New Day, Same Lesson

image credit: https://www.quotemaster.org/Hard+Place

The Lesson: If your happiness depends on you yourself, then for you there is no hope.

You’ve heard “no man is an island,” and of this you can be assured, but that’s not the same as this lesson life keeps trying to teach you. For most of us, it takes a lifetime to even begin to grasp this lesson at all, or even recognize, or acknowledge it exists. If we do, we struggle to accept it, learn it, and much less, apply it to our lives. But to me, the most startling quality of the basic character of humanity is that, though this futility of reaching happiness independently is very plainly known to us all through our failures, the capacity to intentionally blind oneself to the madness of its pursuit is disturbingly persistent. In fact, almost no fault we fall over is so great that it trips us up on our race to the bottom of the abyss of self-righteousness.

This is function is mostly the fault of trusting in our senses. We have five senses that constantly give us input that we use to tell whether some good things are happening, like whether we’re healthy, fed, and enjoying ourselves. But, there are two factors about this input that, unless held in check, are highly deceptive about our well-being. Our senses try to teach us that anything unpleasant is plainly not good. The deception in this is that most advantageous and utilitarian outcomes are obtained through the endurance of displeasure. The other deception, the one that is at the crux of the divide between reality and fantasy, is materialism. We not only measure progress in terms of collections of things we can see and touch, amassing treasure over truly legacy building accomplishments, we also barely perceive the effect of time on this tiny sliver of the cosmos termed as material things, compared to the far more enduring aspects of the rest of reality.

Complaint over internal offense has replaced resilience, yet expressing offense is unironically called brave. You are now brave for decrying objective language you simply don’t prefer. Now, internal, subjective, immaterial thoughts and feelings are being taken as irresistible identities. In fact, just the right to sexual satisfaction has itself generally trumped all other rights put together. The irony here is that the repeatedly unsuccessful attempts to achieve sexual satisfaction through, well, repetition, sort of intimates the futility of the practice. Sex has never been an end unto itself, not to put too fine a point on it, rather, it’s a result of fulfillment. In a relationship, the end that is progressively being pushed these days is sex, but it’s being pushed as a substitute for fulfillment. more accurately, it’s beginning to replace, or to define, relationship itself. Why is there now a stomach for animal and material relationships? (Ehem.) Is it possibly because the term love has come to mean happiness?

If, then, love is reduced to nothing more than obtaining “enough” pleasure…while calling it a relationship with nuance and trying to deny that its justification is just the “fulfillment,”…then the types of relationships you can have are open, to anything. Please, stop telling me that marriage to a carnival ride will not become legal, because it already has… (Story) This , unfortunately, is just the logical end to our definitional departure from mutually fulfilling, sacrificial, unconditional love. But, fulfillment in love is not the only example of life’s lesson in happiness, is it? We’re simply inundated in this alternate reality, having almost no other call in the media for our attention that isn’t sensationalist or instantly gratifying.

It sort of speaks for itself. The problem, then, is what we’ve redefined as listening, rather than just redefining the content we’re listening to. You can listen all day to god advice, and gain nothing, if you’ve forgotten what listening is. This is really what is happening when we miss this obvious lesson, every day, ubiquitously, and feel just fine with it. How has culture managed to redefine listening, then? It is not called this at all, but the new definition is quite literally, obedience. This is the natural progression from transactional love, to consensual, to compliance, (which is just another name for avoiding being accused of rape), and finally to a tik-tocker telling me who, or what, I must now say, do, or have sex with. This is one step away from compulsory obedience, or simply, coercion to comply or be excused from society. (Brave New World, anyone?)

So, you’re not listening unless you listen to me, or the latest edict, or finally compliancy laws. That’s not listening. Listening is supposed to involve choice, freedom, and above all, unrestricted access to voices. This new definition is the opposite of listening. Who is it that is supposed to decide for me — someone that is supposedly free and unfettered by the world to find his happiness — what voices are to be listened to, and which are to be silenced? The irony is so thick as to be debilitating. How can you talk with someone whose pursuit of happiness includes their dismissal of yours? And this, as they plainly cry freedom, emancipation, and tolerance?You want to say, “Make up your mind!” to these people, but sadly, this is the opposite of this new truth, this new pursuit of happiness. It says, “Don’t tell me anything, I’ll think whatever I want, whenever I want, and you will not.”

We will return to sanity, because nature will not allow for this lesson to go unlearned indefinitely. There is a voice that’s irresistible, no matter how much it is resisted. We all have a Creator, and there is no need to acknowledge him in order for him to be our Creator. All roads may lead back to Him, but probably not in the direction that we all might like. What made us is what continues to deliver the results of our actions, and no matter how hard we try, actions will still have consequences. It is mind boggling watching how difficult we want to make things on ourselves when this simple truth will work just fine, if we listen. The lesson is: Listen to life, it’s the voice of the Creator. How much more simple can it get?

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Chris Windes

Chris Windes

Musician, teacher, cosmology geek