This article describes the meaning of banality and how can one get out of it
Understanding The Meaning of Banality
To say that something is banal is to say that it is dispensable, superficial, and inconsequential. In contemporary life there are many experiences that can be described as such. Banal is the obsession with image and physical appearance.
The same can be said with respect to the contemporary tendency to express opinions about everything, without the need for such opinions to have some depth or based on reading, information, knowledge. Banal is the imperative “have fun when it becomes only criterion in decision making. “Have fun” can be helpful every now and then, but it cannot be the key for meaning in life. Banal is the inconsistency with which many people discard what they do not understand. It is the multiplication of opportunities when choice becomes an evasion rather than commitment. In some way, what is banal would be the opposite of something profound, deep.
In the banality labyrinth makeup is artificially generated
Banality often goes unnoticed. You are lost, wandering aimlessly, and you do not even know it. This labyrinth is not as painful as some others, where you are immediately made aware of being in a prison. In this case you can live in constant entertainment, consuming sensations, and even think that you’re fine, that you’re doing what you want. You walk from one place to another, you turn, you go, you return, passing again and again through the same places that change their appearance. And you do not even realise you’re locked in a prison of mirrors. Maybe because you do not know that on the other side of those walls there is a deep and much more authentic life. Sometimes, the traveller intuits that. Sometimes s/he craves something different. Sometimes s/he gets a taste of life “without makeup and free from the need to keep up appearances, and feels that life could be something else. But then, quickly, s/he chooses to return to vertigo, to deception, to emotion, even if artificially generated.
Helpful questions to ask to get out of the banality labyrinth
Stop at a point and refuse to continue wandering without direction or intention. Ask some important questions:
i. What is non-negotiable in my life? Which values am I unwilling to betray?
ii. Do I believe in something? What? In who? Why?
iii. I only have one life. What do I want to build in it? And my doubts, where do they take me?
iv. Who are the important names in my story (ie, is there true love)?
These questions can help you open the door inside and discover those closed rooms where, without knowing, there is a much deeper truth, more fertile, and full of possibilities.
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Mt 6, 33)
Based on the original Spanish text written by: Jos Maria Rodriguez Olaizola, sj
Translated by: Fr Jimmy Bonnici
Published: June 2019