When there is nothing worth doing
But doing itself
A summary of Karl Jaspers’ writing, “Sunk in the noise of nationalism and technology, people become intellectually and emotionally stifled, stuck. The crowd rules. Slogans and rhetoric pass for meaningful conversations”. Marietta McCarthy, How philosophy can save your life. Penguin Australia 2009.
What have we learnt? A German survivor of the first and second world wars, Jaspers was an early 20th century philosopher. He still speaks to us with relevance, as if alive today. Nationalism is destructive. Those who seek advantage through manipulating others naive enough to follow blindly, to adopt the slogans of ill considered electronic media and rally to the flags of puppet masters – will be perpetrators of great harm.
However, Jaspers was not without hope. “Amidst discussion, a silence is possible in which people may listen together and hear the truth.”
Are we still able to effectively hear the truth, to discover and explore the scant remaining silence? Or have we sunk so deep into the swamp of nationalism and the noise of technology to be beyond positive, constructive, truth seeking communication?
It was the idea I loved. But, first came the words. The words were, “A winding track.” The words became the idea. The idea developed.
The idea of a two wheel dirt track ahead. It winds up a wooded hillside in the golden hour of late afternoon. This romantic winding track, no destination in sight, no point of origin, beckons. It’s mystery entices.
So, I now find myself travelling this track. I’m leaving things behind and I am excited by the unknown destination ahead. I am savouring the journey.
Savouring, now there’s a word! A word to savour. A word begets an idea, begets a reality.
Ah, here is the real joy, the savouring. The pleasure in the journey, the exciting anticipation of getting there. Wherever there may be.
Human: sustenance, shelter, family, worthy work, friendships and creative cultural experiences.
Choose a place to still your body and a restless mind. Sit. Start by observing all that is going on around you. Hear the background noises. Examine the occupants, textures and colours of the physical surroundings. Feel the movement and temperature of the air. Take your time. Acknowledge and appreciate these things. Once you have paid them their due. Let them go.
Look into your mind. Question the constant restlessness of your thinking. How important is it for this moment? Work your way through your thoughts, shedding all that are not essential to your being here and now. Settle any disturbing waves of turbulence to a calm pool within.
Breathe, slow and deep. Find your own rhythm.
Place yourself exclusively in this moment and space. Stay for as much time as you need. Peacefully, refresh and reset.
Advertising seduces me into ever wanting more. Advertising leaves me wanting.
Nature arouses in me the need to belong, experience and explore. Nature fulfils these needs and more.
How is it we can perceive acquisition of things as necessary to our wellbeing, but continue to feel deprived of a sense of wellbeing when we acquire things? Why does this disconnect exist? Where does it come from? What is it that we really need or want?
When is thinking more important than things? Other than when things are required to do good work, maybe all the time?
Ah, but what exactly is good work ….. ?
I love it when you are reading a book, no matter how good it is, and you come to a blank page. This is because as you turn that empty page you are quickly one page closer to the end than you thought. One page closer to the sweet anticipation of finding and starting your next book.
Cold, wind, sleet, sun, rain, wood chopping, fire, magpie release, novel reading, photo learning, koala watching, glass and nail collecting, vegmite roll, tea, miso, water, Coca Cola, salad roll, apple, banana, writing, poetry, improving news, art, music and a photo a day.
“It is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception and compassion and hope.”
Holy smokes, Buttman!
Richard Squires has picked up nearly 50,000 butts around Melbourne over the past six months and wants everyone else to get in on the act.
This may be the last of the best of times for much of humanity. This may be the first of the worst of times for indigenous animals and plants. SM
Life has value when you choose to be interested and active.
Humankind must understand that we have crossed a retrograde developmental line when our use of technology is based on faith that it will work rather than understanding of how and why it will work. SM