Common Sense

Any rational human being must be willing to challenge and test their convictions if they expect to find truth among them. If one is hesitant to do so, perhaps they already know their system of thought will not stand up to the necessary level of scrutiny. One must be willing to accept the possibility that they are entirely wrong. The scientific approach must be taken to ensure delusion and stupidity cannot masquerade as truth and reality. The human mind must be open to changing. Opinions, by nature, need to be malleable. Your reasoning is not infallible, and therefore is subject to questioning and examination. You are wasting your ability to think if you never look around you and ask “Why?”

That’s just common sense. But then again, “common sense never has been, and never will be, common.”

Time Won’t Let Me Go

I couldn’t tell you when it happened, just when I began to notice it. It was a subtle nudge from my subconscious, telling me that the status quo was in flux. That the world had changed, and everything around me would be forever different.

I fought it, denied it, for so long, pretending that things were as they had always been. Soon, I began to question it, and when I went to the world demanding answers, the world commanded that I look within. It provided me with nothing more, other than its smug silence, daring me to put the pieces together.

So I did, assaulting the sublime with all the angst of a catcher in the rye. I searched for the source of this shift in balance, desperately trying to find my lost paradise. I refused to do as the world had suggested, looking without for the key to this quiet madness. Eventually, I realized such a quest would be ultimately fruitless, as I came to a very important conclusion.

Perhaps it was not the world that had changed; perhaps it was I who was no longer the same.

As I turned my gaze upon myself, I saw that with each day that had passed, I has slowly been shaped into an entirely different animal than I had believed. Each moment had tattooed itself upon my soul, etching lines on my face and new facets into my personality.

In all my raging against the machine, and with all my causeless rebellion, I had failed to see what was right before me the whole time. I had never noticed that as time washed over me, it also changed me. That with every breath I took, I was a slightly different person, and that as the world appeared to shift and evolve around me, in truth, it was simply my eyes that were changing.

My views, my opinions, my outlook, my understanding…it all culminated in the creation of a new beast.

Perhaps it is simply the nature of the species to be in a constant state of change. In a way, it would be utterly impossible to remain the same, even from one day to the next. It is not necessarily big, monumental changes that occur, but little, unnoticeable, seemingly insignificant changes, and when those minute changes are viewed together, they paint a picture of a being that has no set reality, no set base. The greatest constant in life is change.

It reminds me of something my old man used to say.

You never cross the same river twice, because with every drop of water that flows, it carries something with it. It takes something away, it leaves something different behind. Every second that ticks by reveals a new creation.

And somehow, I am still foolish enough to attempt to hold on, gripping my moments with brutal ferocity. Or attempting to, at least. Because, in the end, those moments are again like water: try as you might, you’ll never be able to grip them in your hand. At best, you can briefly hold them in your palm, watching as they slowly trickle away.

 

Misery Business

There is an old parable about a man who had a newborn son. When his son was born, all the townspeople came to his home to congratulate him on this wonderful event. The man calmly replied to them, “Who is to say if this is good or bad.”

Some years later, when his son had become a man, he bought a horse. As his son was breaking in the horse, he fell off, breaking his leg. All the townspeople came and told the man how sorry they were that this horrible thing had happened. The man calmly replied to them,  “Who is to say if this is good or bad.”

Several weeks passed, and the man’s country went to war. Because his son was still very much wounded, the young man was not conscripted into the military, and therefore did not have to fight in the war. All the townspeople once again came and told the man how wonderful it was that he was able to keep his son, and once again, he told them “Who is to say if this is good or bad.”

When the man was old and grey, and he lay dying in his home after a long, full life, his son held his hand and cried, asking his father why such a horrible thing must happen. The old man caressed his son’s face, telling him one last time, “Who is to say if this is good or bad.”

Life is full of miserable situations and moments. Many of our days are not good ones. Or at least they are not pleasurable ones. Perhaps misery is not bad. Not to say that miserable things are good, per se, but perhaps they are not inherently bad.

I’ve come to realize that much of life is about being a loser. Failing at things, having things not line up, being disappointed, and being used, abused, mistreated, and manipulated are simply part of the human experience. And it would seem that these experiences are more than plentiful. Difficult things happen all the time. You are going to be a loser more often than not.

However, I have realized something else as well. It doesn’t matter how many of your days you wind up on the losing end, what matters is what you do with those winning days. Those few and precious moments where you win one, you have to make the most of those. You can have the crappiest decade, but that single day where things go right, if you capitalize on it, that can make all the difference.

I don’t have much else to say. I know this seems like a giant storm cloud with a razor thin silver lining, but that’s life. You’ve kinda gotta get over it. Because who is to say if this is good or bad. Who is to say if the next sunrise will bring you your big win? Who is to say that any of this will matter in a year?

So chin up, you lovable loser. Obtain your even-keel, because life is miserable, but it is not bad.