Orchestrated Reality

The means to success, what constitutes a healthy diet, the definition of proper exercise, the way to happiness, what’s beautiful, politeness and the treatment of others, optimal social structures, one’s place in the world, how life began — these are all opinions that change based on era and culture.

In other words, reality is just popular opinion — it’s fashionable. And since we all see reality differently, we get a mishmash, a confusing cacophony of certainty. It’s as if musicians played their own tunes by their own tempos all at the same time. It’s absurdity incarnate.

Harmony is agreement on a definitive reality. It’s the adoption of a common score while abandoning one’s personal notions. Without this unifying agreement and accompanying adherence, there can only be discordance.

As in an orchestra, some form into sections, harmonizing amongst themselves. But with sections competing, the dissonance grows. Underlying every note played must be a commitment to the overall orchestration, a respect for each and every participant and role.

Without Forgiveness

I’ve lashed out in anger, I’ve insulted, I’ve behaved selfishly. These actions happened without my conscious consultation — in these instances I did not want to act in the manner I did. Therefore, how can I blame others for their transgressions? Are they not equally powerless?

Who is to blame then, but life itself, the creator of our circumstances. We need not forgive others, they’ve done nothing, just as we’ve done nothing. And we need not forgive life, for without life there is nothingness.

The desire for forgiveness is a misunderstanding. Life happens, and we react. We’re hungry, we eat. We’re injured, we heal. Then if abused, should we not seek reparation? We did not bring about our own existence, we own nothing, we owe nothing.

How can we be responsible for something we know so little about? Life is something we observe, not direct. To be satisfied with life we must acknowledge our lack of agency — and in doing so we appreciate the lack of agency in others.

Mission Accomplished

My life doesn’t usually go as planned. Otherwise it would appear drastically different. And of course that results in disappointment. But were my plans even that great? Maybe it’s better they didn’t work out. Oftentimes things don’t live up to expectations, or they quickly become boring.

Besides, we don’t get to keep any of this life-stuff. Memories last longer than the circumstances that created them. What life gives us, is not the silly trinkets or the cliched accomplishments, but an engaging storyline.

Something didn’t work out? Great, you just received a plot twist, a surge of emotion, a moment of interest, a memory — you just got entertained. We know life isn’t about physical objects or goals because those things don’t last, they’re not meant to.

Life is like a bunch of dreams strung together. It’s a series of brief interactions with different aspects of the world. Nothing lasts, it all comes and goes while we move from one scene to the next. No matter what happens, we fulfill our lives through observation — that’s it.

Are you watching? Congratulations! Mission accomplished!

Unknown Variable

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Solve For X.

We were at war with adults. Parents, teachers, the government, corporations — every adult was suspect. Our movies, our music, our way of life all said we were on our own.

Through the Vietnam conflict we saw the young shipped off to die. We viewed the government as a corrupted enemy of the people. The war on drugs was a war on us. We saw corporations sell our livelihoods out from under us, the lifestyles our parents enjoyed were shipped overseas. We weren’t the consumer, but the consumed. Our cities became post-apocalyptic crime-ridden cesspools. This was the world we inherited. And so we were aptly named, Generation X, the unknown variable.

But what would we become, this angsty skeptical generation of loners fending for themselves. We have no unity, no loyalties, no voice, no power, forgotten between two giant generations. But in our undefined state we find definition, a world weary wanderer seeking a peaceful home. As a disenfranchised generation longing to fit in, we seek comfort and calm within a turbulent world.

And so we, the generation left to its own devices, raise our children with an attentive eye. No tear goes unwiped, we nurse, we hug, we discipline with care. We provide our children the warmth we lacked. We stumble of course, being a gruff and grumpy group, but from our failings we try harder, obsessed with not repeating the ways of our parents.

Blessed are the peacemakers, so we will find our place in this world. Still the middle child, we have yet to bloom into full maturity. We are needy for love, and with nothing to lose we are willing to give every bit of ourselves to find it. Through our tribulations we’re adding resiliency to our brittle toughness. Our part in this equation has only begun.

Happy Unions

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Wandering Monk.

To the religious amongst us I ask: are we not spirit wrapped in flesh? Then is marriage not the union of two souls? Then what is the religious controversy over same-gender marriage?

Those with a religious perspective cannot on one hand esteem the spirit and on the other reject it. If anything, same-gender marriage shows the power of spirit over flesh, that despite physical and social obstacles, two souls are willing to struggle to live as one.

The travesty therefore, is not this sacred union, but the divisive disgust shown toward fellow beings. And for what reason? To express smug satisfaction while declaring oneself more righteous than his neighbor?

If God has issue, let Him judge. To condemn others for mutual acts of love is inhumane. It is to invalidate their human experience. We are on Earth for but a short while, let us endeavor to support one another’s aspirations, not destroy them.

As was said: Judge not, lest you be judged by the same standard — a hypocrite is one that judges the imperfections of others while he himself falls short of perfection.

As was also said: I was hungry and you gave me no food. I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger and you gave me no welcome. I was without even clothes and you gave me nothing. I was sick and you gave me no care. I was imprisoned and you gave me no solace. Then they will say, Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, as a stranger, unclothed, sick, or imprisoned? Then He will answer them, saying: Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you gave not to the least of my brethren, you gave not to me. And these hard-hearted will go into everlasting punishment while the givers go into eternal life.

Worthwhile World

Are we to be but beasts, fiercely competing for scraps? Clawing and scratching our way to the top of a mountain of meaninglessness? What a wicked world indeed. Or shall we let our higher nature light the way? Friendliness and collaboration, endeavoring toward a unified whole.

By no means is sameness humanity’s goal. Groups and roles are not our plague, but divisiveness, that corrosive ire that divides based on disgust. Through fear, an implement of division, we are dispersed into an us-versus-them.

We must therefore dismantle our worries while instilling a sense of dignity for all. It is defiance to trepidation, mixed with an urge to cooperate, that underlies unity. Let us be ever willing to extend our hands in greeting, aid, and comfort.

We must trust in the goodwill of others lest this be a worthless world. Who desires mere survival? If our amiable efforts are for naught then existence is a waste, a trite distraction and nothing more. For that reason, never shrink from the consequence of giving, as it is our sacrifice that fulfills us.

Without Waste

Imagine you’re walking through a park and you see a big steaming pile of excrement. You start to smell it, in fact it’s all you can focus on, ew. You’re so distracted that you don’t even see the smaller pile right in front of you — squish, you step on some. Despite your attempts to wipe it off in the grass, some fecal bits follow you home.

Now it’s as if turd has become a major part of your life. You smell and see it everywhere. Gross. For some of us, this is a common theme of life: we focus on the worst aspects of the world. What was a mere byproduct takes center stage, like glaring at the noisy guy in the theatre instead of watching the actual movie.

Decades passed before I realized I was doing this. To me, the world was a horrible place filled with infinite unpleasantries, and danger lurked around every corner. I don’t see the world this way anymore. Yes feces is everywhere, and yes I may even step in it, but so what? Instead of looking down, I look up. I see the sun shining through the trees, the glistening water, I hear the songs of birds.

Waste matter no longer defines my life. And if you think about it, excretions are so often a source of delight — comedy is full of it. So in that sense, there are little piles of laughter waiting around every corner — how’s that for positivity? If we look at life lightheartedly, anything can become a source of amusement.