I recently decided that the direction this blog was taking wasn’t quite the proper one for me. This came during an intense period of transition and of change for me, where I was trying, and failing, to be a leader and a symbol of change.
Now, that drive and that vision hasn’t changed. No, this is who I am at my core. A leader with a vision and a drive to do the things I feel I must. I found myself sick though, and sitting in stagnation, not feeling as if I was moving while the world continued to flash by at a breakneck speed.
This feeling is one that I find is impossible for me to handle for long.
The movement of the world calls to me, and beckons me. If I do not heed it’s call for long, I find myself facing obliteration. Not in any physical sense, but in the sense that I feel I will lose myself and all that I hold dear if I am not pushing myself in what I feel is my duty as a human being.
And that right there, “duty as a human being”, is what I feel is most important to talk about.
What does it mean to be human?
To practice human being?
This question is quite existential in its nature, and it twists our minds a million different ways about how we should be, why we should be that way, and just what it is that life means to us. Perhaps some say that the meaning of life is to simply work and make money in some desperate hope that we’ll be able to enjoy it all when we’re older.
Yet still even others may posit that we must live a life of service and of duty, being good to our fellow human beings for the sake of human existence.
Then others may say to hell with it all and why don’t we just live life for the pleasures and the beauty.
Some people’s lives are tragic, and full of heart-wrenching stories of horror. Yet there are others on this planet that have full lives, never experiencing a moment of utter despair.
My point in all of this is that it seems so hard to have any one sense of being human. Our lives are so drastically different that it seems impossible (and it very well may be) to create some sort of higher ideal of being human.
In the end, our lives are entirely our own.
Yet, in the same sense, they are never just ours.
This is the beautiful paradox of living. To be socially alone. To lead a life that no other can understand or even begin to truly imagine, and yet have it all be so interconnected. My words and actions can, at times, bring tragedy to others. And while these things are mere reflections of my inner self, and in the end have no personal intention in regards to others, the effects these things bring can still have a personal bearing on others.
So, how do we reconcile this?
While I wish I could say that adherence to some greater set of values is the answer, I cannot, lest I ignore all of the things which I have just said. Where is there any sort of reconciliation in that when our definition of the “good” is so different.
Sometimes I find myself wanting to switch out the term “good” for that which is “beautiful”, but even this has its issues.
This is because life is so inherently personal, that in the end it is up to us to decide these things. The frustrating reality that there is no answer to this fundamental question is what irritates us, it irks us, saddens us, and can even enrage us. For some reason, we want there to be some easy answer that all people can follow so that good fortune and peace reigns over all the land.
While we may want all of this, the right answer is almost never the easy one. Sometimes it requires pure dedication to ourselves and finding the right path. While we may, at times, feel the need to tirelessly serve others without fail, I think it is perhaps the most important thing to live our own, subjective, life in pursuit of what we truly wish and what truly makes us passionate in this world, while adhering to one simple value: respect.
Respect implies a reverence and acknowledgement of something’s importance. If we respected everything and everyone, while adhering to our own personal pursuits, we could perhaps be on a better track.
This still does not answer our paradox though. There’s another beautiful conundrum called the “Tolerance Paradox”, which says that respect and tolerance for people and things that are disrespectful and intolerant merely allows those things to exist in the world, until all that is left is disrespect and intolerance.
How we reconcile this is an entirely different story.
Some would say this is why we need to fight.
I would say otherwise.
One cannot solve a problem at the level in which it was created. The key to solving the Tolerance Paradox is understanding. When we aim to understand not just what someone is saying, but why they are saying it, we arrive at a place of understanding what needs to change. If we tried to see intolerant and disrespectful people in a light of understanding, it is possible that we could come together and show them the power of respect and of tolerance, and maybe even of acceptance.
This is no easy task though. To try and understand the minds of Neo-Nazis is to enter into a cage with a wild animal which wants to tear us apart. The taming of such an animal is exactly what we need to achieve though.
This can all be related to ourselves as well.
There are negative parts of our mind that are intolerant and disrespectful. That are angry and despairing. It is our duty as human beings to enter into the cages of our own mind with these animals and attempt to understand them. When we can understand ourselves, we can understand others. When we can understand ourselves, we can begin to achieve calm and respect for ourselves and others.
When we can do this, we begin to change.
All change begins from understanding. Understanding the problem, understanding why. These things lead us to our own beauty. Our own light.
Then, the world, and our lives, begin to transform.