There are probably as many ways to achieve success and happiness in life as there are philosophies, ideologies, values, and belief systems. This is the beauty and complexity of the human experience: you can be who and what you want to be, or at least try and then choose something completely different. Even in the darkest places and during the most chaotic times, we are adaptable and capable of transcendence.
I can’t possibly understand or relate to the horrors of living in war zones, surviving in refugee camps, serving time in prison, or how living under an oppressive regime can destroy one’s spirit. One’s perspective is a subjective construct based on where you were born, but there are subtle, toxic manifestations of oppressive or dehumanizing practices in every society. We live in a reality capable of accommodating and perpetuating the most extreme circumstances, and yet we persist; we live on to tell the stories, teach the lessons, and construct figurative bridges between experience, intellect, interpretation, sensemaking, meaning, and purpose.
I see the world, and it is not pleasant to look at. I can feel deep sorrow and loneliness, fury and rage, gratitude and love all at once; it’s not hard to think of an image, story, fact, or fiction that can transport me to the heaven or hell of emotional capacity.
What drives you? To whom or to what ideal are you accountable? Why do you desire what you do? How would you define love? Do you get any rest while sleeping? Is this waking life just a dream, or is there something fundamentally flawed in the algorithm? What makes us capable of conceiving of a question? Why?
If you are brave or curious enough to peel back the layers of story and arbitrary association or attribution, you may be able to uncover and reveal the space before and between solidity and uninterrupted potential. What is potential? It is that which is variable in the absence of symbolism or representation; it is the formless pre-concept, an impulse awaiting electric or magnetic forces; it is the sea that is not yet water.
We all inherently and irrevocably bind ourselves to both the systemic and the independently circumstantial, the macro and the micro; this and that. When we talk about someone’s potential, we mean that “someone” is a causal agent; an individual with the capacity to think, choose, and act; a self-aware participant in consciousness. At that moment, a cascading formulative movement begins as the forces of impression and concept coalesce and, in effect, reduce the infinite and incomprehensible toward a manageable array of elements.
Life’s demands rarely allow for deep introspection, meditation, or contemplation beyond superficial critical examination. There is, of course, nothing inherently wrong with that. It all depends on what you want out of life and how much richness and satiety you expect. It’s not a matter of time, but of priority, agency, and the ability to step outside of the machinations of circumstance in order to achieve or regain functional objectivity. We’re too deep inside to see or understand anything other than what we perceive to be immediately around us.
Every level or gradation of an expressed (condensed, abbreviated) reality has a corresponding decision-making framework. Every level of intelligence — or encapsulated, segmented consciousness — performs best within an accepted limit of infinite potential. As a result, what we want or can get out of life is limited to probabilities within the realm of what we believe is possible. Without these limitations, we would most likely suffer greatly. However, there may come a time (or perhaps many) when we discover cracks in the veil of our understanding, introducing unpredictable and uncodified elements to what is or was previously fairly stable and known. Do we then let this existential brain exercise break down our self-imposed barriers, allowing us to develop or expand into something other than who we thought we could be, or do we suppress and deny it?
I believe that as a collective consciousness moves and evolves, sensemaking gradually integrates with these minor or major disruptions to what has come before. Every day, we can see or learn about something that was once thought to be impossible but has since been proven to be anything but. For that matter, I believe we assign far too many challenges to established parameters of reality as “impossible” in general; it is much more likely a matter of probabilities, as well as having the audacity to push beyond egoic, archaic, or academic laws and restrictions. A truly scientific method is more useful and beneficial to everyone if it is free of fiscal or political bias and willful ignorance.
All of this is to say that life is, might be, and would be far more than most of us believe it is. There are no ordinary moments, because even in the most basic and simple things, there is a vast field of organizeable energy, from the cosmic to the subatomic, that holds everything together and allows our senses to take it in and use it, or not — to give it meaning, or not.
If your life feels stagnant, empty, or irrelevant, and the world around you deserves nothing more than irreverence and apathy, now is a great time to get to the heart of who and what you are. Set aside the repetitive, unchanging worries and concerns, at least for a while. That thought stream will always be there for you if you choose to return. You may discover the omniscient why, as well as the why not.