I did not ask to
be born. It was not a matter of choice . I simply
became aware of my consciousness and was bombarded with
a stream of sensory information. It was all a bit much at first, so
I just stared in wonder; cried a bit especially when I was hungry or
lonely, and slept quite a lot. Then gradually things came into focus;
images, sounds, smells.. The feeling of my parents' touch, and the
taste of my food. I learnt to identify things as I sensed them more
than once, preferably repeatedly; and before long I could interact
with my environment, not merely perceive it passively.
I grew bigger
through a time of innocence, responding
spontaneously to stimuli until I was trained, or learnt, or shown
how to act in certain circumstances. This was guided by people
much bigger than me, especially parents, relatives, teachers ,
strangers too; whom I trusted to be in control of situations that I was
not as; this made me feel secure: and instinct told me that I didn't
like to feel insecure. But gradually I saw contradiction, contrast and
paradox which in some cases could be confusing. In other cases
it was enlightening (another paradox.)
I became able to act independently. In small ways at first,
and sometimes rapidly in ways that prompted my mind to make
decisions, some right and some wrong. From these I learnt many
things, not necessarily understanding fully but at least satisfying the
imbalance I felt in ignorance. My self was shaped by my experiences
and both my physical behaviour and my mental wanderings
responded accordingly. A conscious awareness of myself and my
surroundings took over the guiding of my life from the small ways
to more important things, until minor exertions of will over how I was
expected to act became more symbolic, although still real.
I have grown
up now, although I anticipate more experience which continues the process.
However the wandering of my youth through
a world of pre-ordained fates, obviously shaped by the will of my
parents and others, has given way to a travelling of a path which
goes from a "Then" to "There". I have experienced
"then"; it is in the
past and I remember it in varying ways. But I have not seen "There";
though sometimes I fancy I glimpse it in dreams and hear of it in
conversations. Still I know I am going "There", and in some
I feel fortunate - even though I don't know where it is - as I see others
like myself who are less aware of this a lifetime's travelling.
many mysteries in the course of this journey. I can recall
some which have been resolved. Often the answer is less
satisfactory than the fanciful speculations which occupy the mind
in response to a question. However this is no cause for despair,
as I have learnt to take things as they come, and not cling too tightly
the living of a mystery with the space created by a wide range of options,
is a freedom in itself, which the solving restricts
into a narrow course. It is part of me to feel good in wide open
space, and bad where I am a crowded and constricted by the
insurmountable walls of truth.
upon paradox, the sensation of awareness of truth is pleasing also. It
seems as if life is a constant yearning for pleasure
and happiness. The next contradiction on the pyramid is the nature
of that pleasure.. It may feel good to all life involved.. Or it may bring
pain and suffering to some life; and release, satisfaction and a glow
of dubious pleasure to other life. All too often in my life do I see the
In all pure
pleasure, without pain to any life, is ultimately more
pleasing (in my humble opinion). The consumption of large amounts
of drugs, whilst being pleasurable at the time leads one feeling bad
the next morning, though I may enjoy that too!
of beauty and the development and creation of beautiful things harms nobody,
and makes me up feel fulfilled and happy. Certainly this way of perceiving
life is not complete.
Alongside the lifelong journey walks a shadow of circumstance.
Forces, obstacles and influences fashion my perception and the
way I therefore respond and initiate action in my environment.
Perhaps, as this is another mystery I have not chosen to solve,
this shadow is guided by a master plan of fate, dictated by God
or Allah or Mother Nature. Or maybe the shadow acts
mischievously and at random after no plan or design.. Or maybe
both or neither. I do not know but I enjoy speculating.
do know.. For sure! They are convinced by the
systems and structures of long established religions, political
stances, philosophical and spiritual beliefs. The link is clear.
Just like my Pyramid they are both intertwined and paradoxical.
They complement and contradict. It is undoubtedly easier to
accept an argument which by force of rational, logical persuasion,
is difficult to contradict. As it is easier to conform to a rationale
if a majority of people in a society also accept it. Somehow the mystery
solved puts questions behind an individual,
releasing the concentration for other things, often more pressing
and urgent.. If you accept a strong Conservative philosophy in
public affairs in Britain, then you are released to forget about the
less advantaged people, and free to pursue personal gain.
This is an individual liberty which many may take advantage of
and benefit by in terms of living standards. Wealthy fund health.
However to do this sacrifices must be made to the God of
reducing overheads. That which is not profitable financially is
an overhead, a cost incurred in a world of yes and no, nought
and one, in and out, black and white.
And yet by
experience I believe that beauty and creation are not merely profitable
financially, but are ultimately profitable in terms of satisfaction and
come in many directions, from wildly different
"Thens" to a world of "Theres". Often they meet up
way and interact in a whole range of different patterns. But as
many individual journeys and meetings as there are, still over
the world's population humans relate in these patterns. They
party and they sleep together, they work and they hunt, they
fight and they play, and many more. Across the cultures are
features of human existence which though they show themselves
in different ways are at root level the same. Most of these activities
can be seen in the interactions of other species of life on the planet.
But some may just be exclusive to humans, or at least a very
restricted number of speices. (do whales sing? do dolphins
dance; or even intellectualize?).
a whole strain of human thought and inquiry into these activities, loosely
labelled philosophy, but covering other 'ologies
and 'osophies too. What, if anything, sets mankind apart from the
rest of nature? Clearly no other species, or collection of species
like the dinosaurs, has apparently dominated the planet in any way
similar to mankind. Nature is no longer the guiding force it was a
mere 10 000 years ago. We have subjugated it, pillaged it,
destroyed it or dug it up.. Indeed our cities deny its existence,
smothering it in concrete and eating the fruit of intensively farmed
and artificially raised livestock and crops. Still, however, nature
screams to make herself heard above the din, and we get wet in
her rain, or choke in the heat of her droughts.
And yet the
manipulation of our environment does not make us
different from other creatures. Beavers build their dams, even
ants farm aphids! We are certainly not the only animal to use
language, many species have complex systems of communication,
even conveying messages in a fashion similar to writing, as in
territorial marking through scent. They may be crude and ours
more complex, but they are comparable.
So what about
art? I've already mentioned whales and dolphins,
but is this realistic, and what of poetry, painting,
drama and literature? …I hope this all helps answer your question...