Authentic Ramblings

How can we live authentic lives unless we utilize our talents? How can we live significant lives unless we’re needed? And how can we live a life of meaning when we’re merely a statistic performing robotic routines?

If a factory makes bread, it’s staffed by replaceable button pushers. Whereas if an artisan is the primary source of bread, she’s well-known, a respected craftsman within the community, someone who’s missed when gone.

Why are we here? To increase our collective efficiency at pushing buttons? Or is it to live authentically, performing the tasks that make us special? If efficiency is our goal, then strictly regulated societies start to make sense, or even eugenics, or ultimately robotics.

But why live on a lush and scenic planet within capable bodies just to sit indoors pushing buttons? Should we disperse into small communities comprised of vital members whose combined labor makes existence possible for the whole?

Of course there are problems with small communities, so travel and relocation must be an option or else they become like prison colonies. But of course the output from factories has the potential to provide even greater opportunities, far beyond subsistence farming.

Perhaps it’s not the actual tasks we perform, or the location in which we perform them, but the value attributed to the task. Perhaps the denigration of certain tasks by the greater community causes issues of insignificance and meaninglessness within the performer.

A well-functioning community can’t criticize idleness on one hand and disrespect avenues of labor on the other. Members must respect the work their community makes available. And part of that respect is ensuring that work provides a living — a means to not only survive, but thrive.

A community must respect the entire chain of labor all the way down to the simplest task. All work relies on the work of others, on a foundation of combined contribution. People must appreciate the labor of one another as that is where meaning and significance originates.

Village Assignment

If in a small eco-village of the future, how would you contribute to the group?

Although I can be a bit of a handyman, I think my strength has always been thinking. But of course, are thoughts enough to warrant my allotment of resources? There are a few thinking-based tasks I believe I could perform, these are:

Mediator: when there’s conflict I can be an impartial voice of reason, seeking fairness and satisfaction for all sides, including the greater community.

Troubleshooter: when there’s a dilemma, I can help find a fix. I’m very methodical in my problem-solving approach, as well as dedicated to finding a workable solution. Plus I tend to have an intuitive sense of what’s wrong.

Philosopher: why should this or that be done, I can provide the logical reasoning to underlie any endeavor.

Spiritual advisor: existential angst and wondering “why are we here?” can affect any of us, and I can help those in need develop an understanding that comforts and supports their earthly existence.

Counselor: when thoughts and ideas lead to dissatisfaction, I can help those in need find more supportive ways to think.

Economic and political advisor: how should things be run and distributed, even on a small scale, issues can arise, and I can help in the planning of these systems.

No I don’t farm, herd, cook, engineer, or even lead, but a group of sufficient size requires a mechanism of cohesion. And when we examine the essence of cohesion, it’s really just a set of beliefs shared amongst a group. In other words, ideas form the foundation of a society. And a thriving society requires concepts that nourish the whole — to this end it needs thoughtful watchmen maintaining a bedrock of wholesome ideals, sentinels that react to any sign of dangerous division. I am a man of thought, a guardian of the mind, and this is what I provide.

Formalities of Life

I’m not a fan of the formal layer of life. I don’t like hierarchies or titles. I don’t like identifying people by professions or positions. I feel silly interacting with people when they’re acting out a role, it’s artificial, and I’m not skilled at playing along. And I find it odd to see woven material and other accoutrements used as symbols of status.

I’d personally like to see this layer of pretend stripped away. But I’m guessing others must love it, as it’s so prevalent and so many seem to be going along with it. For them, I suppose it makes life more orderly, perhaps easier to deal with, or maybe more entertaining. To me it just seems juvenile. I think the world would get along fine without formalized roles.

If others want to play dress-up I suppose that’s their right, but I don’t think everyone should be forced to honor their games. I don’t like being relegated to a particular role and I don’t like confining others to such limiting definitions. I think a human-being should be a human-being, that’s it, nothing more and nothing less.

I think it’s time we moved on from the game of treating others in particular ways because of contrived protocols. We’re all human-beings and every single one of us should be afforded the full capacity of decency and respect that we apply to any other. Those wishing to play odd little games can do so in a room somewhere, leaving me and anyone who so chooses out of it.

Ordered Layering

Thinking about the 4 layers of life a bit more, I’d like to see people put more emphasis on the human-being layer while de-emphasizing the citizen layer. So instead of focusing on procedures and minor differences, people would focus on the core relationship we have with one another.

It’s nice when people care about others regardless of superficial differences. To me at least, it seems more appropriate to relate to people on a more human to human level. It seems so odd to relate via an artificial layer of titles and positions and accoutrement — it feels fake and forced, like we’re playing a global game of dress-up. Even a child to a parent is just one human-being to another.

As far as the apelike layer, I think we should work on keeping him healthy and relatively satisfied, yet relegate his role to that of vehicle for the greater humanness contained within. What people look like and how they’re dressed should be insignificant compared to what they think and feel inside. And our internal ideas must be vigilantly vetted, as we should strive toward the higher nature of our humanness.

On the layer of consciousness is where we monitor ourselves to ensure adherence to this precedence of layering. We would dismantle ideas promoting savagery and division while elevating ideas of compassion and cooperation. And on this layer we ensure that the pretend comes to an end, reinforcing that cloth is just cloth, that borders are squiggles on paper, and that colors are mere shades on a spectrum.

Uneven Layers

In reference to the 4 layers of life, it seems as though most of my time is spent on the layer of consciousness. I don’t really appreciate the other layers, and tend to complain when directly engaged with them.

My vehicle is a small economical model that’s not much to look at. It runs okay but won’t win any races. I’m not big on upkeep, so it’s a little messy and has its dings. I don’t like taking it out because it just gets overrun by the more aggressive vehicles and frankly I just don’t like driving.

As a citizen, I barely register, figuratively and literally. I study how societal systems operate and maintain an awareness of current events, but I lack interest in direct participation. I see flaws and malfunctioning everywhere on this layer and find it difficult to grasp from a purely logical perspective.

As a human-being, I tend to lack interest in empathy and compassion — it’s a difficult layer due to my pessimistic nature, because if I look around I tend to see and imagine all the suffering of others, so it’s a bit much to reconcile. In some ways though, I’ve grown more fond of this layer over time.

As an observer, I sit and contemplate life. This is where I’m comfortable. But if the other layers didn’t exist, I’d have nothing to think about, nothing I could relate to. Because I have all the experiences and faculties of humanness, I have plenty of fodder for thought.

Layer Cake

Think of life as having several layers. On one layer, there’s the apelike creature that ambles about on a big rock. On another layer, there’s a citizen who’s part of a society. On a third layer, there’s a being that’s part of an interconnected network of humanity. And on a fourth layer, there’s a self-observing consciousness witnessing all these ongoings. Combined, all these layers make up our experience here on Earth.

The apelike layer contains the anxious little beast that stuffs his face with food and poops it out. He’s the vehicle that allows all the other layers to interface with Earth, he’s essential, but he’s susceptible to wear and tear and breaks down a lot. Some people have really flashy vehicles with great performance while others are stuck with clunkers.

The citizen layer contains the cultural trappings, the boundaries that define loyalties, and the formalities by which people interact and judge one another. This layer dictates where and how people live and sets rules to manage cooperation and resources.

The human-being layer contains the sense of shared heritage with humankind. On this layer, emotions look past superficial differences to perceive the core of humanity within. Feelings such as sadness and joy are universally recognized, while compassion reaches out to those in need.

The layer of consciousness contains pure awareness, he’s the audience watching it all happen. He weaves life’s events into a narrative, a story to tell himself. His interpretation determines how much he enjoys what he sees. If he takes it all too seriously or expects a particular outcome, he’ll tend to have a bad time.