ehowton (ehowton) wrote,
ehowton
ehowton

The Zen of Living 禪


I will never stop seeking that which could destroy me, if for no other reason than to be as prepared as I can when or if it were to transpire. I will never stop seeking that one thing I refuse to compromise on, save seeking itself, for as long as there is breath in my body, I will continue to search for that which cannot be found. Aristotle asserts that all human beings desire the acquisition of knowledge. Its all I seek anymore.


And I feel ostracized because of it.


For the first time in my life I am at a place where I can actively indulge myself in matters of the mind - I can expound upon ideas and thoughts and precepts and theorize conclusions and hypothesis. I work with computers all day in a mighty lair of my own creation, receiving instruction electronically and responding to it in fashion, never having to actually communicate to lesser beings. For some, this would be a one-way trip to madness. For me, its utopia actualized.



Neurotic Dog & Simple Dog, saddled with each other.
I often feel like "Simple Dog" insofar as he sees everything as awesome!



And yet no one understands. Because its different, its wrong; because its not normal, its wrong; because my ideas differ from others...its wrong. Because I embrace reality and facts rather than denying truth and can accept my own human nature in stoic style with all its shortcomings while being similarly accepting of others and displaying a general lack prejudice, its wrong. For many, art conceptualizes basic human instinct for harmony, balance and rhythm outside utility. For myself, pursuit of knowledge incorporates all those intangibles within the denotation of utility. I do not begrudge artists their expression, why do I feel such hostility toward my own discoveries? My own endeavors? How can an artist call my unique expression flawed?


Many feel that I dislike disagreements. Nothing could be further from the truth! Without a differing opinion I would never learn, and on this path of enlightenment I am on it does me a great disservice to either simply agree with me or worse, disagree without supportive discussion as to why. Your opinion means everything to me - when you can articulate the how and why behind it - and means almost nothing to me when you can't. Your opinion alone is not what's important, rather how you arrived at it. Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening. ~ Zen Saying. And I doubt all unsubstantiated beliefs. You want to convince me? Talk to me. Tell me why you feel the way you feel, not just what you feel.


And yet time and again I battle daily with those who's default reaction to anything - everything - is seemingly frustration, or anger, or hopelessness. People who smile because they think that's what they're supposed to do, not those who do so because they cannot contain it within. People who feel as if anything other than frustration, or anger, or hopeless is oppressing - that I am actively seeking to destroy their freedom of expression by suggesting they use the power of their mind to...if not assume wonder at every turn, then at least not be destroyed by every overturned rock. Knowledge fascinates me! I live in a bubble of wonder! Why does this make ME the weird one?


A little over three years ago I posted on this very subject - thinking on things which could destroy me. And given that time, I've learned a few things. There was a cute little graphic I used that I thought summed up well what we should all strive for - four things no matter your beliefs or philosophies or epistemological viewpoints we can all agree upon. I didn't think these were opinions or debatable items. I now see that I was wrong.



There's no fate but what we make for ourselves.


"Have fun" the first one stated. Only, some are afraid to have fun. If they did so, they might pay for it later somehow; that it would come back to haunt them. Others don't believe they deserve to have fun, that fun is not quite within their grasp and is too much of an effort to attempt. Better to not try, than try and fail - because failure is bad. At least they can be a success at not having fun!


"Do not hurt people" the second one stated. This has been one of the hardest for me to learn. Many people will get hurt no matter what you do, or don't do. They leave no course of action which will alleviate pain or suffering. They will be hurt no matter what. You thought you had choices, but these people are adept at zero compromises. They don't want to get hurt, but neither to they believe that its possible to choose a path in which it doesn't exist. Suffering for most of us is a choice. For these people, its a way of life and there is no disputing it. They simply do not have the capacity for using their mind to change their perception enough to make them not unhappy. This is not an opinion. I can do it, they cannot. [CORRECTION: Others can do it too. (despite empirical data to the contrary...)]


"Do not accept defeat" is the third one in which I've realized my viewpoint on differs. Some wear defeat as a warm blanket around them - its comfortable because there are no expectations and let's face it, expectations can be hard. For those who find challenges nothing more than roads to failure, and failure as defeat instead of a lesson, acceptance of defeat is the ONLY path laid before them.


Lastly we had, "Strive to be happy" but I think you all know where I'm going with this. If you are afraid to have fun, are constantly hurt by every perceived action or comment, and wear defeat as a secret-club badge for being smarter than those who would fail, your vision of happiness; that pseudo-contentment you strive for which straddles the line between being frustrated and not - that is not what I consider happiness. I understand that you do, and if you'll allow me to, I will accept it fully as you accept mine.





This contrasts greatly with those who believe I live to argue. I remember people saying the same thing about drax0r. "He just likes to argue."

"No," I'd say, "He likes to learn." And that response always got me cud-chewing cow-eyes. Blank, cud-chewing, cow-eyes. Usually followed by the highly ineffective, "Nuh-uh" defense. As for myself I do it more because I desire understanding. And I don't mind admitting I'm often shocked at how little I understand. Almost as how shocked I am that there are living, breathing people milling around on this earth with no comprehension of why they believe what they do, and perhaps worse, without the cognitive function to discuss it logically before their emotional safety-net triggers and they start speaking in tongues. Its fascinating. And it scares the bejezzus outta me.


Why even the last person I suggested turning a potential conflict into a challenging opportunity asked me why I was always so negative. I had no response to that. It was the most life-affirming, optimistic thing I could think of to say, and how I personally deal with negative external influences. Yet...my suggestion of overcoming negativity was negative? I DON'T UNDERSTAND. And as is par for my course, it could not be explained. It just felt that way, I suppose.


We absolutely must have some common ground in which to interact.





I was standing near the pharmacy looking to stock-up on my el-cheapo daily antihistamines when I reached for the capsules, 100 count, $3.49. My hand hovered, stopping - because next to them were the tablets, 100 count, $3.49. I'd often wondered why there were both. That day, I took pause to find out why. I picked them both up to study them, assuming their delivery was different - I assumed one was a more timed release, but I was wrong - there it was, on the bottle! The capsules claimed, "Easier to Swallow." Excellent. Now I knew why there were two different kinds and was once again at peace with myself, and the world. I purchased those. After all, who wants something hard to swallow?


But by the time I got back to the car I realized all was not well at all. By claiming one was "easier" to swallow, why did the other not make its claim known? "More difficult to swallow." Well that's just absurd, marketers aren't going to do that. So...why even manufacture hard-to-swallow pills when the easier ones are the same price. Surely there's a reason, despite my research into both turning up nothing viable.


We were out on our morning walk when I mentioned this conundrum to my wife who said without hesitation, "I'd pick the pink oval one. Its pretty, and oval is a wonman's shape."


It was my turn to be cow-eyed.


I didn't know what to say, or even how to behave. I'm pretty sure I stumbled. I opened my mouth to mock her answer only...what if every woman considered that? What if that alone was the reason they manufactured both? One outselling the other demographically? Genius. Or not. Point is, I'd have never thought of it on my own. Not given all the time and money on earth.


Maybe I do need to talk to people from time to time.


Tags: destroy, failure, goals, happiness, philosophy, psychology
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