Staying Current

People are always referring to an ancient primitive past, yet it’s possible no such time ever existed. In my mind I tend to allow for the possibility of Last Thursdayism. Perhaps existence began only a few days ago. Who knows if memories haven’t been implanted and artifacts faked.

In dreams for instance, we regularly create scenes in which backstories are implied and objects are placed as if they’ve always been there. Maybe life is but a dream. Or perhaps it’s a computer simulation. Either way, we can easily see that manufactured history is readily relatable.

Consequently, I don’t worry about the past (or future). It might be fiction. Nor do I buy into the idea that I’m comprised of components handed down from a primeval era as if my current makeup is unsuited for modern ways. By whatever method I’ve been manufactured, I’m appropriate for the moment I’m in.

What this open-mindedness grants me is peace-of-mind. Truth resides in a maze that never ends, whereas simple satisfying answers keep the mind from spiraling out of control. It seems counter-intuitive anchoring myself to a nebulous idea, yet within this mist I’ve found a firmer foundation.

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Stuck on Start

It’s odd that self-exploration is a thing. We literally explore every aspect of ourselves. What’s it like to be human? How does this feel? Why does it feel that way? How do I control this crazy contraption? Why am I thinking these thoughts? How do I better align with my circumstances?

We’re not immersed in the game of life, we’re still stuck staring at the piece we’re playing as. Why is it this color? Why this shape? What moves can I make? What effect do other players’ pieces have? Is it my turn? Can I go yet? It’s strange to feel like you’re still on start, waiting for the opportunity to begin.

But we don’t want to mess up, do we? We have to find our groove though. Just move forward and let the chips fall where they may. Yet we’ve no idea what to do with ourself, no direction in which to head. Although, a game is a simple affair, just rolling dice and proceeding on a preset path. Just take your turn, move forward one space at a time.

I suppose that’s all we can do, move ahead one step at a time. But it’s not enough to mechanically move, we must lose ourself in the game’s narrative, pretending we’ve got a vested interest in our progress. It’s just a lighthearted investment though, like any game of pretend, we simply perform as our character.

P.S. Yet who’s to say humanness isn’t a path in and of itself? Traveling the far reaches of the globe or traveling the far reaches of the mind, it’s all exploration, an activity to occupy our attention. All this time you’ve imagined yourself stuck on start, but you’ve been playing all along, the inner mystery is just part of the fun.

Satisfying Dream

At first I believed the world a random place, my life ruled by chance. But such a scary philosophy, I could not maintain. Then a passive existence I believed, a pathway predetermined, unalterable. But such submissiveness I could not bear. Then I began to see life as a lucid dream, my mind’s designs manifesting in every moment. This was satisfying.

The mind must find a resting place, a foundation upon which to build. If it sits in shifting sand, nothing lasting can be built. This bedrock comes from a firm idea in which to place one’s faith. I had faith in randomness, but its nature was unstable. I had faith in predestination, but it did not suit. So now I invest in dreams, a nebulous source that’s surprisingly solid.

A hazy nature provides strength as it conforms to each situation. Anything unpleasant simply serves as reminder to mind my thoughts. Whatever happens is my own fault, but in a funny way. I work at shaping rumination lest I get what I don’t desire. What I wish should come to be, but if not, I’ve merely more minding to do.

Whether true it matters not, it simply serves as satisfying base from which to run. A mind must have easy answers to complex questions else it go round and round in constant quandary. What ease it is to explain every scene as mere mirage. And with haunting angst now exorcised, the joys of life reveal themselves. Nightmares become delightmares.

Labor Day

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Haphazard Historian.

Imagine that there are some people willing to enslave other people for their own gain. Well in fact no imagination is necessary, as we can browse the pages of history (or even current events) to know this to be the case. So we know people can, and will, exploit their fellow man for mere economic advantage.

We know there are some that would do all they can to get as close to slave-like conditions as possible, just to get a bit more. This being the case, what protects workers from such unrepentant greed? What protects those with little-power from hungry wolves waiting to feast?

Answer: the power of the herd, an unshakable union of fellow workers. Without this solidarity, workers are picked off one-by-one as each individual stays silent, threatened by the knowledge that he’ll be next should he utter complaint. Only as a solid whole, a single voice, can these workers hope to overcome the power of greed.

And so, this is the day we set aside as reminder of that ongoing struggle against greed. A greed so nefarious that man would kidnap his fellow man and force his labor, that man would employ children in perilous industry, that man would continuously shave as much as mathematically possible from wages — ever attempting to reach zero.

But it is not this selfishness we must focus on today, it is the unity that opposes it. Throughout history, the bulk of mankind has only ever shown a desire to pitch in, to contribute to community. He wants to work and do right by his neighbor. It is with this spirit, that mankind often bands together whenever foxes attempt to divvy him up.

As a collection of individuals, mankind can be divided. And, it often requires a bit of prodding before the sleeping giant of solidarity awakens to the threat of dismemberment. But in due time, and after much strain, he does wake, and those that dared divide him meet their end.

As workers ourselves, it is our duty to keep an open ear for this call to solidarity — for it is in our best interest, and the interest of industry itself. Fruitful commerce requires a fruitful workforce who in turn become prosperous customers. Industry itself is not the enemy, there’s simply some greed that needs weeding out. And we must all be on the lookout.

Prior Art

Sometimes I’ll be standing there and the realization will hit me: this isn’t real. In that moment I accept the falseness of my situation — not in a bad way, I simply see myself as an actor on a stage performing my part. From there I usually continue with whatever I was doing, losing myself back into the scene.

It does feel strange to consider the artificial nature of existence. It’s off-putting in a way, but thankfully that odd feeling doesn’t last for long. It’s much better than the alternative of anxiety. Better to live in a manufactured environment than a randomly occurring wilderness where chance determines fate.

No thanks. I tried living that way, I really did. I suppose it was thrilling to think everything was out of my control, that anything could happen to me at any time, that I was a fallen leaf lost in a rushing stream, floating as long as I could maintain my balance. Too thrilling though, so I abandoned the idea.

Now I’m in on the joke. Shh! Don’t spoil it for those that want to maintain it till the end. I’m kidding of course — it’s difficult to maintain awareness of the mirage as we’re bombarded by the flashing lights before us. Bursts of insight do nothing, it takes an all-out effort. But that’s not the point anyway.

The point is to redefine reality. Remap its origin. We want to be here, in this game of pretend, playing along and having our fun. Just don’t take the game too seriously — it’s a lighthearted frolic. In costume playing a role, we need only watch as the story unfolds, or perhaps we throw in some improv. Enjoy.

Building Structures

You can destroy, rip apart, demolish. But you can’t typically look back at the results in a pleasing way. You see a pitted, scarred landscape. Whereas if you build, and beautifully so, you can look back and be pleased.

In a particular world in Minecraft for instance, I was surveying a landscape that suffered repeated TNT explosions, possibly in the hundreds. It was within a world where some buildings were also warped out of their original shape from random additions. In other words, the world was a mess.

I spent some time trying to fix it up but I could only do so much. What can you do when a preschooler learns about the power of TNT? Let him have his fun I say, it was his world anyway. Eventually though, we should seek a maturity in which we prefer to build bridges rather than destroy them.

Whereas there’s another world I built that I don’t allow anyone else in, called Richtopia. It includes a large pirate ship, an underwater submarine, an ocean-floor base, several mansions, coastal property, an airplane, pyramids, a redstone laboratory in the desert, and of course Sky City, with its famed multi-story glass hotel. I look back on that world with fond remembrance and a bit of pride.

I never much cared for the idea of building a legacy, a monument that would last past my lifetime. I still don’t, but I can at least see that having something significant to look back upon in my old age would be kinda neat. I built that, I’d be able to say. Whereas I most certainly don’t want to look back and say, I laid waste to that.

Permanent Residence

Shopping for a house is not a logical operation. Buyers typically feel whether a house belongs to them rather than following a strict list of logical steps. But there are a lot of issues when attempting to logically select a house. How much can I afford? How much can I afford while taking into account future maintenance requirements and possible interruptions of income? What about insurance and all other expenses? What will my heating/cooling and electrical bills be like? What about future changes in family structure?

What about the neighbors? Will we get along? Prior to purchasing, shouldn’t I interview the locals and spend at least one night in the house I plan to spend decades living within? Should I try out the nearby stores and make sure they’re suitable for my needs? How’s the drive-times, perhaps I should drive to a few places to make sure it’s all acceptable? What about childhood friends for my own child? What about the school system? Shouldn’t I be meeting with potential teachers? Maybe even a sampling of students?

In other words, logic need not apply when it comes to real estate. Instead, people seemingly purchase the house that feels most right to them upon superficial inspection. And then I suppose they willingly accept whatever consequences come with it. Either that, or magic is real and things miraculously fall into place. Incomes stay steady, bills remain in budget, neighbors align, friends manifest, stores are stocked, and schools fit.

What we can deduce, is that it’s culturally inappropriate to introduce logic into the buying process. Does this one feel like home? Okay, pick that one. Logical objections have no place here. But if you really think about it, there’s two ways you can look at life, it’s either random or it’s not. If it’s random, then you can’t account for the future, so you might as well get what feels right in the moment and hope for the best. And if it’s not random, then you were meant to get the one you get — it was built just for you.

Taking all that into account, I suppose it does become a logical decision to select the house that feels right on that one particular day you see it. What are your options really? An exhaustive investigation into the perfect house and surrounding areas? Yet how can you factor constantly changing conditions into the decision? So what we’re left with, is an intuition. Funny how the big choices in life come down to instinct. In that sense, there are no decisions to make: just follow the map as it’s laid out inside of us.

Or maybe I’ve just been watching too many house-hunting shows on HGTV.