Thursday, September 26, 2013

Responsibility Reincarnated

Met a reincarnated person? Me neither. Nor can I definitely relate to any past life. So therefore it doesn’t exist. Simple. It doesn’t exist! After all, as an awakening child my own fertile imagination was most likely provoked by the image of an Arthurian knight, or that of a full-sailed pirate ship, or that of an Egyptian pyramid, or what of that opening sword fight in Romeo and Juliet? De ja vu! Such excitability to my sentiments is proof perhaps that I once was someone in the past, perhaps a soul in several pasts? Then again, that concept of reincarnation is surely just that, conceptual. I mean, there are arguments we never descended from baboons, and hairy as I am, it is no proof that my genetics are from their lineage! Nor that of caterpillars, gazelles or worms! And just because someone has feminine traits, or a female is overtly masculine, for that matter, it does not mean he or she is a carry-over from a past life-time! What rubbish! Reincarnation, like Alice in Wonderland, is a fig-a-ment of the imagination! Why, if I were to... And so it goes.

Thing is, unless one specifically can relate, can identify with, can feel for, can be sure of, there is much dismissal of concepts at the expense of those who believe, or who’ve ‘been there, done that.’ Some argue having a 'soul'. Yet there certainly are sufficient proponents of reincarnation enough to fill out books and tracts and orders and religious gatherings on the subject. 'I want what’s right for me,' is the ubiquitous category. Indeed, we are so concerned with the ‘me’.

My soul. My spirit. My body. My life. My lives. My likes. Wants. Fears. Feelings. Loves. Me, mine, and I. And don’t you cross me. Don’t invade my space. Don’t you try to change, influence, persuade, preach or proselytize; I am me and I will believe as it suits me. Predominantly. Sometimes I shift gears and am swayed by the momentum of my family, my friends, my society, my governors, my God. It is my prerogative! It is my right! I am a soul on a journey, or not. I know some say I am just here for just this lifetime and then gone, dust to dust. All of me? Well...

Iconoclasm is the instinct of the cynical, the existential, the distinctly left-brained. Its break-down and examination of improvable constructs keeps a check (and balance?) of the status quo. After all, between theory and fact lie many a discussion, many a contention, many an argument, and many an opinion. An individual is so very paramount; so very iconic; so distinctly significant; so completely important! Or not. Depends if that individual is ‘me’, or not.

Me and I drive sensibility. My belief will dictate my life-style, dominate my desires, depict for me my choices. And to let go of my sense of me, once I die, seems unfathomable. Surely I will go to heaven, I will evolve to the next level, I will be held accountable, I will be free from suffering, I will go on... won’t I? What’s more, I will meet my maker. I will reunite with my family. And when the jury is in, I will...
Met someone who’s been to Heaven? Hell? And not the ones we make or find ourselves in down here, but up there, in the afterlife? Certainly, there are reams aplenty about that too.

Thing is, my own conceptualization of the molecular dispersal of ME into the Whole is but an idea. It may discard Future Ego, leaven MY past, free me of MY future, attempt awareness of my present, and be fancifully osmotic in the extreme. It may discount mirrored continuity, it may discount my owning an integral cellular antiquity, but it does not disavow a responsibility to the health of the whole. Ha! It is my, me, I, and mine idea. And I can live with that inadequacy. You?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Imbalanced Integration

The balance between adulthood and childhood is easily overstepped. We can at times forget who is managing. And to bring the past along with ourselves, step for step, is not necessarily to make the paradigm shift into a new Meme. Such a shift into a progressive predominance of preferred behaviours, or a new set of proclivities, is too easily to fear being hoisted on one's own petard. Yet it is an Integrative Maturation that would have us evolve, become more sophisticated, realize our potential, and provoke at our entelechy. (Or is it that entelechy provokes at us, or not, given its Greek concept of 'innate drive'?)

Throughout history we have eschewed hierarchies. More evidently though, we actually have bowed to them. We have allowed the natural evolution of childhood inculcations of the paternal and maternal dominance to propel us a populace, and we've given over our individualism to the leadership and governance of An Other. Naturally. Our families, our schools, our churches, our institutions, our political system, our religions, and even our spirituality renders it so. We are more easily subservient to the cultural paradigm into which we are born than we are emboldened to walk out on the tight ropes from one paradigm shift to another, and to 'go it alone'. It is a natural gregariousness, a natural interdependence, and a natural need to have group inclusion that drives us to stay within the species into which we are born. Especially if not impelled by adversity. And though there are indeed rarities, anomalies, and individuated persons who clearly are far out to left field (or is it too far on the right?), there is a generalized adherence to the status quo by the vast majority of us that is undeniable. We are who we are. And we resent those who think they are better than ourselves. They may evidently seem better, be taller, have more money, be more innately academic, be more beautiful, have altogether better luck; but we resent it if they look down on us; or conversely (to use a sad phrase) there are those who from cat-like aloofness 'do not suffer fools gladly'.

Most sets of paradigms aspiring toward depicting mankind's evolution has the basic tenants of self-centricity, filial-centricity, ego-centricity, cultural-religio-centricity, nation-centricity, and world-centricity. To complicate matters, within each set of such a centricity are a similarity of persons with personality traits and character traits (inherently different in themselves) as well as the whole gamut of the bell curve of I.Q. In other words, an exceptional talent and gifted scholar may still predominantly operate from a Stage Three of six. And the loving circle of a psycho-geometric meme may well find herself caught up in her proclivity for a Stage Two Paradigm. That is, we are as intermixed and convoluted as can be, and in our small meme behaviours we can live comfortably within our Large Meme habits, without consciously thinking. Six large Memes. Kazillions of little meme behaviours. Yet each of us is hopefully aspiring to evolve toward more effectively contributing to the health of the whole Whole. Or do we?

Huh? Meta-cognitive thinking does not come easily. We simply think. It is not the simplistic choices between left and right that keeps us in balance, nor is it the incremental steps we take from A to Z; it is the integration and inclusion and acceptance and absorption of everything not only as it is, but as it may yet evolve to be. Had we not evolved we would still be Neanderthals. If we do not evolve we, as a species, will keep revolving around the first Six Memes. For fear of becoming Integrative, we may well stay in a tension of unmanageable imbalance. Ha! A pity. Even a cat has only nine lives.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wealth of Words

26 letters. Kazillions of words. Multiple languages! We make of symbols a myriad of meanings. And conflict is at essence in every story, or else we have but description, exposition, and instruction. Yet even here we might give pause; our constructs are such that they can become inviolate. Especially if handed down to us by tradition.

Stories comprise the six themes of conflict: person versus person, self, society, nature, supernatural, and the artificial. And the tale to be told usually follows a traditional pattern of climbing and descending a mountain, with the exposition, the inciting force, the rising action, the foreshadowing and crises along the way to the climax; then the descent of the action, with suspenseful crises en route, until its denouement satisfies, or as in Romeo and Juliet's case, is a lesson. Most of us know these terms. We have a clear concept of protagonist and antagonist and characterization and narration and purple patches everywhere; they are the stuff of the educated. Yet there is many an author who knew not the academic tools by which to build a story; the artist just created from an innate ability to yoke the sentences together, to embroider a tapestry of words full of similes and metaphors that did not clash, but revealed us unto ourselves.

Magic. Wicked. Radical.

Words may take decades to change their meaning; 'making love' ain't what it used to be. So too are the strings of words that go to make up memory. Yes? Verbal phrasing changes as one repeats one's story, except mayhap where the rhythm or rhyme of the pattern is regular. Hence the old tradition of memorizing verse, like 'The Rime of The Ancient Mariner'; the passing on of a tribal history. But between the foul script and the published product is many an editorial intervention. Still, the printed word is taken for truth. And we are affected by our stories. "What boils my blood" an old friend used often to say. At his deathbed he did not go with acceptance; he raged against the dying light.

Acceptance. We accept the stories and the laws and the idioms and the icons of others in our meaning-making ways. We suspend our disbelief and we take for truth fictional lives. We feel for and with them. We even cry at their distress or demise. And we care so deeply that even if the new character in the new story as seen on our screens is yet again a real Brad, cheeky Tom, irascible Clint, or a mayhap a marvellous Meryl, we accept such as an altogether different person, a different construct. After all, the venues of imagination have little room for reality. We are easily ontological, without knowing it.

It is The Word that might best be examined. Any word. Impeccability of word choice is ascribed to Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe. Some liked Hemingway. But still, their stories may be retold, rendered anew, even in the semantics. The elements of a story may wear different clothing, speak in a different tongue, make meaning with different sentences, and yet still have Romeo and Juliet die in the end of having followed the exact same plot. Such is the power of language. And of The Book. And of ideas.

Read. Write. But beware of thinking it all, well, right.  Or have I not stirred up some conflict?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Disavowing Dreams?

A metallic feeling of rejection woke me. It was a leaden-tin taste, a physically pervasive poison, molecular and osmotic. Conscious, I shuddered. I knew precisely why I'd had that dream, and what my ongoing thoughts and actions were now to be. It was a sure sign that my attachment to a past goal was not to be wrought, not to be made manifest. The goal itself would reject me.

Dreams do that to us. They mean things. Or not. Many of my dreams find origins in the immediacy of a given day; images linked to specifics, to the late night movie, to the arresting arrangement in a store window. Like the toy train-engines sought after in the journeys of my dreams. Colourfully, I've been in hobby departments, seen the gleaming engines. Tried to memorize the stores' locations, lucid-like within my dream, in cities as diverse as Ndola, Pretoria, Edinburgh, London, and... Well, I often lose myself on the way back to a specific store, to a glassed-in display, but the silver-wheeled locomotives keep being sought. (Having actually worked as a stoker, I know trains.) Nor can I quite afford the glistening electric thing when I find it. Often there are several kinds of engines from which to choose (not all in Hornby's HO gauge) and I get the feeling in my dream of wishing, wanting, waiting, and willing myself to find my way back to the object of my desire. But I never can quite carry the treasure away with me. Then again, since I found a CD with an indelible image of a derailment, that dream has not surfaced as frequently.

Narcissism would have one relate the significance of dreams easily. At five years old my recurring dream was that of tight-rope walking. I can still feel the sheer reality of the tension between choices as I stepped myself awake, even then. And given that I often had that dream as a child, high-wire images still stay with me and provoke my ongoing interest in matters of balance. (Like that ubiquitous picture of men casually at lunch on a high girder.) Lately, over the past three decades, I've been gliding, soaring, lifted free from the clutch of earth by my will, and without a flip-flap or a sense of fear, have wondrously drifted pain free over landscapes and cities and parks, skirting trees and skyscrapers, feeling aloft. A delightful dream; it is my favourite. And nowadays such flights of fancy occur once or even twice a week; a release from my persevering stream of physical consciousness that I've a continuously gnawing pain?

Pain and stress and circumstance create dreams; so does joy and love and situations. We often send hopes that 'your dreams' will be fulfilled; better perhaps to specify 'which' dreams, ha! Yes, symbolism, semiotics, atavisms and derivations abound. There are books on lucid dreaming, on the significance of this or that in dreams, and ultimately our dreams are about, well, me, myself, and I. We are the stuff that dreams are made of, the poet said. And we are the sleepers too. Ugh? Who else may dream our dreams for us?

Rejection is a taste. It is a feeling. It is a nightmare. Or it is an indicator. In the balance between this or that, best not to be derailed as we seek new vistas. Then again, how else to soar above it all but to be fancifully free from that which clutches one back to earth, like the very suck of gravitas itself? After all, are we such stuff as dreams are made of, perchance; or then again, perhaps not?

Ha! As some people say: dream on! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Well, of Silence

Sacred, Secret, Silent

The sound of silence travels not far. It dwells only momentarily inside. Move and you hear your bones creak. Breathe and you hear your passageways. And beaming quietly in light may well give pause to some passers by, indeed, but then they go on. And of my personal affect there is little. I am a molecule, like any of us, watching whatever. My thoughts are easily kept secret. Without this very missive my words are unpublished, unheard, unrecorded, silent. Whom do I reach?

"Who do you think you are?" was a great leveller when I was a child. Still is. And in my egotistic presumptions that perhaps my pronouncements meant something, were of some value, were having an effect, the dichotomy betwixt Doing and Being appeared breached. But then someone countenanced me. "Who do you think you are?" Almost simultaneously I came across the Arcturian quote, and I fell into silence. Falling is not pleasant; one questions stability all the way down. Arcturians are best researched.

No matter what we do we affect others. Yet dependent on each other, our impact is not necessarily commensurate with an other's awareness of ourselves. Some sow but small seeds; maturation may be decades ahead. And some yoke and conscript and manage you, such that your time becomes curtailed, your thoughts become conjoined with theirs, and your commensurate being and doing appears aligned. We are creatures of habit. The choice of habits is not easily altered.

Such seeds as my thoughts sew are my responsibility. In the end, they are but seeds.