothing is going on outside of it- and procrastination is reality… rather than a way of just dealing with reality.
On that note… Happy Holidays people
Hope you all find healthy short-term fixes ie. procrastination techniques, which helps you deal with life’s regular disorder patiently :3
‘Oh Allah, please grant us both the hastened good of this world, and the prolonged good of the here after. And keep us away from the hastled evil of this world, and the prolonged evil of the hear after.’
A. Saqib 25.12.2010