scrambled airplane brains

13 08 2009

imagine that you are in an airplane, looking out the window.  rivers, roads, mountains.  what you see in a minute could take you days to traverse.  it’s a big world down there, an entire ecology from which an organism must make its survival, travel, and place.  it’s a life—it’s everything to anything which lives there, the totality of their world.  it’s a few forgettable moments up here.

today i was on a plane, and i was imagining myself in another world where things changed randomly all the time.  i’m a 31-year-old man on the road, and suddenly i’m grilling chicken for my wife and kids.  the chicken… oh, it’s shrimp, and i’ll turn down the heat and take them off the fire soon.  i’m holding a sword and there’s a man asking about its age and i think he’s going to make me an offer on it.  i’m back on the plane, but on the plane, we’re all peeling oranges, and someone opens a window.

my idealized version of me has the ability to feel at home no matter what the circumstances.  he isn’t afraid of anything, doesn’t mind if things don’t go to plan, is genuinely happy to be a part of anything of which he is in the middle.  he avoids nothing, embraces everything, listens well, and is never concerned about consequences or opinions, because he knows they are both fabrications.  in fact, he knows that his world is so arbitrary that taking something poorly is to be upset that he rolled a 6 instead of a 4.  every moment is full of uniqueness and a complexity that are inconceivable to the human mind, and this must be why it is better to accept and roll with every strange thing that comes along.

it’s important to understand the world this way because as stupid as it sounds, reality is every bit as capricious as the fantasy involving orange rinds flying out of the airplane window.  to say that something is ordered is to say that it is predictable enough to attach oneself to it, and this is what we do all of the time as humans.  i have a mother.  i bought an apple.  i am a doctor.  absolutely anything with which one chooses to identify oneself can be erased faster than can be imagined, in fact will be erased at some point, and yet we attach ourselves to these ideas just the same.  in effect, we take the gift of consciousness and use it to constantly redefine our ideas about our dinky, useless selves.

what could reality be besides defining our relationship to the generally consistent but wholly inaccurate flux of our perceptions?  um, how about anything?

my goal of being comfortable in any situation, for which i have been constantly working for over a year now, is unmasked as a need to stop caring in the least about comfort.  i’ve slept in my car, on private land, at new acquaintances’ homes, spoken at length to people i was already convinced i disliked.  for all of the awkward yesses i’ve given during my quest to refuse nothing and be pleased about anything, perhaps i was really only trying to stop myself from considering what “i” was convinced i liked/wanted/was.

perspective is everything.

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