Saturday, May 10, 2008

On the Road Again - Nomadic Thoughts

I heard a joke recently: There's this family - Dad, Mum, 2 Kids, that kind of thing - walking through the desert. It's hot and it's dusty, but the progress is good. "Are we nearly there yet? Are we nearly there yet?" the kids start asking, insisting. "Course we're not," replies the father, "we're bloody nomads."

Things have settled a little over the last few months. The novelty of 2008 has faded a little, and my thoughts are back with 2007 again. Death is still on my mind, but not in a particularly morbid way - instead, I'm finding that asking "well, what is death?" has led to a similar question: "what is life?" I don't think you can ask one without asking the other, or "confront" one without "confronting" the other.

Thinking about what it is to live raises all kinds of questions. What is "work-life balance", for instance? (Another rhetorical trap, but that's one for another post.) What does "feeling alive" mean? In a way, I feel more alive, and yet more sleepy at the same time, than I ever have. I don't think there's a particularly absolute definition of what it is to feel "alive" in that case. Maybe it's something you can only say in reflection.

Amongst the lows and the highs of the last few months, some form of reality - or connection with reality -has emerged. This sounds fancy, but isn't that difficult to explain. And yet, I think the simplicity holds the key to "feeling alive". It's simple in terms of what we feel, and often it's so simple that we're afraid that that's all there is to it, and so we go off and invent new forms of "feeling" to keep ourselves relieved that we're still looking for an answer. Or, at least, we set ourselves a different answer - one that's unattainable. Humans are weird like this.

In other words, the simple things are the important things. And the simple things are the things which come naturally to us. Love and grieving might be two ends (but also the same end) of this simplicity. We don't learn to do either, but we do learn to resist doing them. How odd is that?

So you could say my philosophy, for want of a better word, is shifting. I'm actually very excited by a single blog - probably more excited than any other blog I've found. I'm not sure why - maybe it's the ideas, maybe it's the style of writing, who can say - but is lining up with a lot of my thoughts at the moment. About money, about life, and about spirit. It's a reminder that "religion", philosophy, attitude, personality, work and desires are all tied up in the same big bundle. A reminder that spirit is on the same axis as physicality and consumerism. That all things come from the mindbody mind-body (the "mindy").

I'd recommend having a look at the very start of the blogif you're intrigued about money, and how much we "depend" on it. In a way, the idea of living without money is an alternative to alternative economies (such as non-state-funded currency, or even bartering). I think maybe one (living moneyless) is a personal thing, while one (economics generally) is a social thing and it's difficult to prescribe either as being right for the other. But then, I think the same thing could be said of religion/spirituality, or of work, or of social ties generally as well. In the end, it's all about what you do, though.

This thing we call "reality" is at the same time both fragile and utterly stable, because it exists on so many different levels. "Man-made" reality is perhaps the fragile part, whereas the reality that pre-empted us as a race is our foundation. "Reality Hacking" is an attempt to distinguish between the two, but so too is academia, photography, poetry, and that time when you just sit in a chair, staring into space while your mind dances off into whirlpools.

In reality, I think perhaps there is no "end" that we get to. When we arrive, we die. That is the end. Otherwise, we're all far more nomadic than we think.


James said...

Thanks for the thought-provoking post - and the link. Looking forward to reading that site over the next week.


Scribe said...

No problem, I'm hoping to get some time to go through it too. I don't think I'm quite ready to go completely money-free, but I do think there's a lot to be done in terms of alternative *approaches* to economy... I'm thinking a pick-and-mix perspective may be a good way to go, for me at least :)