The Last Step

February 11, 2008

It occurred to me today that life is too personal. 
In order to really get into a deep relationship with anyone (except in the case of really exceptional people), you have to be eternally patient.  It takes most people a long time to get personal.  After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the three (or four) steps I usually see in most of my relationships.
    1. The feeling out phase when people just meet and listen to each other without voicing to much opinion.
    2. The opinion phase is the time for sharing opinions on not too sensitive topics.  Humour usually comes out in this phase.
    3. The obnoxious phase where one or both people in the relationship loses inhibition and shows their true colors.  This
         phase is often marked by embarrassment in public, random singing, fights and various other loud activities.
    4. This optional phase is marked by the sharing of deeply personal thoughts or experiences.  It develops with trust and
         the realization that your friend will love regardless of anything you did in step 3.

Of course, friendships don’t really follow a definite pattern.  People are too complicated to be textbook, but when you’re in a relationship you can usually tell where the relationship is and is headed.  You can tell where “the line” is, how much physical contact is okay and how much you are willing to tell, but in the case for “willing to tell,” it often depends on the confidence of the person in his or her identity and past.  It shouldn’t have to though.  I think maybe the reason people have to wait so long to get personal is because human beings tend to be insensitive.  We treasure the deepest friendships we have because we have finally found people who are willing to listen and act with what we tell them in our best interest.  Most of us are raised to not trust anybody because apparently a lot of people out there will hurt us or only find utility in us.  But even those people, may them most of all, need someone to reach step 4 with. 

That should probably be the task of human beings.  That should be our measurement of progress.  How many of us are willing to bear ourselves all the way to the last step?   School shootings, murders, theft and suicide are very dependent on the fact that people who committed these crimes against others and themselves were at the last step all by themselves.  How many of the people in our lives, regardless of what they appear to be on the surface, would like someone to take the time to reach underneath and pay all attention to the man behind the mask.

Life is too personal.  We make it that way.   I make it that way.  It takes throwing away pride and becoming comfortable with my reality to make it more available to other people.  To let other people know the complete truth and to let them share their own life with mine.  That’s a very tough conclusion to come to.



January 14, 2008

The influence of art on the lives of human beings is an undeniable truth.   It provides a unique perception of the world.  Looking at a painting, listening to music and reading a poem are just a few of the ways to welcome a raw perception of our existence.  In art, there are no limitations.  Art reflects the truth that the artist sees in his experiences.  It reflects, in greater detail, the aspects of his life that remain untold in the deepest conversation.

Art is the best way for him to share the complete version of himself.  He is burdened in life by the rules of his society.  The social limits and political instructions.  The barriers put on by the sanity of his friends, family and acquaintances are all a part of his retreat.  By writing, he says it all, with metaphors, allegory or blunt description.  His art is raw representation of who he was born to be and who he would be without the silent rules.

Her art is the means for the realization of herself.  She is more complete and self-realized than all of her companions.  She puts away the rules, the responsibility, and the “real” world and tells the truth as she sees it.  She paints, writes and composes without limits and no one can tell her to stop.  Even the censors are conned when she disguises her truth with symbols and code.  The artists, as she well knows, are the only ones who spend their life saying it all. The truth is… they do not need to say it all to anyone else but themselves.  They must only know for themselves what they feel and believe. They have nothing to prove.   Artists know and artists do.

Both of them are free within their art.  They yell, hit, steal, hug, laugh and experience in their art.  They have a place a place to put all the emotion left unexpressed in the outside would.  There is no need for them to commit crimes, to hurt other people or to lose their temper because they do all of it in their distant world.  They do what the rest do outside, but in their paint, their piano and their notepad.  Yet they sometimes agree to share their creation.  He and she, she and he, are entirely content with letting their art stay in their rooms, but once in awhile (maybe by suggestion) they are led by something to share their art with the critics.  Everybody’s a critic. 

They share not only for the beauty, the human pride and the need to be understood.  They share it to teach a lesson, though they do not consciously embed a lesson into their creation because if they create with the purpose of teaching, their art turns into an all too explicit demand, which turns off any human observer.   But when they allow themselves to create for the sake of creating and to communicate only what lie in their hearts, truth is accomplished and those who see their art and who open themselves up to the possibility of anything at all, get the message (whichever one they find).

He paints to give you a new perception of the world.  She writes to show you the other side of the story.  They play so that you know what lies beneath the hard surface. 

So what of the human story is told by these artists?  The human experience is limited by our desire to free it.  Polite conversation, manners and “a time and a place”, are well intentioned creations of human beings that in turn create a respectful world of men behind the curtains that we in fact pay no attention to.  The issues that we have with our nations, our neighborhoods and each other are brushed under the table for the sake of respect, yet the unresolved emotions of each person in our world become something different.  They develop into revolutions, wars, art and a host of other things.  And unfortunately for most, they develop in nothing at all, except dreams long past and ideas long forgotten.  If anyone at all is wise, they will chose art or at least a path that leaves nothing unsaid.

There is no truth, no fact either

December 19, 2007

None whatsoever.  There is no absolute truth. There is no fact.  Fact is “the quality of being actual : actuality <a question of fact hinges on evidence>.”   Show me evidence that may not be disproved sometime in the future.  Even science could be completely wrong.  Truth is an illusion that we keep in order to make ourselves feel safe in certain things.  But here’s my question, why can’t we feel safe without having fact?  Why do we need affirmation of our existence and of our beliefs with “fact”?

Last quarter, I took an Organic Chemistry class complete with lab.  As I carried out various experiments, I always knew what the expected result would be based on lecture notes, common sense and lab preparation.  But as I went to lab week after week and as I listened to my Professor explain the workings of the world around us through reactions and mechanisms, I couldn’t help wondering if it was all coincidence.  And I’m sure that if I ask any chemist in the world, they couldn’t disprove that theory. 

We know nothing.  Not even what we see.  The labels that we have given everything that we can experience through our five discovered senses is only labeled within our own perception.  Everything is based on faith.  Faith that science isn’t just an astounding combination of coincidences as random and rare as planet Earth is in the universe. 

 So how can people claim to know the truth.  How can any of us claim Jesus saves, God is not here, we are made of molecules and he is bad man when we know nothing as fact?  We don’t need it to live, we don’t need it to survive.  We get so caught up in trying to prove and trying to find the facts that we miss the life.  We miss the experience.  We lose trust in ourselves and look for the “truth” in “fact” that doesn’t exist. 

Everything that we call fact or truth is based on imperfect human perception.  How do we know the red isn’t actually blue, or that pants aren’t actually shirts or that ugly is not actually beautiful?  It sounds abstract, ridiculous even, but ask yourself these questions.  Who says these things are fact.  Who says that I have written and not said?  The creator of the word “red” could have easily said blue instead.  It isn’t fact, it is perception and we have faith that that perception is right.  What do you know for sure that may not be disproven in death?  What Christian has died and knows that he will go somewhere else and not just dead?  What atheist knows that she will not die and see God? 

What does it matter if our perception is right?  It only matters that at the end of our lives we have experienced.  It only matters that we have fought the great fights.  Coming out of it with defeat of victory is trivial, as long as we have lived, what does it matter (absent of our reputation, of other people, of our families and our perception) what is fact and truth? Why do we concern ourselves with what we cannot know?  Of course we want to find out what is real and what is not, but why not create ourselves so that we do not need it?  Why not form ourselves so that we do not desire “fact” to affirm our existence and our faith? 

Think about a life that is absent of the desire for truth and fact.  A carefree existence with the complete ability to live without distraction.  To experience, love and connect only as experience.  Imagine life just as life.  Imagine loving your friends and family without wondering about anything else.  To take life as it is and respect as it is.  Yes, the fun of philosophizing and theorizing would be absent, but only at those moments, without the human need to question, would we know truth.  When we wouldn’t care.  When truth wouldn’t matter.  When we are satisfied with our destination.  We when realize that certain things have no answers, that life is out of our control, the we are in control of only ourselves and that we will die inevitably, but not in vain.  That’s when we know truth.  When living is only about living and we accept what others say at face value.  When we can look each other in the eye and say “This is you.  This is me.  This is us at face value.”    This is when fact/truth is obtained.  When we know truth is nothing.

One True Religion

December 15, 2007

Is one of these religions right?  Is God really on a side?  Is there a God?  Is there anything?  Have we just missed the point all together?

Human beings have been fighting over religion since our ancestors decided to have relgion.  There are billions of people who have very different beliefs and most of them are sure that they are right.  And at least one of them says that he is infallible.  Now I don’t know about that, but in this world, someone has to be wrong.  There either is a God or there isn’t.  There is salvation or there isn’t.  Right? 

Here’s where I am now:  If there is one true religion, then it isn’t here yet.  None of the religions on this planet are “true” in every sense of the word.  Religion brings people together (at least the people in it anyway).  If there is no religion on the Earth that brings everyone together, then there is no one true religion.  Going on, all of the religions on this earth will contribute to the one true religion (if there is one) because in every religion that I have educated myself on, there are extremely valid points about life and perspective.  Even more, most of them have the same themes, they just express them differently.  So they all have a little piece of the puzzle, we just haven’t gotten all the way yet.  Or maybe there isn’t a way to get to.

So here’s the question.  Tell me what you think.  Is there one true religion?