Wednesday night ponderings on life

Things that give one pause…

Someone I love’s grandma passed away and the funeral is tomorrow. He’s a trooper, but I know he’s sad. He had to go out and buy a suit. She’d been in hospice for a long time, so they knew it was coming, but still…

It hurts to lose. Missing people is very painful.

Growing older—all of us—day by day. Indisputable fact.

Going out in the world and taking chances — accidents do happen. And crimes.

Death happens. One way or another. Gonna give you the slip. Nice if it can be quick and relatively painless, but it’s a roll of the dice. Never know when your number will be up. Maybe tomorrow.

Never know.

Some folks consider this topic depressing, and it can be, but it’s reality. Can’t run from it forever, especially not while others around us exit this realm. Don’t know what’s beyond this life — can’t, not ’til we get wherever we’re going, if anywhere. But we do know the experience right now of living, and I suppose it’s true that life in large part depends on what we make of it. The individual has power there, but the collective matters. The tribe still matters. More importantly, within the “tribe” is where our lives find meaning through our relations and contributions toward sustaining a way of life.

Tonight I watched SpartanLifeCoach’s video titled “Zen is not for westerners? Ego detachment and diminished self esteem”:

Terrific food for thought that was right on time and plays in to so much I’ve been pondering. The importance of our tribes and how that concept’s changed and been distorted by humanity accepting what turns out to be the wrong path. It’s unsustainable, and for a multitude of reasons.

A big one that so many seem unwilling to acknowledge is that modern life is proving increasingly psychologically unhealthy. It’s broken apart our tribes, stressed us out, and directed our allegiance toward our nation-states. Politics aside, our social dynamics are all jacked up and we’re getting sick in the spirit, labeling ourselves and one another as “depressed” and “anxious” and “ADHD” and “OCD,” etc. We have come to live within a matrix of sorts: an economic, legal, and cultural framework that defines the perimeter of our cage.

Or cages, if we take into account what money and influence can buy some people.

The spoiled vs. the screwed. Life out of balance. And this isn’t new, it’s just now much worse. Which sucks since modern life brought plenty to be appreciative of, yet, again, the current setup is proving unsustainable. How much are people suffering? How stressed are we? People dying in our name on the other side of the globe — never seems to end. While we Westerners are desperately seeking meaning, purpose, happiness in our lives and contending with financial competitiveness over jobs that decreasingly offer much sense of security. We’re no longer tribes, we’re consolidated into a herd, and we’re ushered along according to what this system demands of us in order to provide for ourselves.

Our society has morphed into a bunch of paycheck-collecting, bill-paying, tax-sacrificing, politically-apathetic, atomized individuals. What’s paradoxical here is how the herd mentality provides a false sense of belonging and thereby acceptance (at least on a superficial level, hence the commonly esteemed “law-abiding citizen and taxpayer”). But it’s an alienating role in terms of how human life functioned throughout the vast majority of our species’ existence. Yet, in order to break free from the herd mentality it calls for some sort of individualistic streak to feel the need to break free. The ego, as Richie discussed in the video above — gotta have it. However, this sense of alienation turns us neurotic in the “ego masturbation” sense he mentioned, largely because society has gotten so big and complex and we’re trying to keep up with and appeal to so many strangers. Relationships are rendered more tricky due to being influenced by unrealistic expectations peddled on tv and in films and popular literature. We’re feeding ourselves and one another garbage (both literally and figuratively).

It’s a huge and sordid web we humans have managed to weave. And it traps us into thinking no other alternative is truly feasible at this stage in the game. We tell ourselves our own only choice is to buck up and deal with it, because what options are there if so few of us can agree on much of anything of real substance? Individuals are trapped because the collective is trapped. The collective is stuck because there are tentacles that reach everywhere in society that wind up tying you back in, somehow, some way, into serving the economic/political machine.

Thought about that last bit Tuesday while watching Eric Orwoll’s video titled “Rethinking Infrastructure.” Nice ideas, but the question remains how. I guess it’s all about putting one foot before the other and cooperating where possible with others to share resources and make the most out of life and living however able. Simple as that sounds and really ought to be.

And I could go on and on along these scattered veins of thought, but tomorrow starts early. To be continued at a later date.

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