Humans are curious things. We simultaneously crave power which isolates us, and we crave companionship and community, which puts us at-odds with our own natures. Yet, the inexorable march of ideas and creativity continues. The world is pregnant with ideas, given birth into the whirling, cacophonous vortex of reality.
Once we have revived our ontological anxiety, we must keep it alive,
not allow it to die away into comfortable obscurity once again.
Instead of letting our being-towards-death fade back
into the diversionary small-talk of the ‘they’,
we must focus our lives around this ‘threat’.
— Martin Heidegger, (excerpt from “Becoming More Authentic: The Positive Side of Existentialism”)
If we are beings towards death, as Heidegger stated, then our ideas are similarly caught in the inescapable cycle of birth, death, and rebirth through our collective consciousness.
It has been said that “the dawn of a new era is upon us”– I refute that claim and state instead that the new era has been present, is already here, and has already passed us by like a three-fold comet. This statement of opinion remains solely my own and grew out of the concept of “continual self-destruction and self-regeneration” as the natural world around us continues through without so much as a grant of leave from humankind. What better way to understand our society and the universe than to remember that the entirety of humankind is undergoing a kind of “self-revolution” every moment of every day… when we choose to see it and accept it for what it is.
Nothing endures but change. — Heraclitus
Bearing the words of Heraclitus and Heidegger in mind, questions arise from the depths like methane bubbles in the blackened tar of our reality:
- Who am I to claim that I am separate from the whole?
- What am I, if not human?
- What truly separates us besides time, space, and our belief of unique experience of the living universe?
These questions came to me with such speed and unrelenting force that I remain speechless on their subjects to this very moment. I wonder now how I am to reconcile the rampant consumerism, the consumption of flesh, and my involvement in the orgiastic exploitation of the Earth upon which I tread with my desires to live with only what I need to survive, to live without violence, and to exploit no-one. Fundamental (and seemingly elemental) questions of whether pain and suffering are universal, whether we are the only sentience on this planet, and where we derive our right(s) to take life and artificially preserve the lives of those whom we choose are part-and-parcel to these mental exercises.
The most pressing questions present themselves when I consider what I can change today to create less of a negative impact on the Earth and the people that inhabit it, and what I can do to increase the positive impact of both my thoughts and my actions to people close to me. I’m trying to start by treating my mental states with more care, treating others with more respect and with greater love, and treating the Earth with the same respect I treat myself.
- What do I really ‘deserve’?
- Am I really as flawed as I think I am?
- What can I truly love about myself?
- What can I change about myself, and should I?
- How do I begin to love myself so that I can love others?
Questions I hope to answer someday soon.