Tuesday, December 29, 2009


At the end of the day what is it that keeps you going? At the top there’s fame, fortune and power. At the opposite end of the spectrum there’s peace, humanity and humility. What falls in-between? What falls somewhere left or right or moderately in the middle? You can talk about your career, your family and even what you ate that day. There are the aspirations you think you long for, the aspirations you know you long for and then the ideas that sort of float around your head just waiting for someone to connect with them. Are you sure of yourself? Is anyone? Then there’s that question about life and it’s meaning. Do we live to work or do we work to live? It comes down to the cultural aspects on the broadest level, trickling down to your region, your city, your neighborhood and then your family and friends. It’s a societal influence but also an economical influence. Who says the rich man can spend time with the poor man without being seen as a saint or an exploiter? Can you narrow it down to a pessimistic versus optimistic view?

He likes making money. She likes growing plants. He likes giving to his family. She likes giving to strangers. Is anyone right? Wrong? Violence prevails because some think it garners order. Others know the pain and suffering it creates and see the complete opposite. But there is no single way to solve these problems and arguments. They’re the same arguments that our ancestors of the past dealt with. The only difference is that societal interaction has complicated life generation after generation.

Should we think we’re better than the unknown tribes that still have yet to be found? The ones who live off the land and know technology – that is if the word even exists in their vocabulary – as a sharpened stick or the ignition of the campsite’s heat source? We’re civilized people, we tell ourselves, sitting at our computers and reading about the world’s news. We want to be connected, constantly know what is happening - feeding ourselves information we won’t store for more than a few days. Soon enough it will float to some odd corner of our brain, never to be touched again. That is, unless something triggers our vast memory and collection of tidbits of information. It might take a year or so for it to happen, but when it does something clicks, something resonates with you once again.

It could be a small visual you see walking down the street or the smell in the air as you sit in your car. The taste of a meal that you haven’t consumed in forever – so you tell yourself – might bring you back to that moment in the past you enjoyed so deeply.

We’re a moving bunch – a nomadic bunch of people who want to see it all and be it all. Maybe not everybody, but in the grand scheme of life it’s true. Some just stick to a closer radius than others. They cover the same ground and see the same people, but they’re still digging deeper into those few square feet or few individuals they interact with. The level of “knowing” someone or something or somewhere is dependent on what defines “knowing.”

Is knowing the ability to catalog every moment and occurrence with pinpoint accuracy? Allowing you to bring up any detail of your life faster than a Google search or Wikipedia? We like speed and ease these days, you know. Everything needs to be at our fingertips, zooming as fast as it can so we can stop waiting. Whoever said patience is a virtue probably never lived their life, right? Sitting in a lofty chair, telling others what to do while the world moves on without them. They had a preconception of what life is, when really life is all about what you experience through your own body and soul.

We are born with just ourselves and we die with just ourselves. We may come from a womb and even the joint chromosomes of our mother and father, but in the end it is just you. We meet people along the way, pick up ideas and religions, passions and desires, aspirations and goals that may or may not stem from our own thoughts. Yet our thoughts are only as good as what we have experienced. What we think is ours is merely the affect others have had on us. We form our character from whom we are around. Those wise words actually do work sometimes – “You are the company that you keep.”

How can something so catchy be so true? Or is it? It’s as true as we let it be. It’s as true as our friends and family believe, or even our enemies and strangers. We read what we want to read because it bolsters our own idea and the ideas that surround us. Fluctuating between ideas and ideals, we’re malleable and flawed. Nothing is permanent or perfect - that’s a universal consensus, right? But what’s it matter about universality when really, all we truly care about, is ourselves? Where we end up, how we present ourselves, what we do – is it selfish or is it thoughtful? Good or evil, are these the only choices? Or are we free to make what we want out of it all?

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