A State of the Union & Death…
People don’t know how to think… and they don’t really want to know how. Maybe that’s just the way it seems… I’m going on 8 months of pretty much sitting at home day after day, not doing much of anything… it’s given me three things, a sore ass, a big divot on the couch and some pretty long stretches where I’ve done nothing but think. Occasionally, to my detriment.. …when the thoughts go spinning off into pointless negativity, you find yourself looking around, grasping, searching for something, anything to change the pattern – something to make the boogeyman go away, unfortunately it’s not that simple.
There’s a certain rhythm that eventually emerges and I think, as a result, I’ve discovered that I have a different gear, a level of contemplation I’ve never had before. Many of us, are too busy living and getting through our days to be offered the chance. I know I was. The days just seemed too short, there was never enough time to cram everything that needed cramming… there was always something at the end of the day you remembered you forgot and it got added to the growing list of stuff you weren’t likely to get to anytime soon.
When I took a vacation or had a much welcomed long weekend, I tried my best to use it wisely, to unwind, to relax – but more often than not it ended up being jam-packed with other equally busy-making activities…. stuff I felt compelled to shoe-horn into the all to brief time off, how many times have you come back from a vacation or long weekend and made the observation you needed a few days off to recuperate? We just get carried away, once that roller coaster safety bar drops down, you are boxed in good and tight and the only thing you can do is throw your hands up in the air and wait till it’s over….
Being extremely critical of human nature, including your own, is fundamental to knowing how to think for yourself. Most are incapable, or at least act as if they are, of being truly rhetorically critical. Rather, most people are just cynical – purely pessimistic. Thinking about our problems is essential to knowing how to find solutions. Learn to think, because you can’t be taught. One thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to think about thought; to be aware of awareness; to be conscious of consciousness. OK I’m trying to not spin-off into some pretty serious navel gazing here, all I’m trying to say is being home, the overwhelming feelings of dis-connectedness from almost everything going on around me eventually lead to some serious self-evaluation. A status report, a state of the nation…
A few times over the past few days and in fact several times since this whole mess started people have told me that I was strong and brave, inspirational even… never have I felt so unworthy…
After some time at home, when I had watched as much TV as one can, cleaned up, downloaded way too much music (somewhere a rapper buys one less gold chain), written a bunch, done what could be done – eventually everything begins to take on a sameness, a monotony, a depressing repetition that I was never consciously aware of before. Perhaps it lurked but not in a place I was aware of, being home – after a time, after the noise was siphoned off I was gifted with the quietness to hear it, that lurking monotony and that’s when I discovered the new gear.
Then came the questions – mostly it was variations on the 5 W’s. Why was this happening, why me, what’s the point, what is happening, where would this all end up, would it end me, when would it be over?… blah blah blah.. on and on – Relax, I’m not about to tell you I’ve found religion or anything, but it did start me looking for a purpose, some kind of meaning. I’ve never spoken about this with anyone because it’s a personal thing, yeah, sure Wendi has seen me pounding back the books but it’s not something I’m much inclined to discuss, seems to me this is an inner journey, best served by arriving at both your conclusion and destination alone.
I have been mowing down the philosophy books, old, new, mystical, spiritual – books on truth, beauty, rhetoric, dialectic, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind – I mean just devouring them, like 3 or 4 a week… the last 3 were “Is there Life After Death” an examination encompassing the thoughts of all the worlds religions, “The Thinkers Way” about a new way of examining and bettering each junction and decision you encounter and I just finished “Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” a 30 year old classic, really 3 stories in one about madness, motorcycle repair and thought….
I guess what I’m trying to say to you is that I don’t feel brave or particularly strong, or like anyone to be admired, mostly I’m scared and feel profoundly lost – looking for ways to deal with that as positively as I can, while minimally impacting those around me. If anyone finds strength or encouragement in anything I’ve done, that is pure gravy, more power to you… and that’s something constructive we can take from this whole ordeal.
I’ll tell you this, once you start looking at things from a new perspective, a funny thing happens, your perspective changes. Things you took for granted or overlooked take on a significance formerly undiscovered and previously held constructs shift, some imperceptibly, some monumentally. It should make for interesting sledding once I’ve slayed this dragon, to see if I have changed, how it impacts the rest of my life. OR is this a case of “please god, make me OK and I’ll never do it again” then as soon as the crisis passes I instantly go back to my old ways…. pork rinds, Jerry springer, Budweiser, white tank-tops, stained boxers and hitting my old-lady cause she burned the meat-loaf…
Have a Great Day.