Dystopia

In those moments when purpose is blurred and distractions appeal, life passes by almost unnoticed. It feels like the hamster in the wheel, spinning away and amused at how fast it can go, then looking over and seeing everything that still needs to get done, stepping off for a few brief moments, and suddenly starts wondering what would make the wheel turn faster.

The wheel that turns is not the wheel that moves us forward. It’s usually the wheel that runs us down and provides some relief from the illusion of stagnation. Or is it the illusion of progress. Ground hog day holds much truth in it, and I’ve often thought of life as being ground hog day. I see myself waking up each morning trying to do things better than I did it the day before. As the days accumulate so too does the list of things I try to do better. Each time I try something that feels new, it turns out to be mostly a combination of many things old. But the new experiences and feelings that accompany the effort provides the needed distraction to keep me interested.

Trade in that wheel for a tail, or maybe a car, and suddenly I find myself chasing my tail while spinning that wheel in a more luxurious setting. Of course none of this makes any sense because if it did, it wouldn’t be dystopia, would it? Utopia doesn’t exist. We know this to be true, so it stands to reason that dystopia is reality, is it not? According to our friend Google, dystopia is an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. Let’s consider that to be true for a moment and see what it implies for our sanity.

Everything is as bad or as good as we perceive it to be. We choose to either see the good in it, or we choose to see the bad. Those choices are informed by our experiences and how those experiences made us feel. The more inclined we are to believe that we are able to influence the outcomes, the more likely it is that we will perceive those things as good, and vice versa. But at the core of all this still lies the fact that what is, is, and what we see is what we impose of our perspectives on what is. Make sense yet?

Let’s consider it slightly differently. We tend to view life in a polarised manner, almost binary in nature. Things are either good or bad. Nothing is ever neutral. More accurately, we never feel truly neutral about something because if prompted to choose between good or bad, we will choose either one. I don’t know of anyone that absolutely fights for their right to be neutral, nor am I certain that that is even possible.

So back to our perceptions and how we impose that on the situation at hand. If someone argues that the world is turning into a hell hole, someone else could easily argue that there is hope, while another could argue that it’s in fact already a hell hole, while a fourth could argue that it was a hell hole at some point in history and that we’re already improving it as we progress. Every single one of these perspectives could be successfully defended, but by definition, not all could be correct. Unless we consider each within their own context,  in which case each will be equally true.

So what’s the point? I think it has something to do with who decides what is good or what is bad. Then we look at who has the majority vote, and that prevails as the accepted standard. Anyone that opposes the standard is considered bad even if their perspective is inherently good, but that good cannot be measured as good because the standard against which it is being measured is bad, but is deemed to be good. And so it goes until eventually we realise that dystopia or utopia are simply makings of our own minds. The blue pill, or the red one? It doesn’t matter, does it?

I don’t think it does. I think that the context that we choose for our perspectives will always define our reality. That reality will never be the true reality, because true reality can only ever be gauged independent of subjective observations, which means that any social standard or system of governance is based on the oppression of the minority and the celebration of normalcy. Therefore, even in upholding justice in such a system, given that justice would be defined against the social standards that have been adopted by the majority, then such justice could very well be injustice, but will not be recognised as such because the accepted authority has defined it to be good.

This transcends even divine laws within the context of this lifetime because our judgement against the divine laws will only take place in a reality completely detached from this one. That day of reckoning will be independent of our influence, and therefore will be immune to our perceptions. It will simply be.

Of course not everyone believes in the day of reckoning beyond this lifetime, in which case, if the above argument holds true, it’s all an entire waste of time, and a massive oppression on all involved the moment we try to establish any social order or code of morality or any standard for that matter. Individual freedoms are automatically eroded, and in fact suppressed, the moment we choose order over free expression. Defining any constraints becomes an injustice, and the hope of any true remuneration for our toils and struggles is completely null and void, unless we’re left to act with impunity. But even that won’t work, because the moment we are left to act with impunity, we automatically impose our expression on others, in which case we suppress their expression, assuming we’re the more dominant, or else ours will be suppressed if we’re not the more dominant. Either way, justice in averted and balance, true balance is impossible.

Dystopia. In the absence of a higher order that we collectively serve, dystopia is all that is possible. But to each their own. Welcome. Don’t make yourself comfortable. This doesn’t last very long even if you insist on inaction, because entropy is your best friend, time is a superficial construct, and balance is based entirely on a combination of perception and subscription by the collective, which inherently cannot be trusted for consistency. I guess that’s a sneak peek into the dystopia of my mind. It’s an exhausting place to be.

In a World of Worries

I often wonder why it seems so difficult to write about the good of the day, as opposed to how easy it is to rant about the bad. Sitting in my corner of the cave, with a window facing the gurgling water from the pond just outside, I’m often focused on the mental fatigue that draws me to that corner while hardly noticing the calming effect of that water and the usual cool breeze that accompanies it.

The moments taken to calm the soul are often forgotten in our distraction from the beauty that calms it. I wonder if the ability to notice the blessing that lifts the burden, rather than sighing at the lifting of the burden reflects the balance with which we meet the day? Are we so focused on what bears down on us that we’ve stopped noticing what makes the struggle worth struggling?

Just trying to shift the focus in writing this post demands more presence of mind than usual. It’s easier to bleed at the keyboard than it is to spill beautiful petals of hope and resilience without the scorn or the rhetoric that accompanies a cynic’s tale no matter how often betrayed. So easily I find myself drawn into the darkness that offers some quiet. The absence of light is not always daunting if the darkness provides reprieve from the demands of the world.

Every curious detail observed in the light by one driven to act demands attention, while every response holds within it the promise of joy or fulfilment. That joy or fulfilment is almost always incomplete if its essence is appreciated by too few. If the purpose of life is to serve a greater good, then what becomes of the fulfilment of that purpose when the greater good rejects such servitude?

Cryptic thoughts are as exhausting as its interpretation. Speaking plainly is an art lost to me while being deliberately vaguely cryptic comes naturally in a world where such sincerity is most often misconstrued as an attack on the ego, rather than appreciated at the value of the beautiful face that it offers.

I’ve seen too often how a good gesture is deliberately distorted so that the recipient is relieved of any compulsion to reciprocate. Those we wish to indulge, or we hope would indulge us, are the ones with whom even bad gestures we’d aim to distort into good ones. Seeing good in the ones we court is easy. It doesn’t require an investment in anything other than what we wish to receive, except where what we wish to gain is fulfilled within, and does not require validation from without. Achieving a state of composure in the face of ingratitude is the greatest gift in a world of worries. It saves us from feeling enslaved by the affirmations of others, while liberating us to enjoy the cryptic details that eludes most everyone else.

Just last week I quoted Einstein to someone. If we can’t explain it simply enough, then we don’t understand it well enough. Perhaps this is telling of my grasp of this world. My struggle to articulate my thoughts reflects the challenges I face in trying to understand the multitudes of why, but comfort is offered when I consider that most shy away from the challenge even before reaching this point.

The inclination to pacify myself relative to the lacking conviction of others threatens to prompt me into a similar space of complacency as those I despise. Perhaps I despise them so much because I am acutely aware of how even now, with this deliberate attempt to express the beauty of the world around me, I find myself consistently drawn towards emphasising everything that’s wrong with it.

I walked on the lawn with bare feet the other day. For a moment my senses were teased and I felt grounded. I gazed around the garden and looked past the sprouting indigenous trees, and instead noticed the chores left unfinished, or new ones that begged for my attention. I walked on and paid little attention to them because the lawn felt so good beneath my feet. In that moment I knew that even the reality of this world and all its worries could not rob me of the fascination of that moment. But no sooner had that thought occurred that I found myself robbing myself of that which the world was unable to take from me.

I know there’s an important point in all this rambling. Perhaps just that knowledge will make this worth sharing, even if the clarity of that point continues to elude me. Everything has an opposing truth, so perhaps this world of worries is simply the wrong side of the coin that too many are distracted by. If the first step towards success lies in acknowledgement, then perhaps this is the glimmer of hope that the realisation of the other side of this coin is the beginning of turning it over.

[There appears to be no comfortable nor logical point at which I feel ready to end this post, so perhaps it is best left unfinished…for now]

The Silent Statement

My thoughts are often as complicated to grasp as my writing is to read. I sometimes read through some of my older posts and wonder how anyone could have gotten the point when I struggle to follow the thought process myself. I used to relate it all much more simplistically in the past. It was relatable, not just to me, but to others that it resonated with. It’s not so easy to relate anymore. I find myself slowly receding into silence again. It’s like I’ve come full circle without having completed the journey. The contradiction glares at me while I try to make sense of it all.

Silence often says more than any vocal statement we make. It’s the language of both lies and compassion. For me, it’s the language of understanding. When I’m inclined to believe that my perspective will most likely be misunderstood or unappreciated, I tend towards silence. It’s my restraint and my statement. It restrains me from verbalising much that will be found offensive, often because of the harsh truth it contains given my poor bedside manner, and it’s my statement because I choose not to engage about something that I believe will not have a meaningful outcome. That’s how I use silence to make my statement.

Unfortunately there are too many that use it for very different reasons, the most common of which is to avoid being perceived unfavourably. In those moments when the truth is needed for closure, to understand the reasons for betrayal, or to know why the good we put forward was reciprocated with dishonesty or insincerity, silence cuts sharper and deeper than any harsh truths that could have been offered. In those moments the silent one tries desperately to hide their shame while maintaining a facade of arrogance or feigned hurt. Silence, in moments like those, is employed for no reason but to save the betrayer from having to share the truth of their betrayal.

I think it gets worse when we hold the key to justice but deny the rights of the victims when we choose not to get involved because of the potential repercussions for us. At times when world powers abstain from voting or acting against rogue nations or human scum in order to retain political alliances, their silence does to the victims of those oppressors what the silence of a lover does to their no-longer-beloved. The impact is the same, it’s only the scale that differs.

Every betrayal destroys a soul, and every soul holds within it an entire world. Each betrayal forces a reinvention of that soul, and each reinvention creates a more brittle soul. Brittle is not necessarily weak. It simply becomes more unpredictable as it gets closer to its limit. Fortunately for most, that limit is significantly more than most because of the reinventions. But when it is reached, the brittle snap that ensues leaves a wake of destruction that can rarely be understood.

But there’s a more important point I wanted to make about how we use silence for selfish purposes. Perhaps my use of silence is not as noble as I’d like to believe it is. Perhaps just writing this post will provide insights that will disarm me at important moments when others will correctly interpret my silence and take the offence I was hoping to spare them instead. Perhaps there will be none of that because as we’ve seen so often, a shared sin is often overlooked because the collective guilt pacifies our conscience anyway.

I think we all use silence in this way. I think the silence we maintain at times when we should be outspoken or brutally honest reflects our priorities in that moment. If speaking out will result in an increase of clutter or responsibility beyond what we currently wish to bear, then silence becomes the obvious choice.

Another incomplete thought process. I know there is a truth in there somewhere…but like life, the essence of it eludes me.

Writer’s Block

I recently advised someone that when faced with writer’s block, the best remedy is to write about it. Seems counter-intuitive, but it seems to work for me. My problem though is that I don’t recognise myself as a writer. I vent through words, often carefully selected to maintain the level of neutrality needed in my sentiments so as not to offend many close associates that I was bold enough to invite into this blog space. That, and the fact that I would not want this space to be turned into a sensationalist’s whoring for attention. I think it works beneficially for me because it forces me to focus on the issues at hand, rather than taking an easy swipe at soft targets.

Soft targets, on the other hand, make for an easy solution to writer’s block, if I were a writer, that is. The problem I have with subscribing to that label is that it assumes that I have writing worth sharing, or more importantly, that I do justice to the part. I ramble. A lot. That rambling is often my attempt to make sense of the internal conversations I’m having, while my focus is to articulate it in a way that will make sense to someone witnessing my cycle of insanity, if they were privy to it. So I write the way I think, often without filters, with the exception of the scenario described in the opening paragraph. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen. But again, it only remains to be seen if it was written for the audience and not primarily for my own sanity.

Thoughts that have threatened to prompt me to write in recent weeks appear to consistently centre around the acquisition of knowledge. I’m caught between the need versus the want of knowing something. I know that one is driven by the ego and the other by sincere curiosity, but the words are so easily interchangeable that it’s difficult to make a definitive observation about it. What I am convinced of though, is the fact that there are times when we demand to know something simply because we feel entitled to the information, or because we wish to use it for ulterior motives. The lesser frequent motivation for acquiring knowledge is because we are genuinely curious and seek to understand, rather than judge. While both have their place, I think there is a significant imbalance leaning towards the former. Given the state we find the world in today, it’s not surprising that most knowledge is acquired for egotistical purposes before anything else.

Perhaps in that is some hint at what would cause the writer’s among us to block. Perhaps writer’s block is what happens to all of us in different ways, whether we’re writers or not. I think that when we lose sight of purpose, we struggle to find reason. In the absence of reason or purpose, we’re most likely to act in response to an expectation rather than to act towards fulfilling a greater purpose. If we’re fortunate, we realise it soon enough and refocus our efforts which clears the mental block that stifled our progress. If we don’t realise it soon enough, chances are that our ego will succeed in clouding our judgement further, and in our efforts to allay our fears of insignificance or incompetence, we play to the audience and slowly erode any sense of purpose we had in what we set out to do simply because we cannot afford to be seen as lacking.

The fact that we may be travelling the same path that we set out on does not necessarily mean that we still take joy or benefit from travelling it. I think there’s an important point in there somewhere. I also just realised that writing about my mental block spawned thoughts that were hardly at the forefront of my mind when I started. I guess the trick is to be able to express without judging yourself first, or without considering if what is to be expressed will be seen as wisdom, or whimsical. I generally don’t care much for the opinions of others, although recently I have been distracted by it from time to time. When that distraction reared its head, I found myself floundering in my ability to be decisive which is a very frustrating place to be.

Re-centering my thought process on what I subscribe to has made the difference between bobbing around aimlessly in the sea of dysfunction around me and setting the current to disrupt that same sea. Disruption is often frowned upon, but usually only by those that lack purpose. Disruption in thought and deed is needed to avoid slipping into a rut of routine while believing we’re part of something great. That something great is usually the energy of the masses that are in that rut with us, while the volume of our collective trudging quickly turns that rut into a trench. The distracted masses then look around and celebrate their time in the trenches as a select few rise to the top and exit the trenches because they became the champions of the dysfunction purely through tenure rather than contribution. It’s the age-old celebration of a struggle. The duration of our struggles is often what defines us, more than our emergence from the same state. It’s the shortest path to pacification of the meek.

The cynic in me is thriving, which is usually a sign that I need to abate and reflect. Introspection is a good place to be. It’s a pity that it is so often disrupted by a need to act on its fruit, where the absence of such action will leave us being as impotent as the foam on the ocean. Writer’s block be gone.

Peace

Belying my exterior,
That serene scene saunters into view of my mind’s eye.
Driving to a destination that isn’t,
Until my fuel is spent,
Effortlessly emerge from the vehicle,
And continue on foot,
Until I am spent.
Finally melding into the sand,
Without a trace,
I become one with time.
Passing you by,
Unnoticed.
Finally at peace.

Don’t Judge Me

I’ve re-typed this first sentence more times than I care to count, and each time, like this time, I felt the inclination to delete it because it seemed to talk to an audience, rather than a simple expression of what is on my mind. But I can’t keep deleting because it only increases the anxious clutter in my head relative to what needs to be expressed. The fact that I have forgotten how to express my thoughts without considering how I want my words to be received is beyond debate. I’ve got to embrace the whore in me that seeks such attention or engagement, despite my good intentions.

At some point I convinced myself that sharing my thoughts with a receptive audience would be the only circumstances under which I would find it easy to pour forth my ramblings. I guess that’s what happens when you repeat a lie to yourself for long enough. Eventually, you believe it. I’ve never needed an audience before. The outpouring of thoughts and emotions were entirely for selfish relief and not to garner attention or affirmation of any sort. Somehow, it was more therapeutic that way as well. Again, the feeling of wanting to delete these thoughts is threatening to guide my hand to dump this post in the trash.

I am on the outside as I am on the inside, albeit slightly more composed. But my apparent composition is not an untrue reflection of my true state because despite being conflicted, it is a perpetual confliction rather than a fluctuating one. Therefore, considering the constant, composed is a disposition that easily disguises perpetual perturbation. Perhaps there is no difference.

My apparent annoyance with my surrounding circumstances is often assumed to be a lack of appreciation for what has been achieved due to my focus on what remains to be achieved instead. I guess that is the judgement that is most often passed by those that celebrate mediocrity. They are the ones that easily judge my restlessness to be inflexible expectations that are supposedly unrealistic, while failing to see how my anxiety escalates at the realisation of how much more I could have achieved instead. It’s the curse of the realisation of death, although many times that realisation escapes me as well. However the more my capability grows, the more I find myself identifying ways in which I should be benefiting others instead of laying lethargically on the couch feeding my brain with interestingly useless information.

Don’t judge me for my incoherency in this post, or in my life. There are simple things that are daunting for me. My point of reference is very different to most. I walk into a room of unfamiliar faces and my senses are overloaded with the new, and often disruptive energies of people I have never met before. It numbs my conscious mind for the time I am in their presence, until I eventually get a moment to myself when I am able to wade through the muck of their pretences that they maintain simply to avoid being seen.

People do that as a matter of course. We defend ourselves in front of others but feel no regret or guilt for the unwarranted defence because it is the norm. Society is composed of a necessary insincerity in light of the dishonesty that we’re faced with. But it seems the dishonesty is what warrants the insincerity as a defence mechanism, although the defence is what feeds the dishonesty. I’m exhausted just contemplating this cycle of insanity. I wonder what came first, the need to defend from fear of being vulnerable, or the vulnerability that resulted from a broken promise? Regardless, it is the norm, and living idealistically like I tend to do so often, it is inevitable that I will be faced with recurring disappointments, and just as likely, I will disappoint those that live realistically instead.

My perspective is no less sane than yours. While mine is fuelled with naivety, yours is fuelled with the distrust that wreaks through this world. I choose to be the stranger to that filth, at least consciously so. However, I’m quite certain that when I’m lacking in mindfulness, I am as much tainted by that wretched stench as much as those whose insecurities and mediocrity I despise.

My head hurts. It’s a dull familiar ache. One that has no beginning, but promises to only end when the inevitability of death finally provides it with the assurance of reality that it seeks. Until then, it will hurt, I will be distracted, and the chasm between me and the world will only continue to widen, until eventually I step into the abyss created by my own gluttonous appetite for that which others do not see. That is, the truth of me.