-Life is not perfect. People are not perfect. There are many dualities (e.g. appearance and reality, good and evil, individual and society) built into life, individuals, and relationships. For this reason, there will be mixed feelings and conflicts in many situations and about people.
-Because of the multiple levels of experience (e.g., physical, mental, emotional, spiritual), there will be many more mixed feelings and conflicts. In the search for order, organization, structure, patterns, meaning and purpose, there will be much frustration and people will often find that there is simply too much to manage, control or manipulate to one’s satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to limits, limitations, restraints, and a lack of freedom/s. Complicating matters is the fact of change–something that is implicit in process, context, and furthered by choices and changes within the individual, situations, and others. One of the great human problems is simply change and the lack of stability or permanence and anxiety that it produces. Willy Loman’s “I’m feeling kind of temporary about myself.”
-In addition to the fact that one can never step into the same river twice is the very basic problem of communication, complicated somewhat by the influence of other languages and cultures. More and more, we live in a Tower of Babel in which basic understanding has become a major problem. Add to that, that individuals hear what they hear and want to hear, poor listening skills, decreased empathy and sympathy, and it is no wonder that meanings and understandings have become blurred–alienating people from one another more than ever.
-Because of the way we are biologically built, we see the world mainly in terms of ourselves, and whatever common sense, information, past experience, upbringing, values and beliefs we personally have. We are each of us very unique and separate from others to begin with from birth. (Death performs the final separation.) All of this makes communication even more difficult from the get-go. To communicate clearly and fully we need to actually listen, to pay attention, to be empathetic and sympathetic, and to try to imagine who others are, what their personal experience is–where they are ‘coming from’.
-If communication breaks down, things will go awry. Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies are full of examples of this sort of thing, likewise, of how appearances and reality are not the same, and how appearances can be majorly deceptive, misleading, tragic or comic.
-If communication is flawed or imperfect, and people tend to view the world in terms of themselves, then it is not surprising there are as many separations and divorces as there are. What has been called by some as “the fundamental incompatability of men and women” as well as many researched biological and social differences suggest the odds are great against any kind of permanent happy, lasting relationship. Those that last require that the couple accept as each others as individuals, warts and all, recognizing there may be many things which cannot be changed, managed or controlled.
-Relative to life experience further, much there is that is a matter of luck, timing, or opportunity. These three can cut both ways with some being luckier or not. In a lot of experience, there is little equitability or fairness across the board for the many.
-Taking care of oneself is basic and necessary. Autonomy is a quality which can be a life-saver. To be able to function on one’s own without others is basic since one’s life is one’s life and that the choices one makes apply to or reflect oneself first and foremost. In this there is a common sense as in matters of health and moderation. One needs to look after oneself and not assume that someone else will do that. Likewise, it will be hard to live life fully or to do for others and loved ones if one is run-down, ill, or stressed out.
-Though humans are mortal and process being what it is, it will be necessary as some point to make big changes, to downsize, to be prepared to deal with loss of favorite people, activities, or lifestyles. These are inevitable acceptances at some point. In particular, simple mobility and ‘having enough’ to get by or live become basics later in life.
-Attitude is central to the process of one’s life and how one views his or her own life. In a real sense, bad attitude is the only disability, and whether the individual views the glass as half full or empty, relatively speaking, will determine much of what happens to people and how life and changes will register on the person. Life is what you make of it in that sense. Humor, irony, and a sense of the absurd are completely necessary to live in our world today. The human comedy, indeed. The hardest parts of the end of one’s life is when the spirit, the will to live, and one’s unique humor go. (It is all really over then.) In my experience, humor is key to living the contexts and process of life. It makes that which can be tough, awful, unbearable, or crazy tolerable and cope-able. Humor is the imaginative, creative action to keep the keep the glass half-full and then some.
-Nature plays an important role as backdrop and context to our many changing moods and life situations. It is certainly far more important and potentially beneficial than the myriad screens of our screen-bound culture. There is a huge difference in any case between what used to be called real life and screen life or cyberlife. This is somewhat supported by our recurring need for the live in-person presence of others, real, physical, tangible individuals who colour and support our lives.
-One related acceptance is that of human need for inner nourishment–every bit as real as our three-times-a-day-need for physical nourishment. Human beings have souls whether latent or consciously realized. There are many elements that go to feed that essence including love, nature and the arts.
-Though there are always limits and limitations on us (on our souls and spirits as well), freedom becomes an important, key experience that humans want and need to experience (some even dying for it or from a lack of it). Individual freedom on some level/s is good and necessary, but so are larger freedoms experienced through one-on-one relationships, for specific groups of people, or across nations.
-Two elements not experienced or applied enough are imagination and creativity–these are keys to freedom and love, incidentally. The imaginative, creative life or love knows few limits and experiences the glass as brim-full or brimming o’er. It is in many ways the most self-actualized, personally fullfilling, and enriching form of life that a human being can be fortunate to experience.
-Lastly, one must also finally accept (among all those things one cannot control) certain “repulsive” (Virginia Woolf’s word) qualities about human beings including ‘show’, greed, materialism, making money, blind ignorance, stupidity, violence, manipulation and control of others. Viewing others as means rather than as ends makes countless millions mourn. The blight of advertising everywhere tells us that everything is up for sale and there for the buying. Anything not protected or bolted down is literally stolen or poached. People and things are portrayed as mere ends, something to be exploited. That too much is done, exploited, and abused for business, Mammon, The Economy (today’s sacred buzzword), and the sake of making money or “entitled” personal profit is the central flaw and common practice of our time.
There is always much to be said, but sometimes the clear-headedness of perspective while taking stock affords the opportunity to record some personal observations and significant conclusions within this blog. In a nutshell, I would add that if one wanted to know what I thought, believed, or valued, it is mostly here in the concise summary above of the various things I have come to accept in my life and personal experience.
I am glad daily for whatever pleasures and engagements emerge in the course of a day. I appreciate my consciousness and happilly become myself (cf main blog title) more every day. It is a privilege to think, write, and be alive. My vague ’60s understandings of the word “consciousness” have come to a beautiful fruition in 2016 AD. Words, language, books, reading, writing, Nature, the Arts, ideas, thinking, and sensibility have freed me beyond belief.
Previously posted on November 7, 2012