Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From the Encyclopedia of Experience: Human Being (2)

Sitting in traffic today, I mulled over Longfellow’s “My Lost Youth”, thinking “long, long thoughts.” My mind wandered over a great many things; how beauty in images and words draws me deeper into myself, as if there were some dried up spring inside me that had just been refilled, and now I were drinking from it; how that spring must be in all people, to some extent, though perhaps not as deeply buried in some as in others; how we have lost in ourselves some understanding of what it means to live and, in turn, what it means to simply exist.

At that thought, my mind swam through the layers of who I am. There are thick veils that surround any person’s understanding of themselves and of the world—the time period in which we live, the level of civilization in which we are embedded, the technology which is prevalent, and so on, and so on. We’ve redefined what it means to be "poor", what it means to be “well off”, what matters in life. I thought of agriculture and how for many in first world countries now, it is an industry, not a means of feeding one’s family (in the direct sense). When I am hungry, I look at my purchasing power (or lack thereof, as I did today--oatmeal is a life saver), not what kind of food might grow in the surrounding environs.

My thought-train picked up the pace. Remember, man-child, remember. The world was once building-bare, the bones of earth reaching above ground unleveled, the roaming creatures uncaged; mountains had paths, not roads, valleys trapped nothing but river pools and fallen boulders; people ran with or without shoe-soles or sandals, and clothing was woven from freely grown greenery or tanned animal hides. Beauty meant something different, away from pixelated propaganda and insecurities; songs were about something different; dreams were about something different again; remember a time before academic institutions or civilized social-structures or money, or bullet shells, or pavement, or heart transplants, or nuclear…anything… Remember…remember?

My vision began to fade as I turned my 21st century automobile into a 21st century parking space (that’s how they’ll refer to them when human beings as we are exist only as the imaginings of a child some 500 years from now). The sun was in my eyes now, as blinding as the layers from under which I sought a glimpse of true existence. I suppose, on some level, being human means being temporally myopic. But, oh, to be more!