I see a lot of folks on the internet suggest that "we" need to shed the constraints of society, step out of the "role" we inevitably must play in the mundane world. "We" must not get lost in the rules and the person "we" must become in the "real world." I have to say, I understand where they are coming from. For the most part these folks are appealing to the part of us that feels like a slave to the grind. Long ago the average work day was 9am to 5pm, there was even a song about it. Now the average workday is 8am to 6pm or longer. People spend more time with their co-workers than with their own families and that is just sad. The practical part of me that works all day, generally 8:30am to between 6:30 and 7pm, knows that it is a necessary evil. How else would I provide food for my family? How else could I provide a home for them? I hear the attitude, I hear people say all the time, "Get over it! That's life, deal with it." That is also accurate, there isn't a heck of a lot one can do about the grind. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, there are those fortunate enough to break out of it or at the very least find a job they actually like and are passionate about. Lucky bastards.
These days the internet is overloaded with self proclaimed prophets, shamans, gurus and healers of everything from your inner child to the restless ghost haunting your cabinets. I'll be clear right off the bat, good for them! Good for those people who have figured out a way to make a living doing something they are passionate about, not everyone gets to do that and yet the example these folks set isn't always exemplary. No one expects perfection but the chippy blonde who pushes a vegan agenda shouldn't be seen repeatedly at events carrying around plastic disposable cups even if the contents are pure, organic, juicy goodness. The folks who proclaim based on their overpriced certificate of authenticity or even on their years of experience, that they are here to help the "unawakened" oft times go around acting unawakened themselves. While it would be silly to expect anyone to act perfectly in an imperfect word it seems there should be a set of guidelines. To that end, I offer you these:
I love discussions about religious theologies and philosophy and there is much “out there” to discuss. Of late I have been frequenting a website where religion is often discussed as well as theories about varied pantheons, Gods, Goddesses, multi-verses and things related, in other words, about everything in this universe and in others. Often people come in who are clearly quite intelligent and have their theories well thought out. They assign names, numbers and dates, among other details, anything they can to more easily label it and put it in a box so they can perhaps understand it better or validate it. They present as fact that which they believe to be true and they sound credible enough with all that detail they have, all those names and dates.
To put it simply, connection is key. It’s likely you have heard that before. An underlying tone to almost all major religions, theologies, philosophies and the like, connection is a theme. On thinking about this connection I came to the conclusion that once connection is the goal, everything else just falls into place and its manifestation is individual. What I mean, to put it simply, is that for example, love is not the answer; it is merely a part of the answer. It is well established that one must be the message they want to see in the world, this has been said by many in many different ways. How can a goal like connection be accomplished without some basic things such as forgiveness, love, compassion, open-mindedness compromise and understanding to name a few? It is very easy to see through simple observation those people who incorporate these things into their lives and hence their message as well as those people who do not.
People are easier to dismiss if we can make a snap judgment about them, put them into a pre-labeled box and simply not think about them anymore. We all do it to varying degrees. The labels are made for us by our parents, our teachers, our friends and other people we associate with growing up, such as people from our church if we go to one. The point is we have our labels ready to go for the time we are old enough to start stuffing people into boxes. Some gently place people into a box, others do it with extreme prejudice, either way; it is a convenience and removes accountability from us. Once we have put them into their box, we know from the label why “those” people are “like that.” Many people don’t consider the label itself any more than they consider other things they were born into like breathing. What most never consider is that despite the myriad of people we may stuff into the same box, each one of those people is different.
Still adjusting to my new neighborhood, it has it's good and bad aspects. It's overall a pretty cliche' good ole American town. All stereotypes present and accounted for. The groovy thing is that people are starting to break the stereo types. Doing things a little different. Just yesterday I was chatting with someone from the neighborhood who saw the St. Christopher Medal I wear around my neck asked me, "What Religion are you supposed to be?"
To Which I answered, "All of them."
And he says, "Well that's kind of ambiguous, ain't it."
The coolest part, and I couldn't have imagined it better, right after he said that, he spit. He wasn't looking where it was going, whether or not someone might step in it, he just turned his head and spat then turned his head back like it was just what people do.
It happens, you identify with a group of people, any group of people and you get the good and the bad. There will always be people in your group that give everyone else in the group a bad name. Best thing to do is be good. That's simple enough, ain't it?
I’ve been thinking about the internet, the good and the bad and I thought wouldn’t it be great if…
If you could go to Craig’s list and put up something like, “I need dental work, are you a Dentist? If you are I will exchange a dental appointment for any of the following skills: I can garden, clean, do yard work, paint, am trained in massage therapy, and can fix your computer.”
You would see things like, “I’m a mechanic, I’ll fix you and your families cars, foreign or domestic for as long as it takes to get my daughters some braces. Roadside assistance negotiable.”
The possibilities are endless...
And it wouldn’t be the type of thing where you can only use the service if you join and pay monthly or yearly dues. There would be no fees, no dues ever. That’s the point. No terms and conditions other than ones you make when you barter with someone, whatever you agree to with them.
Yea…let’s do that. It’s a great idea, there’s probably a law against it.
Or is everyone's desire to make a buck too strong? Would it even work?
As with so many things, from Religio-spiritual belief to diet to parenthood, people have become extremists when it comes to conflict resolution. The subjects mentioned are ones people tend toward sensitivity about. They are issues people take very personally and quite seriously, hence the extreme attitude taken when “defending” their own point of view regarding one or all of these issues. In the first, the arena of spirituality and/or religion there is much at stake for a lot of people; in fact, it is their very soul they have to prove their correctness for. With diet one may be justifying a lifestyle choice. Parenthood is very serious to most parents, all parents want to feel as though they are doing the best they can for their children, not to mention, a child’s behavior is a reflection of the parent, they are little representations of us. These are only a few of the topics I have attempted to discuss with people and I use the word “attempted” because generally conversation turns to confrontation rather too easily for my tastes in these situations, and I haven’t even mentioned politricks, that’s one I don’t generally touch with a ten foot pole.
The internet is everywhere, but there was a time when it wasn’t and that time is recent enough that there are people around right now who remember a world without it. At the same time, there are also people around who have had it as a part of their lives from the time their mother handed them her smart phone to quiet them in the grocery store when they were just babes riding along in the grocery cart. People who use the internet come in all ages and that will be true for a long, long while. What will change is that as time marches on, we will eventually be in a world where young and old alike were born into the internet. People born into this kind of technology tend to look at it differently than those who were not. That is, of course, a statement that could be amended in a number of ways if one takes into account the hundreds to thousands of variables inherent when dealing with humans. Each person is so unique in their ideas and interpretations, each one having a different take on things, it is truly fascinating. What a boring world this would be if we were all the same, all in agreement all of the time. And so I ponder the lie of the internet or rather, the liars of the internet, in no other aspect of life is it so easy to lie.
In a recent conversation I was having regarding community living the discussion took a turn for the interesting when the person I was speaking with, one living in a small community setting of about 15 people, made the following comment, “Out of 15 of us, not even 2 have the same goals.” He then expounded on his own goals which were, “…to live life, be successful and contribute to helping make the world a better place.” As I pondered his words I couldn’t help but think something was a little off, then I thought about Ego vs. ego. This isn’t a take on Freud and it is no more based on neuroscience than Freud’s theory regarding id, ego and superego. It’s quite simple really. The Ego, with a capital letter “E” represents what we do that is driven by our desire to impress others while what is driven by ego, with a lower case “e” are things we do to connect with others. Intent comes into play and of course there are fine lines as there are with many things. For the sake of keeping this piece moving however, I will go back to the conversation about community living and use these bits of it as an example to illustrate my point.