Today, in search of a more suitable environment, I walked into a certain library of a prestigious university. Upon opening the door, I discovered my selection to be sorely disappointing. The staircase was lit glowing white with each step, the walls neutrally colored, and the books informative, efficient, and worse of all… new. I found the scene entirely disagreeable, and promptly left to my current residence, a neighborhood bar. Now, beer in hand, I feel both comfortable and more free to write, despite the place still retaining a too clean atmosphere. Funny how the company of a bartender proves more enlightening then society’s “shining” youth.
Now, a thought has been arousing me on the age in which we live and the people in which live in it. I try to refrain from the trap of nostalgia and it’s seemingly glorious past, but at times, I can’t help but wonder that with every passing year, day in fact, second let’s say, the human spirit is growing further from the truth and in turn, growing more and more miserable; unknowingly of course, but miserable nevertheless. The distractions of technology and all it’s interesting little toys have proved very effective in keeping the screaming soul contained. And yet, it is in the bar that I find the most truest spirits, for alcohol has a tendency to lift the veil of fallacy and bring fourth the real human inside. It is in those moments that I find a longing so real, and so vividly desperate, that I can’t help but shudder when I see the same individual another day, happily going about some petty business. Quite a clever trap we’ve set up for ourselves, and those who see past it are by far the freest of our kind albeit melancholy; but these kind are rare, and I fear, growing more rare as time “progresses”. Which brings me to a thought… Why, if perhaps life is just an illusion, some kind of training ground for the soul, are the human spirits growing more unaware? Should it not be the opposite? Maybe not. If you consider the cycle of life and death, with entropy the supposed valid order, then it makes sense to suggest that the spirit is degrading, and will reach some kind of death, in which, at least I hope, a new birth will be initiated and true growth observed. But what about now? You see, the latter is future talk, and a fatal game to play, as entropy is only another illusion, and this moment is the only reality we’ll ever have. If you consider that view, then is it possible to rear humanity back on track, to a better state, a more pure existence? Happier? Joyous? And above all, understanding?
Let’s examine this. One on hand, a man may work his entire life to alter the consciousness of those around him, with a good heart and good motive. However, I suspect that man, on the end of his life, will look upon it and realize that the moments of true connection were those most worthy, and all the fight and fire to change the masses were time ill spent, and hardly worth the effort. So, do you sit back and let it fall to fire? Is it advisable to do nothing? Nay, I declare just the opposite. To do nothing is to complain whilst living in the complaint, but I suggest that if you find a particular mode of living untrue, then you do all in your power to live alternatively, and proudly say, “Yes, this is a good way” and go about your business without the pestering and the nagging. If I’ve learned one thing, it is this: You cannot change man, you can only influence. Keeping this in mind, it is not to radical to say that the best way to bring fourth change is to prove it by example. Those interested will come, let the rest be what they may.
I caution on interpreting that statement too literally, as I believe, and practice, that it’s always worth it to suggest a different perspective, on closed ears or otherwise. Try gently, I say, but don’t push. Offer your opinion as your own and not as right and the other wrong. For example, a man in business spending long days and very often nights, worrying and planning, for the sake of profit, for the sake of personal gain, happens to spy you happily humming about on the lawn of your little home, tending to a garden. Curious after a particularly trying afternoon, he shouts, “Hey you, why are you so damn happy? You live in a shack, you’re laboring in this blistering sun, and for what? I can buy those vegetables any time I please, without the work!” You look up from the soil, still in a pleasing mood, and state, “Indeed, you can buy the veggies and more, but without work? It seems to me that you toil far harder then I, and the labor is far more difficult and wasting. Perhaps you should join me for a evening fire, and relax a bit?” Mostly, the business man will grudgingly waddle off, but once in a while, he’ll join and maybe, he’ll really join you, in both intellect and realization.
Which brings me to a common counter argument. They say, “Well, you have to eat! You have to make a living somehow? Right?” Yes and no. It takes far less money to live quite blissfully then most care to recognize. The “needs” of the masses are not actually needs, but tend to be frivolous pleasures and luxuries. Not to say these are bad. I myself enjoy petty indulgences now and then, but at the same time, I see them as just: petty. Easily I could cast away every little luxury I possess, and without attachment or grief; adjusting my lifestyle to any kind of circumstance. I say, don’t value money too much, and if you have it, you mine as well spend it on things that bring good experience, good friends, and a bit of fun. There is nothing more distasteful then the hoarding of money. You may perish tomorrow, and those riches be worth just what they’re worth in your grave. No, instead live in the time right now, and while it’s advisable to consider some future situations, it is not recommended to dwell in “what-if” scenarios and speculations. Going back to money, in what situations is it productive to make it? I declare the only time it is beneficial to the soul is when the motivation is for the act of the job, and not the pursuit of dollars. I share this view with many other philosophers, including Thoreau, of whom I am very fond. It is not without reason. I’ve observed that when profit is the hunted and the hunter is the labored, the weight of sorrow and confusion settles on the brow, and the spirit remains in turmoil, only quieted in the distractions of so called “life”.
So, I declare to pursue employment in which the heart sings, and the mind is settled, and the soul relieved. No matter the amount paid, you can adjust very simply and find that life is more enjoyable without the dead things and destitute work. And you’ll know when you are doing right, and be happy to do so. This is not to say that all pursuits of employment are grand or charitable. But how would the world be different if we did away with the countless department stores, the silly malls, and better yet, the body-killing fast food chains? We don’t need men to tend to these. We need men to do away with them! So, I say, do what your heart dictates, and be merry, for once.
So as long as I live, I’ll support this, and try my best to live it throughly and respectively. To know that truth lie not here, but there, in the hiraeth of the soul, in the longing for re-connection.