Destiny awaits. The future is before you. Or perhaps, you are before it. One step. That’s all it takes to get you going. The second one should follow. Put a good stride in now. Time waits for no man. Good, now that you’re moving it should get easier. Or harder. Who really knows. I certainly don’t. But you have to try. What else will you you do. What else would you do. It’s a fiction you know, that old idea that you’ll enjoy it. Or is it a new idea. But you probably won’t. At least not most of it. If you’re lucky, you might just enjoy some of it. Best case scenario, you fumble around till you find someone. Then again. You might not, odds are okay. But guarantees and promises aren’t made. You didn’t pick your looks. You’re probably not so attractive. But maybe you’re lucky. Maybe. Loneliness awaits those who abdicate responsibly. And those below the median. Then you’re at the bottom. Not much you can do about it. Just keep digging. There will probably be rocks. You could either stand on them, or put them on top of you. You’ll probably surprise yourself with your choice. Choices are never simple. Surprises are abound and withheld by the unconscious. Blame others not, seek your answers inside. Not likely. You’ll point the finger. Wave the finger. Raise your chin. Turn a cheek. We all do it. Maybe after a few times you’ll wake. But then again, probably not. Monkeys. Monkeys, full of snakes. Do you know your snakes. Are they familiar, or unknown. They always say you should fear the unknown. Probably smart advice. Although the snake could be a phoenix. Don’t know till you look. Probably a snake. You’re full of snakes. Do you think you’re not. You are most certainly mistaken. The line between good and evil runs through the middle of every human heart. In case you hadn’t herd. But don’t stumble now. The stairs of discontent are steep. Are your legs long enough. Do your muscles burn. Does the ache agonise you. Well you’re not alone. You stand upon the death of a billion men. Don’t falter. The burn will ease. Although, it is easier not to. It is easier to run. To blame. To curse. Some take great pleasure in it. Perhaps you will too. Perhaps you won’t. You think you won’t. Be careful of such thoughts. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. You needn’t remember anything more.
When blowing up a balloon,
excitement runs rampant.
“I can’t wait to hit it around the room,” she says.
“I’m giving mine to my mother when she picks me up,” another second grader decides and muttering.
Time goes by,
with breathlessness and dizziness defeated by perseverance.
until their jaws ache,
until their eyes, similarly to the balloons to become pressurized.
Both balloons pop.
Their faces splashed with their own slobber.
Their surprise reflexes immediately all encompassing.
On the verge of tears from freight.
They recollect and acknowledge the other,
they succumb to laughter.
They look into each others eyes,
knowing this is their secret to keep.
*I would like to acknowledge that the beautiful photograph is not my own.
Edwards nose fell upon the table. He barely looked up to give it a despairing look. Perhaps just grateful it didn’t land in his soup. The others at the table fared no better. His mother Margaret had only one ear, a frizzly scraggle of hair and not much else. His father Norman was the worst of the lot, his face had slid off last June when he bent down to pickup the newspaper at the front door, needless to say, the news read no better that day. Edwards younger brother and sister were the only ones who could manage a smile, mostly because they were the only ones still with lips. Youthful ignorance their only friend, but time would come for them as it did for all. The unwelcome knock at the door. You just have to hope it doesn’t come for your good eye, or your preferred hand. Although it was given that what you valued most would be taken first, as if it was some cruel joke. But no one ever heard who was laughing. Perhaps that is the oddest part of all.
I once thought that to think that there was an intrinsic purpose to life was silly. I thought if one thought there was, one only got there by lying to themselves, deluding themselves in fear of death. I saw the world as just a place where things existed and everything happened purely by chance. Everyone and everything was here because of an uncountable number of chance happenings that lead to the universe, and to life. To me this suggested there lacked any purpose, for it to be chance instantly makes life arbitrary. The only conclusion I could come to was that our only purpose was to reproduce. That was it, like all other animals, we were here to live meaningless lives merely to create more meaningless lives.
What I now know is that my nihilism lead to, or in some way correlated with being hedonistic. I’m yet to work out, whether it is our nihilistic society that teaches hedonism, or if it is an evolution within the individual, perhaps a combination of the two. Whatever the cause, I lived my life for the moment, everything around me told me that this was the way to live. People, advertisements, magazines, TV, all said almost everything should be sacrificed to gain experiences and pleasures. Why? Because you might die tomorrow, because what else could you possibly do worth while in your life. More importantly because other people were doing it and posting it on their Facebook. Everything was about instant gratification, nothing could wait. If quality had to be sacrificed for time, I never thought twice. Now was all that mattered. Tomorrow doesn’t exist, the eternal now was all I had. Why should I make a sacrifice for what might not pay off, or that I might not be around to cash in.
The combination of these two philosophies were destructive. I made choices against my future for the benefit of the next five minutes. In the moment I could be satisfied, underneath, I was struggling. Life felt empty. I resented myself for not making better choices for the future I inevitably had to face. I needed to change, but I could not see how, or even why. I convinced myself I just needed more. More experiences. More stuff. Then I’d feel good. Then, I’d be happy.
So how did I escape the nihilism and hedonism which is so rampant in our western societies? Firstly I have to thank Jordan B. Peterson. It was not only by his word, but he is certainly the most influential of all. But to break it down, it was just a matter of learning. I found answers, I found that I was wrong. Now when I say wrong, I mean it in two ways. Technically, and pragmatically. Both are important in a journey in understanding your place in life. What saved me was my passion to learn and curiosity. My desire and interest in new ideas, slowly I found a path toward better ideas. These ideas were like pistachio nuts, each one you ate just makes you want another one.
We chase happiness as though it were air to breath. Like there was nothing more important or even anything else to consider. There are a few problems with this, firstly, happiness is fleeting even for those who lead the best lives (whatever that means). But really life is fundamentally suffering, you ignore this fact at your own peril. To do so will inevitably lead to frustration with life and resentment against whatever you come define as God, if you cannot conceptualise such a being, then the results are even worse. In this situation there is no one to blame or be angry at, the results of this can be as we see with mass shootings. Nihilists who wish to show the world just how resentful they are to the nature of being, hence why they always go for the most innocent victims available. I can’t help but believe that those who know that life is suffering are prepared and see no reason for resentment for their lot in life. It’s something to do with expectations, which are a real problem in our society. In the West today we raise children to be resentful. We instil in them a level of expectation that one could never hope to satisfy and philosophy destined to fail them.
There is a number of ways I believe we fail children, the first is this idea of inclusiveness, of removing the meritocracy. The first thing we do with children is tell them they can be anything the want, they just have to try. It sounds lovely and innocent but the effects have been shown to be quite the opposite. We continue to reinforce this belief when we give them medals for participation. We remove all capability of learning from failure, of learning perseverance. Next we remove their ability to push their own boundaries and learn what they are and are not capable of, everything, and everyone must be wrapped in bubble wrap. We don’t allow them to do anything that might be possible to hurt themselves, or others. In turn, this hurts our children and inevitably, our societies. Children no longer find and experience the limits and the boundaries, instead they are sheltered only to grow up to become adults who have failed to learn their own boundaries and limitations, they fail to learn about the world correctly.
The answer to nihilism isn’t simple or easy, or maybe it is. Maybe it is the logos. This is the spoken word, the truth. For me it all comes back to pragmatism. This ability we have, we must use to bring forth what helps us. If we continue to foster youth whom misunderstood the fundamentals of life then we are not achieving what we could. If we are here to do anything, then that is to make tomorrow better, not just for yourself, but for all.
Caffeine seeping into my veins, bringing with it the morning kick-start for the heart. Why am I drinking coffee? I don’t really require a rev up. Coffee fills the stomach, fending away tummy grumbles and the feeling of ’emptiness’. Practicing intermittent fasting does this to you. It continuously leaves you wondering whether you are or aren’t hungry. Is it hunger or just me thinking its hunger?
Today will be filled with contemplation. I will fill today with contemplation. Always too many things to ponder and consider, to keep one step ahead of the rest, one step ahead of myself. The internal battle between the expectations of my life and of life itself raging on. As if I am the clairvoyant of my own life, predicting what lies just past my own line of sight.
My ex-girlfriend arrives back, walking back into my life with complexity. How do you sacrifice yourself for others? How do you allow yourself to wear masks, concealing your intentions from the ones you want to open up to most? How do you endlessly hurt yourself and close yourself off the way that you do?
King Louis XIV, the Sun King, was one emboldened, visionary man. Bending for others but never breaking. To live without judgement of circumstance is the true lesson he had to teach. How does the noblest of kings treat a peasant with the same sincerity and wholeheartedness as he does his courtiers? Did this empathetic nature make him he noblest of kings?
Are trees happier when they sway in the wind as opposed to standing cemented?
The Oracle in The Matrix hands Neo a cookie after insinuating that a decision will be forced upon him. A situation will be imposed on him in which he will need to take action, to make a decision. A decision that will impact upon the outcome of this hero, the outcome of this hero’s world. A decision that extends so much further past the extent of the hero’s insecurities, vulnerabilities and misfortune. A decision that transcends the hero himself.
I sit watching birds fly around me. Contemplating what I’d use wings for if I had them.
Simply put, the hero sacrifices, the hero uses wings to fly towards his demons. Facing the mirror that reflects himself to himself, his purest of adversities and self-doubt. This hero attempts to save Morpheus, regardless of whether he understands and has learned all he could have about the limitless Matrix beforehand.
The hero learns that he is required to act regardless of whether he has the understanding to do so.
The hero learns that understanding the repercussions of any action they take is out of their grasp. Th hero learns that attempting to understand these repercussions leaves an individual hopeless, flailing in a dark void that can only imprison, serving to offer only endless questions to unsolved answers.
In order to live in reality, action needs to be taken. To dissolve fear Neo needed to risk losing against Agent Smith. One needs to risk losing and exposing oneself to further fear. The type of fear that can make you nauseous at the ponder of it. The type if fear that doesn’t ring the doorbell before entering.
Inevitably, there is always a Morpheus that needs to be saved, there are always fears to overcome. Use your wings for heroic purposes.
Faded birch deck. Boards bowing with age as if rejecting the life they were given. Nails protruding up, taking the boards attempt of as escape as a catalyst to their own.
The sun beams down, saturating an inescapable heat over weather boards with flaking white paint. Faded joinery only managing to hint at the once bold colour it once wore in youth. That colour today would be anyones guess.
Inside echoed the strange sounds of an empty house, each foot step a violent reminder of the has-beens that memories collected here had become. Michael stood at the window after walking the hallway to the end, past the kitchen and into the sun room which over looked the ocean.
Outside as the weak winter sun beat down, the wind was calm but the ocean was angry. Furious waves crashed in a messy action as if a toddler was throwing a tantrum in a bath. A storm had recently passed and the ocean was always the last to give up the game.
The view was calming for Michael, his fondest memories were of storms, the sound of the rough ocean would forever be linked to those times. They were welcome thoughts at this time, a time when happy thoughts were too few and far between.
This house once represented a home to Michael, a place where he would rest his battered mind, where he would watch the rain on the windows in winter, and where he would lie on the couch by the window in summer, a book in his hand.
These memories were rocks in his mind, a place to cling to when the current was too strong. This was one of those times.
He walked around the house, touching all the spots that triggered memories, the gash on the lounge doorframe, the chip on the benchtop corner and the faded circular patch of carpet in his old bedroom.
Each one he felt connected to, a soothing sensation followed each texture. Closing his eyes his imagination could take him back. The smells, the weight of the air, everything would rush back. Such action was addictive to Michael. He had been down this road before, being lost unto his mind, the real world became depressing in comparison. He was resolute in his mind not to return, but he didn’t really trust himself.
“I need this”, he whispered to himself, justifying his actions just as an alcoholic would.
Michael was all too aware of his actions and the rationale he adhered to them. It didn’t take long for his mind to over think it and he began to pace up and down the hallway.
Michael had a strange walk, his lanky features didn’t help the situation. It was as though he was an old man with worn slippers who had to walk a certain way to keep them from sliding off his feet, so when he walked his arms and legs would go first and his body would follow. As unusual as his gait was, Michael was a simple and gentle man, his world was self fulfilled. Taking his time, with each part of his life, he wasn’t a self described perfectionist but he knew how he wanted things. This was possibly what bothered him the most, as his life had failed to manifest the ideals he held dear in his mind. Although little of it was to do with his own actions, or lack of.
Two years ago he was in a very different place. His wife and his two young daughters were still alive, so were his parents. The pacing of the latter was what brought him to be in their old house again. He wasn’t sure why he had come back but he figured his unconscious mind knew better how to heal itself than his conscious mind did.
He was wearing a long grey overcoat in which his hands rested in the pockets as though both his arms had gone to sleep. He was hunched over as though he didn’t have the energy to stand up properly. The last two years had sucked the life out of Michael, his skin was devoid of colour and his hair had quickly began turning grey as if trying to blend with his complexion. Even with the great toll the accumulated events had taken on him he still remained quite functional, he was stuck in a sort of auto pilot. As though someone else had taken the controls and he was merely witnessing someone else’s life in first person.
It was all rather surreal when he pondered it, but even thinking had a disconnected feeling to it. At times he would pinch his arm with his fingernails so hard he would bleed, as though the act might kick him out of the seeming other dimension he was trapped within.
In the sun room a large cane chair still remained, he studied it for a moment before deciding to sit in it. He was unsure why it remained when every other piece of furniture was gone. Considering this fact he couldn’t but help but look at it as though it was alien to him. Sitting in the chair wasn’t a comfortable experience, the cushions were gone and the cane had broken in places making parts stick out and stab into him as he applied his weight. He didn’t mind this much, in some sense he found pleasure in it as it reminded him of the age of the chair. He pondered if he had become a little masochistic, but the thought disappeared quickly.
Sitting in the chair and looking outside into the haze of sea spray he drifted into the haziness of his own mind. He thought about the expectation of life, of the human expectation of fairness, of what had been, and of what it had become. It didn’t take him long to realise he related to this chair more than any other human being alive. What he valued in life had been washed away, eroded and faded by time. A line of events that had been, and events which had not yet happened. Everything that he had been was gone, the real Michael laid somewhere in the past. What existed now was the chair. Everything with which he had purpose for was now gone. He no longer served the world in the way he once had, he was broken and parts were sticking out. He was now quasi-real, he quasi-existed. He now knew why the chair remained when everything else was gone, he just hadn’t been taken away yet.