Thursday, August 4, 2011
Quitting the Cardboard Life
What I find is that “his own way” such a cliché. He’s a perfect P T Barum sucker and complete unaware of being a sucker. He strives to be a bad boy, flaunting authority, but he fully conforms to the “bad boy” role created for him completely out of the Harley Davis marketing department. While he would like to think of himself as a rebel who makes his own way, his real existence comes from powers wanting to sell him an image. He has sold his soul for this total prepackaged image. He will lose money in Vegas. He and is girl will go to a show or two. He will drink to excess, and in the end declare his time in Vegas was baddest time ever, and only give vague descriptions punctuated by What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas slogan. Life moves past him.
What makes a rebel? a yell? a stance? a uniform?
The urge to explore and capture life will put one at odds with the world that wants simple answers. The betrayal of humanity happens in the instant, when forced into a prepackage of a role without incarnating into living being. We are all husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. Each of us see the world differently and there is no need to buy into a cutout of life. To forge out a life is to quite the expected role and live into life as it is. This does not mean a habitual breaking of conventions, like the motorcycle rebel, because today's rebels are tomorrow's conformists like the guy heading toward his prepackaged Vegas trip. Being alive, noticing the world around you, the earth you walk on, this will put one at odds with a world were image is king.
I have also felt the temptation to live into a preformed image. Being the good kid, or being the rebel poet. Yet, to find the good life or to be a poet is to awake to the world and see it new everyday. To pray and be transformed in the moment of prayer, to be open in being with another, these are scary and will lead to suffering as well of joy. Quitting playing the prefab roles takes courage. Sometimes I have this courage. Other times the courage is beyond me. I have learn to quit being the know it all guy, and being open to the grand mystery.
Martin Buber's I and Thou gives a view a humanity which has to modes of living. One in which the world and all that is in it, other human beings, mountains, and the rest, are seen as objects to be experience, manipulated, and controlled. The other is the world of relating to the world, open to be transformed in the moment of encounter with life, the other, and the scared. In one mode, to see the world as objects, has to simplify life. To live in the world of objects is both necessary and not evil, but only living in that world dries us out. Only be those moments of living in relationship are we fully alive. Living in relationship means the willingness to give up our beloved forms of existing each time love presents itself in the beauty of a landscape, the eyes of another, or when the world becomes an expression of the Divine. Life happens in the quitting of expectations.