Thursday, May 15, 2014

To Know What

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.

- RL Stevenson

* * *

There is a moment, a still moment, a quiet moment, perhaps it arrives in the middle of the night, perhaps in the purple glow of noon, at your desk, in the car, walking idly down a street, or at dinner with your family, but this moment arrives regardless of where you are physically in the world and when it comes nothing can be as it was before for this still moment, this quiet moment, this moment when you realize that yes, you would have preferred to go to your graduation instead of pretending it was no big deal because those around you couldn't understand or were jealous; that, yes, it does matter that you return my calls; that, yes, what is being asked of you at work is an inverse relationship between the suppression of wages and inhuman demands of productivity; that, yes, you are well aware of the qualities of shit versus shinola and you won't be lied to again, won't accept corporate doublespeak as a language worthy of your attention, won't deny your preferences, desires and thoughts to appease another, to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, to diminish yourself because those around you have infected you with their fear, jealousy and remorse.

When this moment comes, when you finally let it in, everything changes.

Everything.

* * *

Riddle me this. If the mantra of these pages is that you are free to choose how you respond to the circumstances of your life and there is no keeper on those choices save one - that what ever you do cannot impede, diminish or limit another's choices - and you grok that idea then the last question that remains is: If you can do this for others, are you doing it for yourself?

Are you choosing anything that impedes the transit of your days?
Are you choosing anything that diminishes your ability, your accomplishments, your desires?
Are you choosing anything that limits your ability to express those desires?

Well, are you? If you're fucked, you most certainly are. You may be goddamned fucking Mother Theresa to the world, but to your own self thine are not true. Virtue becomes a trap. Look at me. I am a good person. I put others before me. I care, pal. Right on. Have at it, but knock that shit off anyway. There is no virtue, no goodness no caring possible without caring for yourself first. Sounds ridiculously selfish, right? That's just the trap you are in convincing you that you prefer being stuck and safe and normal to being free to move in the world as one who is awake, unafraid, no longer tethered to the expectations of others. You know shit from shinola and you can trust yourself to act accordingly. Virtue is no virtue when it stymies the fullest expression of your life. Maybe you are the next Mother Theresa serving the untouchables of the world. Right on. (Try to avoid her notions that suffering is God's will. She was no friend of the poor, but loved poverty instead. But I digress.) But unless this call to service is an outward expression of an inward truth, if it is just the accouterments of "goodness", then fuck off. No one needs it. The world doesn't need yet another person treading trodden trails. It needs you to quit pretending that you like what you don't like, that you believe what you don't feel, that you start doing what you dream of doing.

Preferences matter. Being honest with them matters more.

Virtue is no virtue when the cost is your soul.

* * *

But it gets messy. We fall into the virtue trap to avoid what we believe will be ugly, uncomfortable conversations/confrontations with those closest to us. How fucked is that? We learn to be "good" because it eases the discomfort of acknowledging how we see the world and how we see the world is different from our moms and dads, our siblings, our cohorts in school, on the job and we tamp down our difference in order to be accepted, avoid a fight, leave things be. But it troubles us. It never really goes away and there is a moment, a still moment, a quiet moment, perhaps it arrives in the middle of the night, perhaps in the purple glow of noon, at your desk, in the car, walking idly down a street, or at dinner with your family, but this moment arrives regardless of where you are physically in the world and when it comes nothing can be as it was before for this still moment, this quiet moment, this moment when you realize that yes, you would have preferred to go to your graduation instead of pretending it was no big deal because those around you couldn't understand or were jealous; that, yes, it does matter that you return my calls; that, yes, what is being asked of you at work is an inverse relationship between the suppression of wages and inhuman demands of productivity; that, yes, you are well aware of the qualities of shit versus shinola and you won't be lied to again, won't accept corporate doublespeak as a language worthy of your attention, won't deny your preferences, desires and thoughts to appease another, to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, to diminish yourself because those around you have infected you with their fear, jealousy and remorse.

When this moment comes, when you finally let it in, everything changes.

Everything.

* * *

Boom. Boom. Boom.

__________

No comments:

Post a Comment