High Life

High Life

They are beautiful. They’re rich. They are famous. But the similarity doesn’t end there. Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Nicole Richie have other things in common…like being booked for drunken driving, doing drugs, serving prison terms and going for rehabilitation.

To common folk, these girls have a dream life: looks to die for, good fortune, wealth, fame, fan-following. Or do they?

Having to go to rehab at 20 is not exactly the kind of life anyone would want. But maybe I am old-fashioned, conservative, or even downright boring! “High life” is about taking the risk, get on a high, and indulging in all that is proscribed — after all life’s nothing if not adventurous. Going by this logic, these girls are living their lives to the fullest, aren’t they?

To me, life is a constant high. Unlike what abusing artificial stimulants and substances produce in us, life’s challenges produce a genuine high. Its varied trials, tests and hardships make it adventurous. Its unpredictability makes it risky.

Perhaps the irony is that these are the very things that are missing from the lives of these rich and famous girls. They get everything on a platter. For them, life is easy. They have lived, and are living, a life of utmost comfort. No worries or challenges whatsoever — at least not the kind we common folk have. They have nothing to look forward to. If life is simply great all the time, it becomes monotonous. Much like, if there was only happiness, it would quickly lose meaning because there isn’t anything to compare it with.

The following extract from Tao Te Ching (The Book of The Way) by Lao-Tzu sums up the irony:

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad

Being and non-being create each other
Difficult and easy support each other
Long and short define each other
High and low depend on each other
Before and after follow each other

So, essentially, opposites define each other. And, too easy a life loses definition. I suspect that Lindsay & Co have too much of a good thing going for them — so much so that they get bored of it and therefore “manufacture” worries and challenges to make their lives interesting. When I ponder on what makes celebrities do drugs, indulge in outrageous acts, or break the law (à la our own Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Fardeen Khan), I am tempted to veer towards thinking that they create their own problems to keep their lives exciting even though they may be doing so entirely unbeknownst to themselves.

Of course, this is just my hypothesis and I may be entirely wrong. But it’s worth thinking about…it makes me wonder whether our hardships and difficulties are a blessing in disguise?

5 Replies to “High Life”

  1. Well written…I couldn’t agree more.
    It’s great you have pointed out that these girls are missing out on the more valuable and worthwhile things in life, and I really was so with you when you said, “Having to go to rehab at 20 is not exactly the kind of life anyone would want”. It’s an obvious sign that something is wrong, but they sensationalize and glamorize that predicament with their statuses.

    It’s the great irony of life. Thanks for your comments, Tom.

  2. Its such Irony… but life is such. Dualities exist, for the most part that is what creates meaning to our lives.. giving us something to learn and hence grow into ourselves. Imho, “Living life to the fullest” has as many definitions as there are people in this world.

    Coming to the celebrities, I think the media makes a mountain out of a molehill.. I cant imagine living a life constantly being scrutinized every moment. Arent there more people who arent celebrities in Jails? If those people werent celebrities do you think the media would bother to find out if they went to rehab or got drunk or became criminals?.. it would just get a one-liner in some obscure page of the newspaper.

    Good point. I have discussed this very idea (of how dualities give meaning to our lives) in an older post titled And the plot thickens.

    As far as celebrities go, their continuous scrutiny is a reflection of the society’s ethical and moral values at large. When we comment on celebs and their lives, we do so in order to highlight some aspect of ourselves and the community of which we are all a part. Not just their vices but their virtues are also highlighted…and a mountain is made of both kind of molehills.

    I used the examples of the celebs only to make a point about how we might actually be “inventing” challenges in our lives for the sake of inducing excitement if it’s missing, lest our lives get too boring. Of course, it’s only a hypothesis 🙂


  3. You bring up some interesting thoughts here. I like the way you think. I might suggest a continuation down this way by saying this: It may be true that many of the problems and challenges these high-life folk experience, are self-made or invented, and perhaps even sub-cons… Might it also be true that many of the challenges “we regular folk” experience are up the same alley? One might observe the fact that the high-life folk are totally unaware of this. One might also make the same observation on the “regular folk”.

    You are right Mike. I am sure we create many of our problems in order to “thicken the plot” of the script of our lives. Without challenges, our lives would be boring.

  4. Excellent essay, worldlywise. I won’t repeat the many excellent comments your readers have made and just hone in on the polarities you touch on, i.e. the yin and yang? I think we need to experience polarity in order to find balance in our lives. One can learn fairly quickly what is considered extreme when faced with “opposite” concepts, and what adds up to indifference (although I’m not sure if “indifference” or “apathy” is truly the opposite of extreme. Any thoughts here?) I think we need to experience “opposite” concepts in order to attain some depth to our character.

    I agree with you, WW, that without challenges our lives would be boring. But a lot of people don’t feel alive unless they’re in crisis mode. They can’t function very well in what we consider a “normal” state of mind (i.e., moderation in everything?) and needing crisis really shows dysfunction in relationships. I think dysfunction creates an inability to be responsible, reliable, and reality-based in day-to-day life. Maybe these girls aren’t feeding their spiritual side. I think spirituality needs to be recognized and encouraged or else one’s left with a mere carnal existence, and what fun is in that? One can OD on pleasure, you know? So, I’d be interested to know whether these girls acknowledge a higher power than themselves. If they don’t have a higher power can’t that create a person who’s self-absorbed and thinks the world revolves around them? Which is really the state of mind of babies and young children, right? That’s it! They’re acting like babies who need constant attention from those around them, and when they don’t get it they act “bad” to attain it. I don’t think it’s a conscious thing, though. Of course, they’d deny they want attention. Oh, well, I’ve probably muddied the waters here. If I have, you can delete my comments, worldlywise. The topic captivated me. Good insight coming from you and your readers!

    Hey Janet, I like your candidness. It’s OK to be “not clear” sometimes, isn’t it? Though I think you are right when you say that these girls are probably only behaving like babies who crave attention. It’s so much easier to take a tolerant view of their actions when seen from this perspective.

  5. Thought-provoking comments. Its easy to judge other people. What people don’t always realize is that juding is a way we project our own insecurities. In my mind, we each experience tests and we each have repeated opportunities to learn and grow, Why compare yourself to others to focus on what you’re not and on what you lack? Those wouldn’t be my own choices.

    Hi Liara. Thanks for dropping by. I agree that it’s easy to judge others. In fact my thoughts here are an effort to understand, and not judge, the celebs in question, so that I can view their with more compassion. What I have discussed is only an opinion and that is why I end by saying that I may be entirely wrong. It’s only a viewpoint, but certainly not a judgment. I don’t know enough about them and their lives to judge them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *