Archive for philosophical rambling

LIFE AT THE ZOO

Posted in musings, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by kimmy

 

Lethargic polar bears lounging on plastic icebergs?  Check.  Tigers pacing back and forth?  Check.  Chimps flinging poo at bystanders? Check.  Make no mistake, dear reader;  you’re living at the zoo. 

I don’t normally do it, but today I let down my guard.  Maybe it was the cars scurrying down the road like rats, their metal box chassis caging the occupants inside.  Or maybe it was a larger picture… Humans swarming like insects over the planet, grouping together in virtual cages of tribe, ethnicity and nation.  But suddenly I felt trapped in a dirty smelly enclosure and wondered who or what put me there.

I used to think higher reasoning and culture were the hallmarks of our society.  Now I think otherwise.  It’s not art or philosophy highlighted on the front page of my browser.  It’s conflict.  What quarrelsome creatures we are.  No wonder we’re forced to live small.  If we had the ability to move beyond our cage into the vastness of space, we’d bring all our nasty habits with us.  Who in their right mind would adopt us into the Federation of Planets?  We’re worse than Romulans and the Borg combined.

Is high function subject to the animal?  Maybe George Orwell was right;  Some of the people I saw in the grocery store this morning did remind me of cows.  Everyone was sedately herded through the aisles and funneled into the cashier’s lanes like sheep.  We all took our bags and walked out to our cars as if we lived in Farmer Hoggett’s barn.  I sort of expected a beatific voice to say to us all, “That’ll do, pigs.  That’ll do.”

Except there are no rousing cheers when we perform on cue.  There are, however, painful reminders of what might happen if we don’t.  Think about it.  Countless laws, restrictions, prohibitions, taboos all designed to keep us orderly and we observe them, terrified of the consequences here and in the hereafter.

And yet…  there are those who refuse to be bound by such measures.  Those fat polar bears lounging on public largesse?  Corporate hoarders.  Those chimpanzees hurling dung in your face?  Zealots.  Hungry tigers eager to kill and devour?  War mongerers.  We might delude ourselves into thinking that these troublemakers are safely behind bars.  The problem is that we’re locked up with them.

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DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

Posted in musings, relationships, social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2009 by kimmy

I couldn’t help but feel a tremendous amount of empathy for him because I know exactly what he’s undergoing.  If there was an easier route, we’d take it.  However, how many of us really know where we’re headed when pain grips so tightly that all vision is temporarily halted?

Having been through it more than a few times, I know that the reward on the other side is much greater than the effort.  However, first-timers are often overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenge.  It seems insurmountable, but that’s only an illusion concocted by the players.  If you extricate yourself before intermission, the ensemble will be short an actor and the drama suspended, causing resentment among those left onstage.  Pity we can’t send in an understudy…

Not that he would be welcomed.  A pinch-hitter is only as good as his predecessor.  It’s unlikely that he’s aped your habits well enough to fool the audience, or the blood demands of your fellow thespians.  So you must choose between your own wellbeing and that of the show.  Which will go on?

Of course the problem is that the longer the show goes on, the harder it is to leave it.  It’s like a long-running stage contract in Las Vegas or a sitcom with endless residuals.  It’s difficult to leave the steady paycheck and familiar routine.   And yet even these may not be enough for you, especially when you’re alerted to something greater beyond them.

Hence the quandry, which in essence is not conflict between others, but internal strife.  When you realize that the hot mess you’re in is of your own creation, suddenly you have no one to blame and the long watch begins.  It’s a lonely black night sitting with yourself, ruminating on all the detours you’ve taken.  You might rail against all those choices, despairing over your inability to hit the bull’s eye.  But who of us do on the first try?

You might feel ashamed that you didn’t learn sooner and had to involve so many people in your journey.  But how can you thank those who are ignorant of the role they’ve played?  Or angry and dismissive when you do?  No amount of explanation, however earnest, will convince them.  Just as you have, they must discover these subtleties on their own.

And they will… in time.  But for now you must sit quietly in the dark and wait.  The light of understanding will come, not carried on a tray by a rowdy host of friends and family, but slowly over the horizon.

THE WAITING ROOM

Posted in musings, writing with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2009 by kimmy

I’ve been here so long that it’s beginning to feel like home.  What is it about interminable waiting that makes it so irksome?  The tedium?  The powerlessness?  Or knowing that you’re being shaped for some unknown purpose?

It’s been said that patience is a virtue, albeit one that is not terribly popular.  In a world of instant gratification, it’s difficult to cheerfully bear the passage of time without thinking about loss.  Shouldn’t it be put to better use?

But I often wonder if the tasks we undertake in the interim are just distractions.   We can persuade ourselves that the mindless job at hand is important and needs to be done.   But we’ve done it so many times that it’s rote and before we can stop it, we’re already daydreaming.

Are we so desperate to escape the monotony that we’ll invent virtually anything to keep us occupied?  I used to think that patience was the hallmark of the the weak-willed, but after having been recently forced to it, I realize it takes steel and a considerable amount of perseverance.  It’s a lot easier to run off and indulge in a whim than to exercise self-discipline and wait until conditions change.  Easier, that is, until you discover that your premature action has jeopardized the goal and you’re left with nothing.

So what do you do?  Push the envelope and risk a lifetime of regret?  Or, take your lumps now and wait until your objective is realized, happily spending the rest of your life free of the pangs of conscience?

REVISIONISTS, UNITE!

Posted in musings, social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by kimmy

Don’t be caught with your pants down!  Deny everything.  There’s no crime in backpedalling and re-imagining the facts; it’s the most popular pasttime in the US.

Just think of the possibilities. . . reconstructing entire years of your life, alternate explanations for your behavior, re-assignment of fault, disposal of responsibility. . . don’t they just make your mouth water?  Finally, you can take charge and repaint yourself in more favorable light.

Gone are those days wasted in brutal self-examination.  Instead, think of yourself as a practical impressionist, sketching wildly imaginative self-portraits, each one crazier than the next.  Who cares if it’s a mess of indeciferable colors and themes?  A statement that bold and unintelligible is sure to delight art circles.

No longer will you languish, a prisoner of conscience.  Throw it all away!  Take up your rightful place as a member of the guerilla narcisissists and pledge to defeat all idealogues.  Those namby-pambies make us all look bad; aren’t you just sick of their convictions?  No doubt that when we have routed them by our sheer numbers, they will recant and enlarge our ranks.  It’s up to us to force them to eschew the Middle Way and to adopt proper self-seeking, without which we might never identify the bad from the goody two shoes.

And when you’ve finished slashing your way through the facts, when your friends, family and colleagues are all scratching their heads, stop and observe all you’ve accomplished.  Relish the skewed vision and destruction left in your wake.  These are the moments that only the truly self-absorbed can appreciate.