A’fore a solitary night…

Solitude is often a tool well oiled by years of pensiveness & situation. For those of us who are truly solitary creatures, we value this time dedicated to the self. It is a time to reflect, to listen to one’s heart & to explore new & wonderous possibilities which often open up before Individuals at such times.

Upon the suggestion of my lovely wife, I am undertaking a night of solitary camping on an island not far from where I live. To use my mother’s words: I’m “going to play silly bugger in the bush” for a night. I have been looking forward to this night (Saturday, September 27th) since my wife made the suggestion. And so tomorrow, I will be off into the wild to reconnect with nature, with my own thoughts (without any mundane distractions) & hopefully with something deeper.

It will be a night to remember.

Do you ever have times of solitude? Time to yourself to think, to refocus & reconnect with what is truly important to you? If you do, I’d like to hear about them. Leave me a comment below & tell me about how you use your times of solitude to enrich your life.

Until next time, Blessed Be.

In My Dark Years…

There is a strange juxtaposition within my memory of the years I spent in University.  They were both some of my happiest times – as well as my darkest.  I was only seventeen in my first year of University & had been the only person from my graduating class to attend the particular school where I would spend five years of my life.  In essence, I was a stranger amongst strangers who was still even a stranger to himself.  For it is around this period in an Individual’s life when they begin to discover who they are & what they want out of life.  In a way, my journey was probably not dissimilar to the experiences of others who have gone through this challenging time.  However, my own journey had its own twists & turns that others might not have experienced.

During these Dark Years (as I have come to call them – though remember some of my happiest memories come from this time) I kept an informal diary of my thoughts & my reactions to events transpiring around me.  By “informal” I mean that I only wrote in my “diary” when the whim struck me & I felt inspired to quickly write down my impressions during a given moment – or when reflecting on recent events.  I suffered a certain social malaise – a hopeless disgust with how the world seemingly operated & the powers that seemed to greedily guide the lives of millions of blissfully ignorant people.  I’m sure there are many who have had similar feelings about the state of the world.  However, this Malaise Sociale lead me into a dark depression that I hid from my family, friends & peers.  I felt powerless to fight against the systems & the powerful people pulling the strings that kept the population enslaved to the false & dangerous ideals espoused by society.

It was a Dark Place that I inhabited.  At least in my own mind.

The memory of these years was sparked today by the simple action of re-reading some of those diary entries.  Reading the words that attempted to capture the thoughts, ideas & emotions I was experiencing at the time.  Like I said earlier, my memories of these Dark Years are mixed – both with the Malaise Sociale that plagued me & the joyous freedom & boundless possibility I felt as a young University student.  I met some of my dearest friends during this time – friends who have been an integral part of my life.  These strange times had a missive influence on the man I have become today.  I still hope for freedom & boundless possibility – but at the same time I still feel a certain malaise – though it is not a deep & troubled as it once had been.  Today I look on the world with hope for the future & with much more realistic & kinder expectations of my fellow humans.

What events in your past influence the way you think & the things that you do today?  Tell me about what challenges you have faced & overcome that have made you a stronger, more focused Individual.  Add your voice in the comments section below & let’s share our experiences.

Reflections On The Limits Of Human Knowledge…

Dead_crow_4 - JPEGDown the hill from my home, I came across a dead crow lying in the road.  I was driving on my way out of town and there it lay – peacefully & undisturbed in its post-mortal slumber.  The image is burned into my mind.

I have always felt a special affinity for ravens & crows.  The myths & archetypes of my ethnic & cultural backgrounds have always placed these birds in a special category amongst animals.  They are intelligent & this prompted my ancestors to associate them with knowledge & wisdom.  Indeed, they are symbols of the very quality I seek.

To see one dead, lying upon the concrete roadway of a modern human town, the symbolism & the archetypes spin through my thoughts.  One could see this as a representation of our modern life – how humanity has set aside the pursuit for wisdom (the crow) for the pursuit of material & economic progress (the roadway).  We find the bird dead upon the concrete, a victim of the very technology our human knowledge has created.

On the other hand, we could dig a little deeper & think about the limits of human Knowledge.  At times, the dead bird reminds me of how little we do Know & understand about the world, our place in it & the reason for existence itself.  Its passing from this world makes me think of how much there is beyond the mere physical that our collective & our individual Knowledge has yet to discover.

Maybe our modern pursuit of progress can be turned into something worthwhile for all of humanity.  Maybe we could pour our collective creativity, wonder & urge to explain things into figuring out what is truly important.  Maybe we can concentrate more on what makes us happy & what makes our lives feel fulfilled & concentrate a little less on material wants & all those things society tells us we need.

I know this is very idealistic.  Yet, when we think about how little we know about ourselves, about the world & about this universe we inhabit – it seems abundantly apparent (to me at least) that our priorities as Individuals need to be re-examined so that we do not become like the crow: a missed opportunity for knowledge found dead on a road.

Let me know what you think.  What sorts of thoughts fill you from this musing of mine?  What archetypes & symbols do you identify with & what do they make you think & feel?  Let me know in the comment section below & thank you for reading my musings.

Passion and Truth

An insightful analysis of Truth versus the obsession with being “right”. An excellent blog post by a fellow blogger & Truth-seeker.

jonathanhockey

For many years I have believed myself to have a special access to certain truths about the world. Whether this belief is right or wrong, certainly I was wrong to think that knowing this truth is itself enough to give it authority. Authority comes not from what you know, but in how you use it in application within your own life.

I see a lot of debates between people sure that they have the correct view. Or maybe they are not, maybe, even worse than such a dogmatic certainty, they are merely cynically playing along at a game of arguing for the sake of it, to pass the time. Either way, the assumption seems to be that the truth will ultimately speak for itself and it will speak in our favor. It is a form of truth that is mixed up with the obsession with being “right”. To be in…

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An Ancient Allegory About Enlightenment…

Over 2000 years ago, Plato described reality in terms of an Allegory.  He was keenly aware of how much of what we Believe is simply illusions we Choose to accept.  This wonderful animation perfectly presents his Allegory Of The Cave.

Are there any other Allegories or Parables that have helped you understand life?  If so, I want to hear about them.  Tell me what stories inspired you to look at the world differently.

The Top 5 Philosophy Books That Influenced Me

 

5. The Republic – Plato

As one of the Father’s of Western Philosophy, Plato has had a massive influence
on our civilization and the way people think. The Republic is probably his best
known work. In the dialectic style, Plato attempts to describe a perfect society
while addressing many of the issues any society would face. The sociology &
politics aside, the part that sticks out the most in my mind is The Allegory Of The
Cave
which begins on line 514a of the text. If you are able to see the material
world for what it truly is, it might bear a striking resemblance to Plato’s Cave.
What you can learn from this observation might shock & free you at the same
time.

 

4 Être Et Le Néant (Being & Nothingness) – Jean Paul Satre

Perhaps the greatest existential atheist to have ever lived, Jean Paul Satre was a
man who evoked strong reactions from his readers & from the world as a whole.
His ideas regarding the nature reality and the power of the Individual turned
philosophy on its head. For me, the most important thing I learnt from Satre is
that we are beings who are Free except that we are only constrained by Choice.
It is the understanding of the Power of Choice that will Truly set you Free.

 

3. Meditations – René Descartes

Whenever I think of Descartes, I can’t help but get Monty Python’s The
Philosopher’s Song
stuck in my head. You know the one: “René Descartes was a
drunken old fart//’I drink therefor I am’” But I digress… My own epistemology &
understanding of knowledge starts with Descartes. His famous Cogito (mocked
so well by Python & many others) is for me, the foundation of all Epistemology.
This a priori (or self-evident) Truth proves that at the very least, I exist. And from
there, anything is Truly possible

 

2. The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield

Though not a Philosophical work, strictly speaking, the life’s philosophy
contained in The Celestine Prophecy will put you on the path of connectedness &
help you reach your goals. The idea of the Celestine is that every day
synchronistic coincidences happen to Individuals. These coincidences are
messages from the universe that, if heeded, will help Individuals along their life’s
path. The trick is, staying connected & following these coincidences to their
ultimate end. This is an endeavour I am still struggling to master.

 

1 Thus Spoke Zarathustra – Friedrich Nietzsche

The great german Nihilist. The often misunderstood philosophical genius &
madman. Nietzsche’s masterpiece is superbly written & complex to its core. The
ideas it presents demand that the reader take up the hammer and strike down
everything – & then run through the forest dancing & singing, living life to its
fullest. It warns of the dangers of the Mob & forces the Individual to reach for
the higher goals in life. As Zarathustra himself says many times: “Man is but a
bridge to the overman.”

 

What are some of the books that have influenced you? Leave me a comment & let me
know. Maybe we can share our Knowledge & help each other cross Zarathustra’s
bridge faster.