Saturday, October 2, 2021 – 09:14
Something happened this morning. It wasn’t dramatic. It wasn’t life changing. If anything, it was a simple shift from something noisy to something quieter. More… still. A clear work in progress but progress all the same.
I logged in to Facebook, which is one of the first inane things I do each morning to start the day. Among the myriad pointless gibberish, I somehow found myself typing out a response to a thread where a platoon of armchair intellectuals had deployed to take a scientist to task for a statement he made about the aerodynamics of helicopters (or the lack thereof), mistaking a pilot’s comments about auto-rotation to be a refutation of the scientist’s comments about aerodynamics. It somehow fell to me to defend society against the determined march of all this idiocy.
Of course, I wound up stopping. Science doesn’t need me to defend it. I deleted the paragraph or so I’d written up until that point. Then I just sat there. It occurred to me that almost all my interactions on Facebook are like that. Almost all my interactions in real life are like that. It’s not that I like to argue. It’s just that I’ve spent my entire life trying to peel back the layers of reality to get to the core of what IS, as opposed to what I might like it to be. I don’t want to stuff the world through my prism of perception but rather shape my perception, as much as possible, to the true shape of reality. As a result, quite often when I see some basic truth being assailed by people who are intent on doing the opposite (i.e. shape reality to their needs and agenda) I feel compelled to defend it.
This, of course, doesn’t often go over well. Most people never really thought through the positions they defend, so they don’t react well to being challenged.
Which brings me back to the salient point here. Whatever my motivation, there is no point to any of this. If a dog walks up to you and another person, and the other person says, “What a lovely platypus,” is it really going to serve a purpose to invest an hour of your life debating with that person the physical characteristics of dogs versus platypuses? No. At most you’ll convince the other person that you’re a know-it-all asshole. And, however bewildered you may be that the other person thinks every dog is a platypus, it’s not your job to correct them.
The unfortunate truth is that this tortured metaphor is what most of my interactions with other human beings feels like. Each conversation leaves me feeling like everyone around me is having a nice evening at a pizza place with like-minded friends while I’m beaming in my interactions via a carbon based avatar through a satellite up-link from my home base on one of Jupiter’s moons (Callisto, if you must know).
Needless to say, most often I feel like I don’t grasp the nuances of human interaction. I’m like a foreigner who just learned the native language and can manage some basic phrases, but still winds up mostly frustrated with every conversation. I mean, I know what I’m trying to say. But they just can’t hear it. And why are they yelling?
Ironically, all this got started because I feel a need to pull back from Facebook, if not human beings in general. We’ve reached a point in human evolution where we’re starting to communicate in cat memes and photos of our meals to create false representations of community and familiarity. And I simply don’t know how to function in that reality. I’m still caught up in an outdated paradigm in which people talk to one another and compare opinions and try to find consensus. But in this contemporary world, people most often unfriend you if your memes don’t match their memes. Or they recede from your life if you simply ask questions, much less disagree. I’m left standing here thinking it seems much better to simply step away from it all. I’m tired of trying to interface my analog with their digital. Better to just stop trying.
I’d hoped to bow out with a cryptic meme of Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings, saying, “I will diminish and go into the west.” I meant it as one last test of the machine, knowing few would see it and no one would respond. But, really, if one is receding, one doesn’t need response. And if no one notices, does it matter that some point has been proven? Of course not.
Instead, I decided to post an image of where I’m headed conceptually. I’m tired of all this chatter. I’m tired of trying to have conversations with people in the proverbial busy train station as they rush by me on their way to somewhere else, to some other point, to some other meme.
I am a stranger in a strange land. And I do not grok.
That lake calls to me. It’s why I chose it as the anchor image here. There was a lake in my past. A lake in a national park. I used to sit at its shoreline when I was younger. When I was broken and in need of healing. When I needed to stop being human for a while and just sit there in my natural state. No feeling. No emotion. No confusion or frustration. Just a vapor of consciousness that watched the ripples on the water as the wind played across the lake. Just the sigh of wind in the trees. Just distant water cascading over a small waterfall. The birds in the trees. Fussy squirrels. In that place and in those moments, I was free, weightless and without form.
I may never return there. My days slip away. But at the very least I must honor those formative times and stop trying to force myself into a shape. So… I will recede without diminishing. I will have form but no shape. I will BE without becoming. And I will stop being distracted by pulling upon the wrong threads.
I once wrote;
How I resent these stiff, tortured bones,
the aching, sweaty weight of flesh.
I would be free, formless and weightless;
a whisper on soft summer winds.
I would be strong, but incorporeal;
rolling thunder and falling rain…
Become music, and danced abandon;
slip these mortal bonds for the skies.
Well… it’s time.