The Land of NeverWas

Where all the "Might Have Beens" live

Archive for the category “philosophy”

parental philosophy and teenage confusion

I tried to have a philosophical discussion with my daughter last night. I failed miserably. It’s not because my daughter doesn’t have brains. She’s a sharp gal. It was more that I couldn’t find words that adequately described what I was trying to illustrate.

Here’s the thing.

I was trying to tell her that in reality we can be anything we want to be at any time just by doing it. For instance, I’m being a writer right now as I am typing this just by the fact that I am stringing words together in (hopefully) a fashion that makes sense to tell a story or – as in this case – to make a point. She herself is a soccer player just by going out on the field and playing soccer. She is a singer when she sings in the car or shower. An actor when she does her little video bits. A model when she takes pictures of herself. So on and so forth.

Then here’s the tricky bit, where I started to fail in my little discussion.

It’s when we start adding what I was calling The Dream to these activities that we start running into trouble. When we start to quantify and qualify what we are doing in levels. Sure, I am writing right now which makes me a writer, but when I add on The Dream of being a well-known, published and, of course, well-off writer that things tend to get off track. I start getting depressed when I realize that The Dream is not only incredibly difficult to achieve, but also more than likely unattainable. I catch myself not calling myself an author simply because I’ve never had a book published by someone else. This blog, to me, doesn’t count. I haven’t been validated by someone else’s money. That is what – to me – would make me good. It’s really a superficial definition.

I illustrated the odds by using football. When compared to the over all population of the United States those playing football professionally are microscopic in number, yet many people who actually do strap on the cleats and go out and play on a regular basis have The Dream to one day be a professional football player, when in fact they are already football players just by playing football. Adding The Dream and then not achieving it sends countless people crashing down into bitterness and despair simply from adding that extra level of desire and complexity to what they are already doing.

I think she finally got at least a glimmer of what I was trying to say. Which was be happy doing what makes you happy without stressing yourself out worrying about being famous at it or getting a lot of money for it. That just ruins both your happiness and the thing you enjoy doing.

It’s a lesson I need to learn myself.

But I’ve always been a crappy student.

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it’s a rocky sort of world

think of the world, the world we see the most of every day, as a large rock half buried in the ground. take that rock, dig it up and turn it over. sure, underneath it is where the creepy crawlies live, the grubs, and the bugs and the other assorted things that make our skin crawl. could even be a snake lying in wait. but it’s also where the life is, the animation, the discoveries. and that is just the top layer of what lies beneath the boring, never changing rock of a world we look at every day. if we dig even further beneath that top layer, down into the soil, what other wonders and fears might we uncover? our hands will be dirty, heaven forbid in this day and age, but that dark soil is cool and damp and also has the potential for life. so i say dig under the rock you observe every day and see what is lying beneath. go to where the life is. make your skin crawl. make your heart beat faster with a slight twinge of fear.

or, leave the rock where it is, doing what it does best.

sitting there. lifeless. being a rock.

at least it gets warm in the sun.

but it’s still just a rock.

constructing the kingdom of nothing

you keep busy. it doesn’t matter what you are doing. you just have to keep yourself busy, keep the mind occupied. make a lot of noise. scream inside of your head. whatever it takes, just so long as you drown out what your mind and your gut are trying to tell you. because you really don’t want to hear it. your heart starts pounding on the walls of its cage of ribs desperately trying to raise a ruckus. it covers its ears. screams “lalalalalalaaaaaaa” at the top of its lungs like a little kid that is trying to ignore some unpleasantry. you can’t let yourself think. you have to keep hammering the nails into those boards. sawing, sanding, shaping. keep building. keep moving forward. because if you let yourself stop, if you let your mind think and your gut knock the wind out of you, if for just a second you make your heart be still and shut up and listen to those tiny voices trying to nag their way to the forefront, you’ll be forced to look around and realize you’ve been busy constructing the kingdom of nothing.

and then where will you be?

water

Many people, when they think they need to act tough or invulnerable, picture themselves as rock or steel.

I say Be Water.

Why water? Because water flows. It flows with the course set for it, goes in, around, through and over the obstacles in its path: sometimes in such torrents that it overwhelms all obstacles in its path. Tsunamis are one of the most devastating forces in the world as recent events have shown. With time and patience water can break down rock and rust steel. If you freeze it, it merely becomes ice and if you boil it, it becomes steam. I think it is the perfect analogy to think of yourself as when dealing with life’s vicissitudes. Sometimes you need to stop fighting and let yourself flow around the problem, sometimes you need to freeze up and grow cold to things, other times you need to let yourself boil and steam and in some instances you need to become a raging wall of water that overwhelms all in your path. Whichever you choose, in the end let the water leave you clean, refreshed and calm. Let the rings from the pebbles of worry fade until you are once more a placid beautiful mirror. Go fishing in your soul and see what you catch.

The human body itself is as much as 78% water (with variations according to body size). There is no rock or steel in you other than what you are imagining is there. And rock shatters and steel bends when enough force is applied. Water merely splashes and, if deep enough, whatever is flung at it is drowned beneath the waves without any evidence it was ever there to begin with.

Water is life, so in your life; Be water.

*This has been another episode of Half-Baked Philosophy brought to you by What the Fuck is He Talking About?? now new and improved. Even more confusing than our old formula! Buy today and get two for the price of one!!

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