It’s Pointless

In my most recent Unintentional ASMR video, I featured a Japanese man who makes paper by hand as a profession (his small company is called Corsoyard, here’s the website). It’s an incredibly tedious process with a dozen or so steps that take around two weeks to complete.

BUT WHY? I’m sure the paper has some good properties, and maybe it’s slightly better for Origami or painting on it. But 14 days?! I’m sure there are machines who can make similar paper in 20 minutes or so, at a fraction of the cost. 

I was imagining being the young guy in the video (he might be the Papermaker’s son, or his apprentice), having to clean every paper meticulously or separating and hanging up each piece of paper individually to dry.

I have to admit it: I’m not sure if I could do it. I’m too cynical.
I wish I wasn’t, but I’d have this “what the f*ck am I doing here?!” voice in my head, and it would only become stronger with time. And for what? I’d never become wealthy making paper, and I’d always have to rely on rich Japanese businessmen or tourists spending a fortune on a piece of paper.

I had this inner voice at my previous jobs, too. It’s not great. If I was a positive, optimistic person, I would be a much better and more resilient employee. 

But I dislike doing things that I feel are pointless. That cynicism even creeps into the things I usually enjoy doing, like writing this very text, or spending six hours editing a video I don’t make any money from.

Here’s the problem: EVERYTHING is pretty much pointless.
If we zoom out enough and look at our ridiculously short life, our little jobs, our little hobbies, our little successes and failures – everything is irrelevant and pointless in the grand scheme of things.

So … do NOTHING?!

No, that would be cynicism and nihilism winning.

First of all, I’m glad that people like this Japanese Papermaker still exist (they’re getting rarer, that’s for sure). Call me old fashioned, but I admire the patience and attention to detail. It’s a celebration of craftsmanship, of striving for perfection, which is so typical of Japan and can be seen in many other things like pottery, pens or video games. Even if it doesn’t always make a lot of money, which I wrote about before.

And even if your job isn’t that meaningful or creative and if you can’t really be proud of what you’re doing (which applies to most jobs nowadays, unfortunately): You can still choose to do what you do with some degree of devotion and engagement. (Still: Hopefully you can find something that you’re passionate about, one day).

Here’s where I remembered a quote by Alan Watts:
This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing – and instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

So here’s the final message, I guess: Even if your education, your project or your job might be hard and annoying right now: Don’t give up. Don’t take it too seriously, but do it as well as you can. I’m convinced that doing something hard, pushing through even if it’s tedious, be it a job or a hobby, makes us a better person. 

😴 What might help you find calm

Intentional ASMR Picks:

Unintentional ASMR Picks: