Of Dumb Luck, Freedom, Consciousness, and Parmenides

The dumb luck of my life–so much of it, continuing…

For what am I most grateful beyond love, family, nature, the arts? 14 years retired from teaching now, I’d have to say the incredible freedom, including that when a preschooler, when a latch key kid (9 to 5, five days a week) when going to school–holidays built in, when 5 years at u; also including the holidays over the 30 years of teaching, plus 14 years mostly off since 2002. Freedom has proven the most valuable, cherished thing allowing me to slake my curiosity, follow my bliss, get to know myself, and develop my consciousness more than the average person.

Yes, consciousness, as this blog attests to, has been the main bliss, especially the past four years.

Today I am writing about another key Greek philosopher Parmenides of Elea (510-440 BC?). He is the first guy to suggest that if you can conceive of something, it must exist, whether or not it is found in the material world, outside of you. Unicorns, for instance. So subjective reality is every bit as ‘real’, especially to the viewer, as externally-agreed-upon-by-others’ reality.

He also connected thoughts, words, and things/others/external reality. Ideas do become expressed and get connected to others as well as to things we can experience. As I have commented on above–consciousness is (about) ideas and these get expressed in places like this blog to others, as well as to myself. (My blog is mainly me thinking ‘aloud’, after all.)

I do like the subjective reality part of Parmenides’ ideas. We all have memories (the past gets subsumed by our minds) and can imagine the future as a reality that will often mostly happen (again, because of the autonomy and power of individual consciousness, as well as individual will). Personally, I believe both subjective and external/objective reality (though the latter depends on subjective/personal perception anyway) exist, and that subjective reality may be as or more important than the other. It is after all, our own lives and own consciousnesses that we live with 24/7.

Earlier in other blog entries, I talked of how we search for information daily. For me, that often translates into ideas and knowledge as well as the personal consciousness changes that ensue. None of this is communicable without language, though you also have to admit the power of the representative arts like painting, photography, and dance which may be wordless, technically speaking, can communicate thought and feeling effectively, too.

Thinking, language, and consciousness are central, basic and–for me as a writer and sometime-performer–very essential. And the balance on the attractions and distractions of the external world reality depends heavily on key people, nature, and the arts. Those are all aspects which can thoroughly focus or engross my interests, pleasure, engagement, feelings, and thoughts. Nothing like a stimulating external environment to spur your own personal creative expression and response as well as consciousness, eh?


That all said, there is much pleasure and delight to be found in ordinary, common, or basic sense experiences. The empirical/physical world is meant to be experienced in many ways, on many levels. It is there one will find, experience, and confirm many proofs of life and philosophy. By itself, a mostly abstract, philosophical or platonic life is an incomplete, thin, relatively bloodless life. There are many times when E.E. Cummings’ “since feeling is first” is the better ticket to freedom, happiness, or love.

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