Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Existential Crisis, Averted.

For the last week I’ve been going through an existential crisis. To be honest, it’s really difficult for me to talk about, mainly because many of the issues and ideas I’ve been feeling don’t correlate to the English language, but also because it’s been scary and exciting to personally work through this.

I first want to try to explain part of what I’ve been going through. For a long time now I have had the idea that we are all connected to one another, and I’m sure many of you believe that as well. But for me, it has always been an idea, a concept, a theory. One night coming home on the train, I suddenly felt it. I closed my eyes and I saw everything around me deconstruct, lose its meaning and just become.

I started to really freak out. I realized at that moment that everything I have ever known has been because of what I have learned from other people: language, emotional reactions, knowledge, social responses, etiquette, love etc. In theory it is easy to see how that works, but to feel it is strange.

I started to feel how disconnected I have been all my life. I started to get really upset about issues from history that I have no control over such as slavery, concentration camps, immigration and life in the U.S in general. I couldn’t (and I can’t) understand how people could be so cruel. How people couldn’t defend themselves because the evils was so unforeseeable, so unimaginable that it came as more of a shock than a type of battle.

After about a week of trying to work through all these thoughts on my own I finally brought it up to Ryan, who was overly excited that I have finally had an “awakening” so to speak.

We discussed the concepts of authenticity and how in the United States we haven’t felt connected to anything. And when I started thinking about it deeper I realized that our heritage, our culture, is the culture of consumption. Why? Because our entire lives we haven’t had anything (ritual, ideals or otherwise) to hold on to so we hold on to stuff. We consume in order to feel something. But no matter how much we buy, eat, drink, we will never feel complete because it isn’t stuff that we need it’s each other.

We talked about an innate spirit that all creatures possess; we discussed why I ended up on the path that I did as opposed to other people who grew up similarly situated. How each moment, each image, each thought or idea we receive helps to pave the road we take, but how we inherently have feelings on where we want to go and what we are supposed to do with our lives. It goes deeper than nature versus nurture because our lives cannot be divided upon such rigid binaries. We also have to consider our spirit. What we have inherited from our ancestors, because how they worked, what impacted them, affects us more than most of us realize.

I guess what I have been struggling with the most is disconnect and connection. I finally feel how we are all connected, but it hurts because I know so many others do not feel it. And they make the world dangerous.

In an article I just read for class the author writes that “the price of individual freedom is constant competition with others, and all the consequent problems arising from that competition.” And it is so true, even if you take a basic concept such as love. In our culture there seems to be a limited supply of love, you can only love one person at a time, you can only give so much love in a lifetime. Well, that is false. That is a concept based on a commodity culture; the idea of scarcity—get it before it runs dry—as if love was a physical resource that we can purchase at wal-mart.

In the end, it’s still difficult to try to communicate. I know some people may know exactly what I am talking about, and how others will think “duh, I’ve known that all my life” while others may be left in a state of pure confusion. I have just feel that it writing about this was an obligation; I felt this sort of enlightenment so to speak and it’s more of a priority to explain it to others than to just keep it to myself; because what is this self anyway but another piece of this earth puzzle anyway . . .

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