A Cycle or a Story?

What is the difference you ask, between dreams and reality? Reality can be changed, a dream is but a mere reflection, a mirror may reflect, but only the reality can be altered, and only by altering reality can the reflection change.

Sometimes, I feel as though things are changing for me, be they good changes or bad changes, it’s nearly impossible to tell. More often, however, it seems as though nothing changes at all. An endless cycle of walking in the footsteps of our ancestors, and our descendants will walk in the footsteps we walk in now. From the beginning of time to today, nothing has changed, humanity forgets everything it learns and every few centuries repeats the same sins as their forefathers centuries before.

Perhaps in the observation of that reality, we can alter the reflection. We will and do, but do not have to repeat the same evils over and over again. Just because things have always been that way doesn’t mean they always have to be that way. I don’t have enough faith in humanity to trust that it will not, but it doesn’t have to.

The question is whether we’re doomed by nature, or by choice, I suppose I believe we are doomed by choice.

Sometimes it seems like you want to ask: Do things ever really change, or do they just go round and round? You want things to change, but you feel like you are wandering around in some weird sort of place, where no matter what direction you take, you always end up back in the same room you started in and you wonder, is life a prison or an adventure?

You ask yourself, why look for change where change doesn’t exist? Is it a worthwhile pursuit? I don’t know. Yet, staying still, I do not like to do that either, and it seems as though one sure way to waste a life is to stand still, they say the ones who get things done are those who do something.

Yet, here we go, round and round. We always end up back in the place where we started. If the destination and the start are the same place, is there a point to the journey? People like to say that there is nothing new under the sun. I cannot think of a more depressing idea than that.

You want something new. Something beyond that which you already know. Yet no matter how far you go, you always find yourself back where you started. Occasionally you meet someone else on their own fruitless journey to and from the place where they started, and for a bit, it seems as though something new has occurred, but always, we come to the same understanding, we’re just traveling back to our prison cells. We thought for a moment we escaped them, but our meeting only reveals to us the dark reality of our journey and our destination. We know that if we continue our delusion and try to escape together, we’ll only be torn apart in the end, so we walk on, accepting a little pain now to not have our hearts torn out of us by the delusion of love, whatever that might be. With no world to transcend to, no world outside the borders of our prison cells, the best thing we can do for each other is to walk on. Why continue on in a illusion that an unloved man can love in spite of that, after all you can’t love, or if you must, you must love alone. From a distance, never close.

When considering how repetitive life is, it does seem rather monotonous. For me, personally, I rather dislike it, it feels to much like being in a prison or like being trapped. Even the day to day seems so, you get up, you eat something, you do what you do that day, you cook dinner, you go to bed, you get up, you repeat everything all over again. Week to week, you go to the same places. You repeat everything you just did the week before. Year to year as well. Why? What is the point?

Yet, there is a point, if we are in a story, if life, and the world, and everything in all of space and time is a part of a story. A story has a beginning, and an end, and yes, the middle parts do sometimes feel monotonous, especially if you are the one in the story itself. It is even more difficult to notice that you are a part of the story if the story began long before you were born, and continues on after you die, though whether for a long time or short time, remains to be seen. We do not know exactly how short or long a time the future holds for us, both personally, and corporately as the human race, and that is a good thing, I should think. If we knew the future we’ll either attempt to bring it about by changing the world, or we’ll attempt to change ourselves to fit our knowledge of the foreseen. It is enough for us to know that there is an end, at the present time, as well as to know that there is a future. Not that there isn’t value in considering the future, that isn’t what I speak of. Our ideas of thinking only about our present selves, and our present generation, are leaving a very sad inheritance to our children and our children’s children. It is a sad thing that we’re leaving a world much worse than how we found it, mostly by our insistence in only thinking about the here and now. Not that there haven’t been improvements both socially, politically, and even environmentally, there has been, but for every step forward, we’ve stepped backwards twice, and thus the progress we do make not only has not made a better world for our children, we are still leaving the world worse than we found it. In that sense it is important to consider the future. The problem of knowing the future is that our attempts to conform either it or ourselves, is that it has unforeseen results, usually disastrous.  It is an uncomfortable notion, being bound to the present moment, but it is our fate.

The fact remains however, that if we are a part of a story, the story, then there is a story that is being told. This is encouraging, for though things may seem like a prison at times, and even life itself says that all is a prison, a story tells us that there is a world outside of the prison walls, that there is a place beyond suffering, and the darkness of the shadows where we ourselves often dwell. If all creation is a part of a story, then yes, there is more to life than this, and that is an encouraging thought.

Furthermore, and this further enforces in my mind the idea of the story, the world is full of interesting people. Yes, as a whole they are fundamentally all human beings, and in that sense all alike, but within that wholeness of humanity, there is a great deal of diversity. Not all people are alike, they each have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, in short, their own stories. Every human that has ever lived has been unique. Considering the population of all humanity that has ever been, the diversity involved is great indeed. Diversity is, in my opinion a good thing, it doesn’t make one more superior to another, though many have thought this, often with horrific results. In part it is diversity that makes me so desirous of loving people, I know that every person has something I do not, something to teach me, or something that I can find to treasure in them. It’s where each person finds their beauty. If we were all alike, what a horrible world that should be. Yet, it is distressing how much we are told ‘this is beautiful’ and ‘this is not’. I was astonished earlier upon seeing a poster where a normal man was placed next to your typical advertisement man. What astonished me was how much I had subconsciously swallowed the notion that the advertisement man was what I was supposed to be looking like. Not that there is anything wrong with some people having particularly fine features, but I do find it wrong that they are exalted as though they are gods and goddesses, while at the same time, these same deified people are often hurting themselves as much as they are being used to hurt. Sometimes the pictures we see of people are not strictly speaking even real, but photo manipulations, which must also be taken into account. I believe the term is ‘Photoshopped’ in reference to a commonly used image manipulation program for computers. Some industries thrive on fighting diversity, trying to sell us their particular view of what things are suppose to be. I try to acknowledge and be accepting of the idea that people are indeed different from each other, but still recognizing them as our sister, our brother, to respect them rather than insisting that either they or myself change to fit some notion of my own about what we’re supposed to look like. In many ways, I think respect, rather than conformity is a better way. To understand a person, is a gift for them, and for ourselves. To be honest, I think one of our deepest needs is the desire to find acceptance, but even if for whatever reason, acceptance cannot be, we desire to find understanding and respect.

I suppose in a sense I want to see people put aside their prejudices. I suppose it starts with me laying aside my own prejudice against those whom I bear prejudice towards, and even I do not always know my blindness.