I Really Want to Love This World / I'm Here
I Really Want to Love This World / I'm Here
- An Injured Social Being
When we first encountered Hua's music, we were deeply attracted to his carefree spirit expressed in songs like "I Don't Care" and "Aliens." He is so cool that I feel a volcano could be chilled instantly by one look from him.
As a child growing up without attentive parents, it's understandable that he developed a coolness, a psychological mechanism to protect himself. He trained himself not to pay too much attention to social interactions, which was a mostly negative experience in his early childhood. He can isolate himself in a bubble and even enjoy being alone.
An old Chinese saying is "When heaven is about to place a big responsibility on a person, it must first put him through ordeals and tribulations so as to break his will; subdue his spirit; exhaust his muscles; starve his flesh." Out of Hua's solitude and struggles, evident in songs like "Fake Monk", he came out a strong-willed person with an extraordinary mind-frame and vision which have guided him through his early rise to fame without drowning his unique voice in an ocean of commercialization. He was able to hold on to his core beliefs and confidently handle earlier waves of slander in his career using this defense mechanism.
In his own words, "No matter what the circumstance is, I can always make myself comfortable." This confidence emanates from Hua's understanding of Buddhist teachings: to gain enlightenment is to see through one's own self-nature (the universal man not eclipsed by ego). Unenlightenment is the source of confusion and pain. By overcoming our ego, we can start to comprehend the causality (the cause and effect relationship of all things) in the world so that we will no longer be subjected to the whims of our irrational emotions and be condemned in eternal cycles of Samsara (incarnations). "Not pleased by external gains, not saddened by personal losses" has been the gentlemanly pursuit in the spirit of this philosophy. In other words, if you are enlightened, you will not be swayed by emotions and will stay worry-free. In earlier interviews such as "Who Am I Promotion" in 2015, he professed his belief perfectly: I am someone with zero worries, I have no confusion. I fully accept myself. I've come to understand that there's nothing in this world that is the most important. When I was young, I was also someone keen on my dreams. But I don't have any dreams now. I don't dream to be a celebrity. I don't have dreams in music. I mean… From what I understand, most people are pursuing happiness. But that's not what I'm looking for. I only strive to have no worries. There's nothing that you have to have and cannot let go of.
"Letting go" is the mantra of Buddhism which means to let go of our ego filled with desires. Our dreams are often the reflection of our desires, so within the Buddhist belief system, it's better not to dream. We should not only let go of our ego but also, to a large extent, our social being. This will also impose limitations on our mind due to the social norms that our social being gravitated towards, which is a hindrance to enlightenment. Given the non-attachment attitude of Buddhism, Hua developed a cold-eyed perspective on social relationships between people. He said, "For me, the relationship between people is just about using and being used by others. Since I don't need to use others, why would I let others use me?" It is a blunt, and a bit of a detached, attitude. In summary, at that time, he had a very, very cool mentality.
What has changed between then and now? The nonchalant rocker voice that sings "I don't care what you think, taking me as a fool or a joke, I am my own expression" has changed to "I once thought of leaving… It's because of those narratives, those stances and those inflicted pains" in "I Really Want to Love This World / I'm Here". From not giving a damn about other people's opinions to getting hurt by others' narratives, we can't help asking, has he lost his cool?
The answer probably lies in Hua's suppressed social being. Being detached from the crowd gives you freedom of mind and a carefree spirit, however, you also need to suppress your social being. That emotional and vulnerable social being needs love and support from family and friends as well as the approval of society, the very opposite of his cool persona. When life sails smoothly, his social being will not be too aggrieved and can be kept at bay to a degree.
Hegel's famous dialectical theory is that the antithesis of a thesis is bound to develop and emerge. So, as the antithesis of his detached being, his suppressed social being inevitably emerged in an unexpected way when it was wronged by his circumstances and ignored by his cool persona for too long. His earlier enlightenment offered no solution in this respect and it caught up with him in a big way--he was depressed.
I can only imagine the shock he experienced when his former belief system was crushed so relentlessly. After all, he can't stay worry-free and unbothered by his sense of being wronged. Years of mindfulness practice  still couldn't fend off his tumultuous emotions.
Being honest, he exposed his vulnerabilities to us without reservation and made his struggles relatable to all of us. Who isn't dealing with a suppressed identity of their own? We are dialectical in nature to begin with. When we profess one being, then our other beings will be suppressed. If we don't recognize our hidden selves and take care of them, then some of them will force their way to our consciousness and wreak havoc.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Let's not forget that there is still the third part in Hegel's theory: after the antithesis emerges, the thesis and antithesis will synthesize and a new thesis will emerge. So out of this depression, we can see that a new Hua Hua has already appeared. He has reconnected with his social being, he is close to his friends, his world is suddenly “filled with colors when smiles bloom”. He is taking care of his social being more than ever while still holding on to his former beliefs about universal perspective and universal love. He has deconstructed his old world and started a brand new world.
No matter how gloomy his songs are, they always end on a brighter note and his struggles are never pointless. He always emerges stronger like he has a thousand times before when growing up. We can count on him for that. I am looking forward to witnessing his journey of self-exploration and discovery because it has always been an upward spiral.
References:  "Who Am I" Promotion Clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doU1YcWOXh8&feature=youtu.be  "An Idol Should Be Like This" at 17:11. He said he has been practicing meditation for seven or 8 years in 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXP-USR4_q0
Counter darkness with gentleness, dispel depression with understandings, usher in beauties with a smile— these are what Hua Chenyu is looking forward to. As the song specially written for people suffering depression in the "Trilogy of Mars", "I Really Want to Love This World / I'm Here" conveys Hua Chenyu's sensibility and understanding of this world and his respect towards and his love of life. We hope everyone can meet the beauty of this world in love and goodness.
Hua Hua posted a Weibo a while ago. He wrote:
《I Really Want to Love This World / I'm Here》 is the first song in the Mars trilogy I wrote this year. It's about depression. People who are suffering depression are very afraid of being considered as "quite normal" and being ignored. When a day comes that he is willing to tell you that he may be sick, that proves he is taking you as a very important person to him. Therefore at that time, please don't say as a first reaction things like "I feel you are fine, you look quite normal usually." Please be aware that right after you say that, it may let him have anxiety towards the world and people. If you are a friend who is about to be sick or is already sick, I really hope this song can offer some warmth. If you are having a great life, I really hope that you can offer care to friends who are or about to be sick.