It’s that time of year again when I begin to feel restless and long for new vistas. Also I’m tired of all the political mayhem south of the border that is currently sucking the joy out of living. Time for replenishment and a re-think.
Re-thinking what? Re-thinking the ways in which I move in the world and how that contributes inevitably to the making and re-shaping of culture. I think it may just be more important than ever to live with a heightened awareness of how the ways in which we do things participates in the culture we produce. Which is to say, if we live in politically uncertain times, if extreme self-absorption and an obsession with celebrity and stardom over every other worthy way of living and being in the world is running rampant, perhaps we’ve all had a hand in making it so. If ‘ordinary’ sounds like a swear word and ‘being nobody going nowhere’ a heretical phrase, then hear this.
Donald Trump is the very epitome of one who has pursued life as an exercise in being somebody and really going places. Dark and scary now right? Yet until this current debacle I doubt that many of us questioned our own efforts at achieving something similar based on very similar desires. Who among us can claim immunity to the craving for recognition, for the agency to express ourselves and the power to make our life happen? Nothing wrong with any of this, by the way, but what is problematic is the blind pursuit of them driven by fear and insecurity.
When fear and insecurity are the drivers, our achievements amount to little more than props behind which we hide and therefore fail to show up in the world in meaningful terms. Achievements in and of themselves are meaningless, unless and until they lead to positive alterations in our self that result in actions which bode well for building a culture that objectively and empirically stands to benefit us all. And it may well be argued that an ostensible lack of achievements is likewise meaningless unless it too is the result of a failure to show up in the world in meaningful terms.
Beware the temptation to ‘be somebody going somewhere’, this likely only weighs us down with false ideas about who we are in the world relative to others, and I personally have had enough of this kind of grandstanding and pretense at every level.
I too have a dream and it is this: to be so artlessly engaged and productively immersed in the ordinary dimensions of living, that I blossom forgetting all about myself. That’s happiness.
Do you have a dream?