Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Divine Accident

Since the beginning of the human race, men have contemplated the meaning of life. They have asked questions that have stretched the limits of their imagination. Puzzled over the definition of their lives. Searched for answers to some of life's most illusive complexities. The most basic and fundamental interest of man's greatest endeavors has been to justify his own existence. But I believe there is something far more meaningful to life than simply understanding the basis of it. I believe there is something out there that every living person encounters at some point in their lives and don't even realize it. I believe this to be the mystery of human chemistry. How two people, regardless of sex, age, race, religion or political affiliation can find the ability to transcend their differences and become inseparably linked by something they can not explain. Most of our lives are a revolving door of individuals who have varying levels of influence on us. The better portion of them will come and go with no significant impact. These people are usually the friendships or romantic relationships we have when we are young and developing our social network. With few exceptions, most of us fall out of touch with these persons as we get older and move on to bigger and better things.

Another category might be the people that we establish a connection with later in life. For whatever reasons these people may be more instrumental in our lives because they are grown and matured, most of the time. There are always exceptions to every rule, this one being no different. The most common reason these people hang around longer is because they have been through a much more developed filtration process, which most of us attain through life experience. The standard is higher for them now that we're adults and have learned to be more careful as to who we allow to take part in our personal lives. Our instincts are vital in this process.

The final category would be the people that were there all along the way, in the shadows, in the background, who have gone unnoticed. Many times circumstance plays a key role as to why these individuals were never given a bigger part of our picture. Although, sometimes, in rare instances a person that someone has known for a great deal of time, who was always overlooked, can become an integral element in one's life. This entity can develop into something much more than what we ever intended. Time is usually the key factor here, although, some would argue that people change and this is what allows the connection to be made. I've personally never been a fan of the notion that "people change". It seems, to me, a trite and lofty platitude. A bumpersticker. I don't really believe people change. At least not in anyway that really matters. I believe people learn to adjust. Adaptation becomes necessary for people to cope with their differences. I believe people learn how to control their core. The ones that don't are usually the ones that haven't formulated many lasting relationships or friendships. I believe it's that some people learn to really open their eyes at some point in their lives and the reality of what's truly important sets in. I don't think of this so much as change or evolution as I do a sobering realization of what has always been there, waiting patiently to be discovered.

Tomorrow I turn twenty-five years old, which is realistically quite young but it's old enough for me to speak, without pretension, on all three of these categories from personal experience. However, the last category is particularly special to me. It's in the inspiration behind these very words. The truth is that I have had the fortunate luck to have one of these individuals come out of the shadows, out of the background and make herself noticed. She has become an influential and vital element to my existence; not through any intentional action, but only because of who she is at her core. The last three years of my life have been a random lottery of unanticipated tragedies in a series of near escapes; but this one person has maintained an unwavering interest and affection for me. It is because of her love and admiration that I have continued to put faith in the idea of happiness; which is exactly what she brings me everyday. She has taught me the ability to feel in the midst of life's misfortunes and disappointments. I have personally never been through more with any one person and yet still felt such a continually refreshing love. The fact that she can see through my short-comings and flaws and still be in love with me is something I'll never fully understand, but always be thankful for. The only thing I can really do is spend my life happily returning the favor, which I hope I have the fortunate opportunity of doing.

"The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one's relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life."
--Sir Hugh Walpole


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When A Scorpion Stings Your Hand...

There once was a hindu holy man who saw a scorpion floundering around in the water. He decided to save it by stretching out his finger. But the scorpion stung him. The man still tried to get the scorpion out of the water, but the scorpion stung him again. A man nearby told him to stop saving the scorpion that kept stinging him. But the holy man said, "It is the nature of the scorpion to sting. It is my nature to love. Why should I give up my nature to love just because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting?"

It should be our nature to love regardless of who we are, regardless of what has been done to us. Its hard, I know. Trust me. People are always going to sting you. They are going to rip into your character. They are going to be the ones in the platform telling you that your views are wrong. They are going to be in the pulpits pointing fingers in judgment. They are going to be the ones who hold your whole race responsible for the actions of one person. But that doesn't give you the right to despise. Hate for those who hate is still hate. In spite of those who may sting you, remain in what you know to be your nature, love.

- Stephen Christian (singer of Anberlin and Anchor & Braille)

[I found this to be incredibly sobering and optimistic, hope you will too]


Friday, October 23, 2009

The Machine

Has anyone ever stopped to think about the state of the society we live in? What is valued versus what is considered insignificant and trivial is a good example of our society's priorities. Most people are, in some way, plugged into "the machine"; a system that dictates their way of life. They work 9-5, come home to the house they can barely afford, sit in their lazy-boy and let cable television wash over them. They are not only enabling but perpetuating society's state of lethargic ignorance. Thinking for yourself is considered a waste of energy. Why do it when society's brand of intellect and information is handed out "to go" and can be found in your weekly issue of People magazine. We are living in an ego driven society that celebrates fame, lacks ambiguity and is incapable of deep sustained attention with no discontinuity between life and art. It's easier to conform and be a sheep guised in ignorance for fear of being singled out or considered "different". It's okay to be yourself as long as you fit the mold. Individuality comes off an assembly line. Originality is pre-fabricated and mass produced. These days adulthood is a continuation of high school. The fear to fit in and be accepted is unavoidable. It's apparent when television advertises weight loss without having to lift a finger. That is our country at it's finest. We want the reward, skip the work we want the results. We run to the nearest plastic surgeon to erase what we hate about ourselves. What is considered "beautiful" is currently starving itself to be just that.

Society tells us to get good grades, go to college, and whore ourselves to a career that affords us the luxury of not being "affected". Success is the opiate that fills our lungs and clouds our judgment. It convinces us that we are worthy of praise because we beat the system, in actuality, we just fell prey to it. There is no reason to create music, art or be exceptional unless there is a pot of gold at the end of the road, waiting to paralyze the very abilities that brought us to it. We are under the impression we're untouchable. We think it's a bad day if we forget our grocery list, completely ignoring what's going on around us. We sit in our lofty buildings and offices high above the skyline of humanity until a plane crashes into it and the sobering reality of our world sets in.

Humanity is slowly shutting down. We're always plugged in or connected to something, part of the machine, but the more we plug in the less human we become. We are all guilty at some point in our lives of jumping on the band wagon society pulls around for us. It's humanistic to want to feel a part of something, to disappear into the collective, but the moment we forfeit our ability to think and create is the moment we surrender the very thing that makes us human. Knowledge is power. Be informed.


"It is not until we have lost everything that we are able to do anything." - Tyler Durden