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COOL Archives: Essay on the Human Condition

Posted on Friday, October 27 @ 20:39:28 UTC by wyldwynd

Wheels writes "
This posting is a section of personal writing that I completed on October 27th, 2006.  In it I use my own words and experiences to tell a sort of existentialist worldview that I'm coming to embrace.  I talk of the interconnectedness of humanity, and share my observations on its direction.  I like to see my telling of my thoughts as a metaphor for my understanding of general human patterns and ideals, as well as need.  So with that said, I present my writing for the consideration of the public.

Essay on the Human Condition
A Personal Narrative
by Jordan T

Part I

I don’t struggle because I have nothing to strive for.  Survival, that most primal of drives, is what forces us to succeed.  When a minimum level of comfort is attained, the survival instinct disappears, and we languish in our existence.  I don’t struggle to survive because I’ve already achieved that goal.  I’m surviving in abject unhappiness.  But there’s the paradox of our species.  A drive of ambition only takes many of us to the bare minimum of mediocrity.  But mediocrity doesn’t satisfy our intellect, so we survive, yes, but we don’t feel as if we are truly living.

I have the sinking feeling that when I finally do enter the working world, my day to day existence won’t be any more fulfilling than it is right now.  Now, I sit in my parent’s house, my childhood home, for hours on end.  I sit in a remodeled bedroom that in its original form shared some of my darkest and most painful moments.  Funny how, just like me, the appearance of the room has changed so drastically.  It’s as if the room was a final piece in the puzzle of my total transformation.

Four years, I went away for four years, and I’m not the same person.  The problem is I’m the only person that actually notices the change.  I hide certain facets of myself from my family to make my life here more tolerable.  What happens when somebody does that, is they start to believe they are this diplomatic image of themselves, and not the personality whose development they have experienced firsthand.

What is so different about the real world that I feel will make it so much better than this?  Out there I’m still going to be projecting an image that I can’t fully reconcile with my internal sense of identity.  The activity itself will be identical, that’s reasonably certain.  Spending eight hours on a computer won’t signify any considerable changes in my routine.  The only thing that will change is my location.  From my perspective that just means a new set design on my peripheral stage.

I play out elaborate scenes in my mind.  I ponder the nature of truth, love, consciousness, existence, and even reality itself.  My life is one of constant intellectual stimulation.  However my deeper exploration of these ideas is limited by the real constraints of finances.  What a mundane reason to be holding back from understanding.  I must at some point relinquish immediate opportunity for intellectual growth in favor of guaranteeing comfortable surroundings in which to later pursue this very growth.

So frequently I get locked into a reality of my hopes and dreams.  What I mean to say is I latch onto a plan of sorts, and I tie my happiness into the success or failure of that plan.  The weakness of that pattern is that the plan gives me the illusion of accomplishment in formulating it.  But real accomplishment is not planning, it’s action, and action is what all this planning serves to avoid. 

What is this world we live in?  What am I taking for granted here?  If there’s one thing I’m certain about, it’s that life is fleeting.  So why do I not take the time to extract as much meaning as I can?  I’m not the only one that believes the world, society, humanity is on the brink of something great.  Not only great, but beyond our conception.  When I say great I mean it not in a modern sense.  I mean it in the sense that it’s something important, something highly significant in the course of human and societal evolution. 

So what I wonder, is why I’m in it for anyone but me.  I can’t begin to estimate the brain power I’ve wasted worrying about what others think about me.  Or for that matter, what I think about them.  I think we all do this because we need some sort of shallow diversion from the deep underlying interconnect between individuals.  That is to say we use the superficial because the collective is too difficult a thought to entertain on a daily basis.  I believe people feel they are happier not associating with the darker, less-desirable side of humanity.  Unfortunately that internal isolation breeds fear, and fear leads to a further lack of connectedness. 

As I’m beginning to see, we as a species need to remove the fear, and rid our collective selves of the isolation.  When we feel connected again, on a generalized but deep level, even with things some of us are taught are wrong, we can find real fulfillment.

I find it to be so unusual that I can postulate these types of ideas, yet when it comes down to my life, my decisions, I’m so entirely uncertain of myself.  I’m not sure if everyone has thoughts like mine, and I seek a way to see if they’re truly original.  And what of it if they aren’t?  Is this in itself a sign of increasing awareness among our species?

One of the strangest experiences of my life, and yet the most memorable to me, was my meeting with a young artist in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.  My usual pattern that spring was to go home and smoke a joint, and then to leave my room and wander the streets.  My destination was almost invariably that park, more so when the weather was summer like.  I had a habit of striking up conversation with people who caught my eye. 

This day, from across the park I noticed a young girl, about nineteen or so, dressed atypically to say the least.  She had a large sketch pad on her knee, and was inconspicuously recording her surroundings.  So I ventured in her direction, my intention may have been clear to her but it still wasn’t to me.  I introduced myself and we made small talk.  She continued sketching, and during our conversation I noticed a familiar form emerging.  I ignored it at first but then it became obvious what she was doing.  She was drawing me, recording that moment for posterity, or at least for herself. 

In an almost Heisenberg-an moment, my observation changed the course of the creation I was observing.  She stopped as I noticed it, and an awkward silence took hold.  The silence was broken when she asked if I was okay with it.  I had no problem and let her continue, but the occurrence was forever altered.  When she finally finished, she was unsatisfied with her work.  With several dramatic strokes, she scratched my face off her pad.  It was still there, but it was obscured by solid lines and shading.  The moment she was meticulously recording was gone, yet the record remained, however distorted.

Somewhere out there, there’s a sketch pad collecting dust, with a piece of me forever trapped in its pages.  Inside that book, are likely some of the very molecules of air that passed from my lungs at that moment.  There are probably microscopic pieces of flower pollen that had been blowing around the park at the time.  That moment still exists in some form in the world, and yet it’s gone.  Never again will that passing instant be recreated exactly as it was.

The point of all that, was to illustrate the uniqueness and impermanence of every instant in our experience.  There were people involved in that moment that may never know they were there, even though they had a definite impact on that event.  In the same thought, my memory of it doesn’t account for the effect that my presence had on those around me.  Even the most subtle of influence still accounts for some amount of change in direction.  Some unknown factor that we may never fully understand. 

The goal of thinking through these ideas is not to analyze the nature of this interconnectedness of life, but to recognize and appreciate that there is a connection.  Understanding that something brings our experiences together and creates a commonality between us then enables us to think more readily about our decisions.  Not just the nature of those decisions, in terms of what we hope to accomplish.  But also the real effect those decisions may have on those of other people.  We begin to think how the choices and wills of everyone around us are actually influencing what we do.  Some of that influence is tangible, but a great deal of it is unconscious as well.


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Re: Essay on the Human Condition (Score: 1)
by skip on Friday, October 27 @ 21:36:55 UTC
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Wheels, I enjoyed reading this essay, and I can say that there are many others who have had similar thoughts to you, so don't feel you are alone in this.

I gather you are relatively young, because you haven't yet experienced firsthand or been able to maintain awareness of that "deep underlying interconnect between individuals" that you mention.

My experience is that we are all deeply connected, and you are right to say that we repress that connection in our daily lives as to acknowledge it would require us to treat everyone in a much more compassionate way than we have been taught.

I was lucky to have been born in the 1950s and experienced the late 1960s as a teenager.  By the 1970s I'd experienced both the interconnectedness of everything under the influence of psychedelics as well as the interconnectedness of human beings completely straight. 

I got to live this out in places like Maui (where I used to live naked on McKenna Beach).  A trip to the local health food store would entail reuniting with friends old and new and meeting new people who instantly became friends. 

Every trip to that place (in Paia), would be a magical event, because you would always meet there whomever you were meant to meet.  That is, you'd go there hoping say to find a place to stay or deliver a message or in one case to find a tourist whose car I'd left my wallet in.  Within minutes I'd run across all the people I needed to run across and my whole life would take a new course.

This was just one affirmation of the interconnectedness of everyone and the magic of mother Maui.  Indeed, upon greeting a friend OR stranger on Maui, you had the opportunity of acknowledging your existing connection with them by looking into their eyes, recognizing the ONE LOVE reaching back out to you from those orbs, then giving them a huge hug.

Never before had I experienced this ONE LOVE as I did there.  It was so evident there, probably because at that time Maui was a magnet for teachers and healers and they came from around the world to share their knowledge and talents.  Maui was awash in healing energy back then (still is somewhat today).

You seem very much aware of the interconnectedness we share, and the next step is to experience it tangibly, in your everyday life - this is where the magic begins and the miracles manifest. 

Experiencing ONE LOVE is what this site is about, and I pray you find it here! :)

Blackwell (Score: 1)
by magen1234 on Friday, December 05 @ 15:17:31 UTC
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