There is an art to hanging out, sitting around, chewing the fat. Hanging out is not being idle. It does have meaning and value. Hanging out does make a contribution. Hanging out builds up the stocks towards high quality stillness. Hanging out is under threat as an artistic practice. Operating at low speed, disengaged from the engine helps preserve energy. The informality of hanging out brings relaxation and values spending time with others as a gift of wanting to be in one another’s company and brings respite from the fullness and intensity of intentional high powered times.
Being around others in a soft, footloose and unstructured ways is a sign of deep, easy relations. Just to be, without purpose, is a be-ing of deep certainty of acceptance and freedom. To hang out with old friends, and new, with nature, with your spirit, your god brings a deep rewarding fullness requiring a little effort of marking time together. Breathing the same air brings its own intimacy. Hanging out is not nothing and maybe indeed a mechanism to inoculate yourself from falling into the Nothing of Michael Ende’s NeverEnding Story – that great abyss where fantasies have no place – hanging out refuels dreams and makes memories.
G’mork: Don’t you know anything about Fantasia? It’s the world of human fantasies. Every part, every creature of it, is a piece of the dreams and hopes of mankind. Therefore, it has not boundaries.
Atreyu: But why is Fantasia dying, then?
G’mork: Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. So The Nothing grows stronger!
Atreyu: What Is The Nothing?
G’mork: It’s the emptiness that’s left. It is like a despair, destroying this world … People who have no hopes are easy to control, and whoever has the control has the power.
An idle engine is a promise to tomorrow, purring before embarking on a journey, getting ready to warm up the car to maximise the capacity of the carburetor may be a thing of the past with modern vehicles, but the principle still has worth. To ensure all the moving parts are ready to go, is a well known technique for the body to manage physical fitness – so why not hanging out be part of what maintains our humanity fitness? My promise to tomorrow is to hang out more. Idle conversation, meandering with others in not so well organised ways, to find moments to chat about dreams and fantasies, to keep the Nothing at bay.