Fearless Reason

Fearless reason in an age of frightened absurdity.

Tag: modernity

Elbow to Elbow Eyes Astray

Electronic
hallucinations
crave our
attention.

While
cacophonous sound
competes for our
thoughts.

Elbow
to elbow
eyes
astray.

Sipping
comforting poisons
served
by the glass.

Drawn
together
by human
need.

Alone
together
in private worlds
of flashing screens.

Seeking
one another
elbow to elbow
eyes astray.

A Western Heretic

I am a western heretic; having lost faith in the religion of my people, that constant technological progress is necessary and universally good.  Our creations reflect our inner nature, and we cannot escape spiritual infancy with technological maturity.

We built a world on the foundation of the ego’s never ending want. A world premised, on the externalization of identity and a rejection of the present moment. We built a world to divert our anxious minds, and give comfort to our decaying flesh. Abandoning inward seeking for outward buying, selling, and coveting.

The seeker became the consumer, and from cradle to grave remained an infant all his days.

We got lost in time; mourning the traumas of the past, and intermittently dreading and hoping for a non-existent future. Abdicating the present moment, which upon inspection, is never lacking.

We built a world that produces misery, in all its varied and sundry forms. Vainly hoping that one form will be better than the last, and will satisfy for a time the ego’s endless craving.

We are ugly inside; filled with envy, greed, fear, and hate. So we built an ugly world, that reflects our inner nature, in amplified and varying forms.

Alone Together

Alone together.

Thoughts trapped in bodies,
Seeking expression,
Finding meaning.

Thoughts,
Sounding,
Moving.

Seeking understanding.

Thoughts trapped in bodies,
Seeking thoughts,
Finding bodies.

Alone together,
Thoughts,
Imperfectly understood.

What is in you,
What is in me,
Is it the same.

Alone together.

Thoughts,
Seeking,
Thoughts,
Finding,
Bodies.

Seeking connection.

Thoughts,
Seeking,
Thoughts.

Bodies,
Alone,
Together.

Eyes,
Finding,
Eyes.

Fingers,
Pecking,
Scratching,
Meaning.

Alone,
Together.

Finding,
Thoughts,
Within bodies.

I Pray the World Out Lives Me

I pray the world out lives me, and strive to make it a place worth living if it does. I was born before the wall fell, when Great Powers threatened mutual destruction. I survived the apocalypse, though I only learned about it in school.  I grew up with terrorists, first domestic then foreign. All trying to kill me, all punishing my government and hating my liberty. I survived the terrorists, though I had to learn about them on the news. Then as a young man, I was assaulted by poison in food and water, overpopulation, a kleptocratic oligarchy, global warming, and ancient aliens if what some say is true. I survived these things, though I had to learn about them in somber documentaries and videos on youtube.

My life is lived on the cusp of destruction, but I die from squinting at screens, poking at keys, shuffling papers, and listening half heartedly to the chattering of strangers. I die every moment of every day, as the present becomes the past or is lost to abstractions about a future I may never see.

I survived the apocalypse, only to die of decay.

A False Dichotomy

Our paradigm determines what is possible. I spent most of my life as a hardboiled materialist. I was enough of a philosopher to temper that view with the acknowledgement that I could not know for sure, but I was Agnostic only in name. I felt certain the world of my five senses was all that there was, and that if there was more, I had no way of knowing.

I would describe this period in my life as the Age of the Machine. My worldview was mechanistic, so I viewed life as just another sort of machine – sometimes beautiful, sometimes tragic, but always blindly acting on programming.

Atheism did not make me immoral. Even with the view that humans are no more than biological machines I adhered to high levels of ethical and moral behavior. Even machines must observe rules for optimal functionality.

It was only after a rather spontaneous spiritual awakening that I came to realize my paradigm of materialism had made my world small and grey. The religion of materialism is internally logical and self-reinforcing. When we view ourselves as machines, we become machines. If the world of the five senses is all you acknowledge as real, then that is all you will perceive. The world of the five senses comes at us in a barrage that will not be ignored. You must either face the onslaught, or become its victim. The forces of physical violence and necessity do not require your belief.

Conversely, matters of the spirit and mind are far more subtle. One can neglect and ignore both for a lifetime, and never comprehend the consequences. However, to flourish and grow the mind and soul require our belief and devoted attention. Even as I have moved into the Age of Spirit, the senses remain a siren in the night, driving me to distraction on their rocky shores.

In all, I prefer life as a man rather than a machine. I prefer a world of infinite possibility to one of finite cause and effect. I prefer the subtle energies of spirit to the course lure of the world that cannot be ignored.

Even as I write this, I am struck by the false duality of my statement. I fully reject Cartesian dualism, and embrace a pantheistic view of the universe. Yet spirit and everyday life often seem irreconcilable.

I believe this conflict to be a result of the Cartesian dualism that has so permeated modern society, rather than any innate tension. Dualism posits that the world of the flesh and the world of the spirit and mind are fundamentally separate. You must choose to live the life of flesh, or chose the spirit and retreat to a monastery away from its temptations and distractions; a false dichotomy that splits men in two.

Modern Malaise: Gen Y

Something is amiss with modern man; a sort of subtle melancholy that at times defies articulation. The history of humanity has thus far been defined by hardship and the struggle for survival. Our forebears lived lives that were nasty, brutish and short, where each day was an unbearable struggle to merely survive. However, over the past hundred years or so a large portion of the human race has managed to pull itself up from the drudgery of mere survival, to a place of prosperity and ease. Physical comfort and survival accomplished, the question has become: What now?

Those stuck in the paradigm of survival have concluded that if what they have now is good, surely more is better. So they set out to acquire ever more wealth, luxury and ease; often at the expense of enjoying any of it. However, an increasing portion of the population, particularly those in Gen Y, are no longer satisfied with their predecessors’ imperative of survival.

This is the generation who has known no great wars, and was born into a world of material abundance and digital connectivity. Survival was never at risk for this cohort, so they often fail to see the necessity or wisdom of the ideas that drive modern society. Survival assured, Gen Y wants more than their parents’ suburban mansions, with garages filled to overflowing with once wanted but now unused adornments and diversions. Instead, they wish to live lives filled with meaning, in communities that foster growth.

People are changing, and the world is soon to follow. What many are experiencing now is the birthing pains of a new paradigm, and a new age. As survival chafes against the paradigm of prosperity, many find themselves trapped in old patterns that leave them feeling empty and unfulfilled. They work jobs they hate, doing thing they find meaningless or wrong, to buy things, once acquired, they no longer want. They live in a world of survival, because they cannot see how prosperous they are. This person feels trapped, and their life meaningless. They know there is a better way, but they see no way to achieve it. They feel trapped in a struggle for survival, not born of the necessity to survive, but out of a system and circumstances that seem to allow no alternative. In short, they are caught in the inertia of a world predicated on a paradigm that enriches their flesh, but impoverishes their soul.

However, only our choice to adhere to inertia’s mandate gives it any power over us. To live a life of prosperity, one need only decide they are prosperous and enjoy their wealth. I do not speak of the ornaments of survival that have given birth to the tremendous waste and shallow consumerism of our society. Instead, I speak of the richness of living a life with meaning, with people you love. To be prosperous, one need only live a life in which your values and actions align, and those you love are cherished.

Consider what the world would be like if everyone engaged only in those things they found meaningful, good and worthwhile. Is it somewhere you would like to live? If so, what is stopping you?