The problem with our thoughts is that we can only pay attention to one, outside stimulus or our thoughts, and so thoughts often win out and replace reality in our minds.

The problem with a social group is that other people can introduce thoughts to our minds, and by repeating them and circularly referencing them, make these thoughts seem like a requirement for life itself, and thus also more real than real.

On the level of a society, this takes on aspects of a game show. You no longer get good at things; you get good at the society game. Your goal is to get the most from it that you can, and give as little back as possible.

This game leads us away not only from reality itself, but from ourselves. We are told that by playing we are individuals, and that we need the collective group to protect us from bad institutions who wish to dominate us.

However, we’re no longer thinking about the one thing that is certain in life: our experience. We know that every minute we are conscious, we are experiencing something.

Our society negotiates with us in terms of what it will offer, which does not include our experience of our own lives. We are offered material things, subsets of the whole of possibilities that interest society as a whole, and therefore it has to transact.

Everything else is forgotten. As a result, it doesn’t matter whether our jobs are boring and our commutes are numbing. It doesn’t matter that shopping is abrasive, or that every product breaks and getting parts and services is a hassle that eats up many hours.

Nor does it matter that we wait in line, or live in noisy cities polluted by light and exhaust, or that we are worn down by a constant onslaught of both commercial messages and foolishness from our fellow citizens.

We have everything, except the state of mind to experience our lives as they trickle past. And yet that state of mind is mostly controlled by the political decisions we make on the basis of these material things.

8 Responses to “Existential”

  1. crow says:

    Whenever you’re dealing with others, you’re dealing with their expectations, and so every moment spent in company is a moment spent re-making yourself in the image of what others expect of you. Or what you think they expect of you. Or what you think they think you think of what they expect of you.
    That seems a bit silly, doesn’t it, seen in those terms?

    People impose. They seem to have no choice in this. It is simply what they do. Whereas animals, birds, natural things, are always just what they are, and nothing is expected of you except whatever you expect of yourself.
    Nature is the great teacher.
    Taking what it teaches into a social situation, it is possible, then, to apply the same attitude to time spent with people. It takes some practice. But soon, observation replaces chatter, not-doing replaces doing, and being replaces being a pain in the ass.
    You do not impose. Yet your presence is a game-changer.
    (Imagine an elk suddenly wandering through a supermarket!)

    Try seeing others as deranged madmen, who lack any qualification to assert how you should behave, with the odd, rare exception, and you are left with responsibility for yourself. Only you can decide your course, your view, your stance. Those madmen can only demand that you be mad. Only you can demand that you not be.

    Like it or not: every man is Robinson Crusoe. That is life. There is nothing bad about this, although it can be difficult. It gets easier, once it is accepted for what it is, while almost everyone else will live a life of denial of this very truth.

    When you can accept responsibility for yourself, your state, your actions, you will have gained an all too rare condition:
    Perfect health, in a crazy society, and able to perform to design specification.

    • Lisa Colorado says:

      It’s frightening to contemplate living as you’re suggesting, Crow. I’m just starting to be able to objectively look at how I’ve been living and at the people I was raised with, and what their feelings mean to me. It’s taken me a long time to stand on my own psychological footing, and I had to find it on my own. I’m still prone to the manipulations of others. They don’t get what I’m doing at all, and they are starting to leave me out of their calculations. But that’s good because it’s forcing me to come up with my own. There are interesting things to pursue!

      • crow says:

        It might be interesting to explore exactly what you mean by “frightening”. What frightens you? Why does it frighten you?
        Is “frightening” really the right word?
        Fear is one of those odd things humans really have a hard time with. Most will claim fear is essential, but I beg to differ, and with good reason. I’ve done an awful lot of fear in my life, and poked my head out the other side :)
        There’s a whole world, out there, beyond fear, and it’s a very sparsely populated one.

        • Lisa Colorado says:

          I don’t mean it’s frightening as in sinister and dangerous, but more like it touches on insecurities.

          • crow says:

            Well, insecurities are frightening things, for sure, when you have them. I’ve had lots.
            Now I don’t.
            Which I offer as incentive, to dump the ones you have, if any.
            It is quite possible, without reaching your dying breath, first.
            Insecurities are odd things. We rarely see them for what they are, only for the results they cause.
            When you know you can’t do something, that’s reality.
            When you know you could do something if some missing factor was not missing, that’s reality, too.
            When you really don’t know if you can do something, that’s usually because you haven’t already done it, or if you had tried to and failed, because you didn’t get it right, yet.
            Which is, again, quite reasonable.
            But when you feel inadequate, or incapable, because somebody else persuaded you that you were, then that’s insecurity.
            In fact, all insecurity depends upon other people.
            Remove the people, and you remove insecurities.
            But people are a little difficult to remove, I hear you say…
            Then remove the power you have given them to undermine you, instead.

            Really, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, cats, woodpeckers, never give me cause to feel insecure.
            Neither do people, any more, since I realized how insecure they are, themselves, and try to cope with that by projecting it onto you.

            Enough of this Agony Aunt stuff (:>
            “You” means everybody.
            I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    • Eliot Jansen says:

      People are filled with inner demands like egotism and a need to be the focus of attention. This makes them annoying. They also do not get what they need, which is self understanding.

      I would like to be the exception some day.

      As it stands now I am just quiet and reserved which means I don’t get all the chicks but I am also not forcing others to drama my drama.

  2. Tucken says:

    Well said.

    • ferret says:

      Tucken, you have only ten and half days left; use this last opportunity, try to comment more, elaborate what you say.