Saturday, February 15, 2014

Myth of the Real World

Greetings all,

Happy Valentine's Day.  This post will not be about this holiday at least not directly.  This post is about the myth that there is some solid real world out there.

What do I mean by that?  Well while there are things that are fairly consistent like gravity (unless you talk to Rupert Sheldrake apparently big G varies depending on the day), most of what we think about the way the world is has to do with the stories we are told and tell ourselves.  John Mayer has a song called No Such Thing.  The lyrics in it are quite enlightening but here are a few of them that stand out to me, "I wanna run through the halls of my high school.  I want to scream at the top of my lungs.  I just found out there's not such thing as the real world. Just a lie you have to rise above."

What does that mean exactly?  Well let's pick on our old friend the media (come on all the cool kids are).  Although high school was a while back for me, it never in the slightest resembled its portrayal in movies, television or stories told to me by prior generations.  College was pretty much the same in that regard.  Now I know I am a reality deviant and have been for a while, but I don't recall any one's parents going out of town so that their kids could throw massive parties in which magically the neighbors never called the police to complain about the noise.  I'm just using the school theme as one example there are plenty of others to choose from.  Broadcast news is another biggie you'd think from watching it that the only things happening are shootings, fires, scandals, and thievery.  Remember if it bleeds it leads.  News doesn't necessarily inform so much as entertain in a macabre fashion.  Journalism is supposed to inform us so that when we interact with our leaders we can make educated decisions, the twenty four hour news cycle has turned it into voyeurism and propaganda.

Let's go with life progression.  You go to school, you go to college, you meet someone, you graduate get a good job in your field of study, maybe get married, buy a house, and have some kids.  That was pretty much the story we've been sold in this society.  Very linear sequence wouldn't you say?  Life as we know it has not been cooperating with that story in the past few decades.  Mostly this has been externalized as the student debt crisis, the housing bubble, the great recession, and the devaluing of people in favor of profits for shareholders.  We have been packaged and sold a dream, some call it the American Dream or the westernized dream of economic flourishing.  In this package we have been told what we should want and aim for, what the goals are.  Men were told what to desire (money =  car + beer + women), women were told what was desirable (thin + pretty = lovable + valuable).  Those that achieved those goals are deemed successful at life and are respected.   Life is rarely a line.  For many to achieve that they had to cut off parts of themselves to fit into the mold.  They had to do things outside of their nature.  

Say you didn't meet your sweetie in high school or college.  You might view yourself as not good in relationships simply because you didn't follow the script.  Maybe you didn't find success in the work world right away.  Maybe you've never been able to purchase a home or even to afford to live without roommates even though you are out of your twenties.  Maybe you've never owned a car or at the very least a new one.  Maybe you just weren't interested in the fads of the mainstream and you never kept up with the Jones.  Even those of us who have consciously chosen a different path will sometimes doubt ourselves.  We aren't conforming to the story the hypnotic pulse that is broadcast through the airwaves and the wifi.  The consumer paradise of house, spouse, pets, kids and cars is always watching declaring winners and losers.  (I seem to recall some politicians saying there would always be winners and losers in our economy).  Look around see the drum beat of competition, self servitude, staying between the lines, and doing what is expected.

You may say well that is just the way things are or that's how they've always been.  Historically speaking you'd be wrong.  Things were not always this way.  People change the world when they decide to not accept the dream they've been force-fed by society.  Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela are some of the most recent figures I can call to mind which embodied this.  Jane Goodall is a living example of not accepting the status quo and dedicates herself to changing the world to protect the creatures that share it with us.  They woke up from the collective dream and rejected it.

So why am I telling you this?  Well there are many things in our dream that are toxic to us.  The way we treat the waters of the world,  polluting the rivers which we depend on every day to give us life.  The injustices of the world both legal and illegal which so many simply shrug their shoulders at with the refrain, "Life isn't fair."  Life is what we make it collectively.  Laws can change, behaviors can change.  We have a remarkable ability to grow and change, but only if we think we can.   So what myths about the world are you believing?  What part of the dream have you cut yourself to fit into?  Have you judged yourself harshly for not achieving all the promised rewards for coloring within the lines? What if you molded yourself after a mad scientist bent on changing the world for the better?  If you had the knowledge to change anything what would it be?

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

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