Anxiety is a function of what is, what could’ve been, would could be and the unknowing how much time is left before the lights go out — forever.
A volcano is a clue that links the human inward and the non-human outward. A volcano is the source of rich soil, fresh glacial streams, abundant forests and wild life. It is also the source of complete and total destruction. But eternal processes don’t distinguish creation from destruction — creation and destruction are synonymous
What generated a sense of excitement in your childhood? Well, there was the belief in Bigfoot. You used to go on those excursions with your friend in the woods behind the neighborhood searching for the beast. There was also the belief in Santa Clause and the reindeer…the Tooth Fairy…the Easter bunny…the Great Pumpkin. Too bad these all turned out to be a bunch of lies. Why do parents need to make up lies and fairy tales? Is it because the reality and truth of human momentum is devoid of excitement? Is adulthood really that bad…forcing us to make-believe with our children? Perhaps…instead of lies…we could talk about some real significant humans and human achievement and celebrate that…or…there is an abundance of beauty and mystery to celebrate in the inhuman sphere.
There were lots of real adventures that got the heart pumping. Those secret missions at night, once the parents were asleep…sneaking out to egg and toilet paper neighborhood homes. Remember that time you and xxxxxxx poured gasoline on the neighbor’s firewood pile, set it aflame, and then proceeded to be firemen putting out the blaze? Remember how fast your heart was pumping when the cops rolled into your driveway? The approaching storms were invigorating. You would watch them approaching from the front porch…the lightening…the thunder…the swirling dark clouds…the tornado warnings. Remember when your brothers used to make you punch some random kid so they could watch a fight? How mean. But, it did get your adrenaline flowing,,,right?
Man, all the fun and enjoyment you had outdoors. Remember catching fire flies in your hands on a warm summer night? Remember building snowmen, snow forts, throwing snowballs at moving cars and running as fast as you could when they slammed on the brakes? All those games…kick the can…tag…war…bikes…big wheels…tackle football in the snow…playing for hours outside until dusk…when mom blew the whistle three times to let us know it was time for dinner. Remember the public swimming pool…when we would pick a corner in the deep end and as a group jump in with cannon ball form…blowing away all the would be swimmers…the corner would be ours. We called it…the Bermuda Triangle…lmao.
There were more memories of feeling excitement and being alive. Remember that trip to the Cayman Islands? You went skinny dipping with your brothers at night during a full moon. That beautiful water, light but dark…swimming in terror and excitement. Remember the horror movies, the haunted houses, the damn scary pirate mask that your brothers terrorized you with…the vivid nightmares? Remember that one night…when you thought about being dead forever…and you almost grasped what that meant? The fall…the leaves changing…jumping in piles of colorful leaves. And King, the family dog…a real dog…Norwegian elkhound…such a spirit…always finding ways to escape and roam free for days.
These are the broad memories of your childhood…the important ones…when you felt excitement…when you felt alive. I find it very interesting and telling…that the majority of this excitement was outside…not indoors. Indoors was the place to eat and sleep and get warm. Other than that…the indoors was simply a means to prepare to go outdoors…and live. There was also a little bit of trouble…mischievousness…freedom to roam…and some disappointment in the adults or culture…the lies…the fairy tales…the cover-up…the misdirected celebrations. But all in all, it was a good lively childhood…mainly spent outdoors…or so that is…all that I remember.
It is not nearly enough to just be awake. Your current awareness is analogous to a patient waking up in a hospital bed after a decade-long coma. No, you are being too hard on and critical of yourself. You gave the momentum a try – it just isn’t for you. Regardless, now that you are awake, it is time to begin to think about how you will progress forward to living, and then becoming Alive. Since the goal is to become Alive, you need to reflect on what that means. After you have an understanding of what it means to be Alive, then you can begin to chart out a plan to live in order to become Alive.
And you must set realistic expectations. The moments to be Alive are going to be less than the moments to live. The moments to be Alive, given the momentum, have to be earned through pain, patience, and the precious expense of energy. In order to define what it is to be Alive, for you, a reflection into the past is essential. And the past can be broken up into broad periods – childhood, teens, twenties, thirties, and now. In each of these periods, you need to think about when you felt truly Alive. When did you feel the intensity and lust of being? When did you feel the delicate…the sublime? When did you experience the dark…the light? It is the extremes we are looking for here, not the norm, not the grey area that we expense most of our waking moments and energy. What were the mountain peaks…the deep dark chasms? Of course, childhood may be somewhat innocent and devoid of dark chasms, but nevertheless, this is where you need to begin.
This is the final background piece before I begin posting journal-like entries. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe is another poet, artist, or may I say universal man, that had a great influence on me. This poem, written a few years before his death, may be directed towards the young about ready to enter life and I find this piece to be quite poignant and wise. This piece is a potential remedy or a solution to overcome my utopian day dreams, excuses, and aggravation with the general human momentum. It is my intention and desire that my journal-like writings lead to more consciousness and action in the spirit of this eternal piece of wisdom.
No living atom comes at last to naught!
Active in each is still the eternal Thought:
Hold fast to Being if thou wouldst be blest.
Being is without end; for changeless laws
Bind that from which the All its glory draws
Of living treasures endlessly possessed.
Unto the wise of old this truth was known,
Such wisdom knit their noble souls in one;
Then hold thou still the lore of ancient days!
To that high power thou ow’st it, son of man,
By whose decree the earth its circuit ran
And all the planets went their various ways.
Then inward turn at once thy searching eyes;
Thence shalt thou see the central truth arise
From which no lofty soul goes e’er astray;
There shalt thou miss no needful guiding sign-
For conscience lives, and still its light divine
Shall be the sun of all thy moral day.
Next shalt thou trust thy senses’ evidence,
And fear from them no treacherous offence
While the mind’s watchful eye thy road commands:
With lively pleasure contemplate the scene
And roam securely, teachable, serene,
At will throughout a world of fruitful lands.
Enjoy in moderation all life gives:
Where it rejoices in each thing that lives
Let reason be thy guide and make thee see.
Then shall the distant past be present still,
The future, ere it comes, thy vision fill-
Each single moment touch eternity.
Then at the last shalt thou achieve thy quest,
And in one final, firm conviction rest:
What bears for thee true fruit alone is true.
Prove all things, watch the movement of the world
As down the various ways its tribes are whirled;
Take thou thy stand among the chosen few.
Thus hath it been of old; in solitude
The artist shaped what thing to him seemed good,
The wise man hearkened to his own soul’s voice.
Thus also shalt thou find thy greatest bliss;
To lead where the elect shall follow-this
And this alone is worth a hero’s choice.
Whoever cannot seek
the unforeseen sees nothing,
for the known way
is an impasse
where you set
your foot just now
is gone –
those waters giving way to this,
The soul is undiscovered,
though explored forever
to a depth beyond report
Applicants for wisdom
do what I have done:
Just as the river where I step
is not the same, and is,
so I am as I am not
The harmony past knowing sounds
more deeply than the known.
Heraclitus — Fragments
treading on the surface of an eternal bottomless ocean above and below
death perpetually circulating from all directions
You succumb to the myth that Gold is land, security, power, wealth
bow to the pirates and board their ship
to become a slave or yourself a pirate
You expend your death-star fire to swab the deck and man the oar
or lash the whip to bleed others into submission
You drink bottles and bottles of rum to numb the pain
of being whipped or doing the whipping
that you burn your precious death-star fire to make your masters rich
or man a ship with no direction other than to steal Gold from others
Mutiny will not alter the course as you are still on the same ship
different masters and slaves
seeking the same Gold for fools
Summon the courage from the depths
as the storm approaches and the sea boils with offended anger
return to where you began before you boarded the run away ship
Burn your precious death-star fire and pay homage to eternity
Swim man swim
or drown with a smile
My grandfather told me when I was a young boy to be humble. He said, if I ever began to get full of myself to go outside on a clear night when the moon was absent and look up at the stars to gain perspective.
When I was born, my family didn’t have much money. My dad worked for a trucking company where he started as a management trainee on the dock. My dad’s father (the man who told me to look at the stars) was a high school science teacher and football coach and didn’t make much money. But, my grandfather told me he decided to teach as opposed to going into business, because he felt he could make a difference in people’s lives. My parents seemed to look down on that decision to some extent. They thought he chose that profession because he experienced the Great Depression and teaching was a more secure path. After all, why would one chose to make less money if one could make more in business?
At a very young age, prior to third grade, I lived in a nice little house in a nice little neighborhood in Ohio. Kids played outside and there was a small forest behind the homes. Our house was decorated modestly and filled with family photos and things that symbolized something about our life. Everything seemed to make sense.
Time moved on and my dad progressed rapidly up the ranks. When I hit second grade we moved to California due to my dad’s promotion. He was promoted to the second in command for a large Fortune 500 company. Eventually he got the top spot and we moved to a really nice house. This was the house that was backed up against a beautiful nature preserve that I discussed in my previous post “Enigma”.
Along with my dad’s success came noticeable changes in my parents and what decorated the house. The family photos and meaningful things were replaced by modern art-work and decorations that matched the paint, carpet, or furniture. The meaningful things were stored away or hung downstairs in dark hallways or the laundry room or bathrooms. My parents began to travel often, go to events, and wear nicer clothes. I could see that they began to act and think like they had arrived. I used to talk to my grandfather about how strange they are behaving and how I didn’t like the feel of the house. I told him it felt more like a cold museum than a home. He agreed.
Eventually I went off to college that wasn’t too far from my parents. I could visit them on a weekend or during breaks. While I was in college, my dad was let go by the board of directors. Apparently, his decision to buy a large corporation took too long to integrate and turnaround the financial performance.
During my visits after this major event occurred, I saw my dad spending hours slumped in a chair watching TV. Here was a powerful strong man who had lots of money, yet there he sat, utterly deflated, depressed, lifeless, surrounded by meaningless decorative art and things. He spent decades of his energy, passion, and time in an entity that one day decided he was no longer needed.
I asked myself why doesn’t he go enjoy the fruits of his labor and travel, write, read, or whatever he may find of interest. He has no economic barriers to pursue something that he may be passionate about. But there he sat, in that same chair, slumped over watching TV.
And it was at this point that I realized his dad might have never told him to go outside on a clear night when the moon was absent and look up at the stars to gain perspective. And if he did, perhaps my dad simply ignored his advice.
A short post on an important topic — the likely chance life exists elsewhere other than Earth. Scientists recently discovered that there might be billions of planets in our galaxy that are in the habitable zone for life relative to their life-giving suns. Almost 80% of the stars in our galaxy are “Red Dwarfs” which are fainter and cooler than our sun, and based on a sample they have a large number of “rocky” planets orbiting habitable zones. But you can read all the details via the link I post at the end of this short piece. There hasn’t been a lot of media coverage on the discovery, but it has appeared here and there on the major networks to serve as a short break from all the other micro focused stories on our civilization.
If there are billions of potential planets in our galaxy that have the potential to hold water or are located at a habitable distance from their respective suns, then one can extrapolate what that means when considering there are billions of observable galaxies in our “known universe”. It is only a matter of time before we discover that we aren’t the only show in town. So many questions arise when contemplating this reality and what it means relative to our own progress or lack thereof here on planet Earth. And this idea that we are not alone is one of my primary and naive child-like challenges that I pose to people here on Earth. Combine this idea with the other idea that the universe and planet Earth is a very chaotic and violent environment that creates and destroys and creates and destroys regardless of the fact we exist — one must contemplate the value of our daily concerns and to what long-term end they serve.
Given the above realities, what are we doing here on planet Earth? Do our daily or generational or religious or philosophical occupations take these broad realities into account? Or, do we simply go about our business with our heads buried in the sand? Unfortunately, I believe we adhere to the later rather than the former. We are so far astray from an enlightened and directional race or species relative to our potential that one cannot help but classify the human experiment at this point in time as a complete and utter failure. What new information or discoveries are required to awake the consciousness of the human species? What events or catastrophes must occur for us to define more significant and intelligent directions? The boundaries are truly undefined. The only borders are those that we have imposed and continue to impose on ourselves. We must deconstruct our current direction, beliefs, institutions, thoughts, religions, philosophies, economies, within the context of these two broad truths and undiscovered truths, in order to re-set our broad and fungible directions. Otherwise, we will end up like the vast majority of other species on this lonely planet — merely a flash of existence and insignificant within the context of eternity and borderless space and possibilities.