Part of the preparing, packing and tiding that I’ve been doing in preparation for my travels has included a level of digital tiding. When sorting out some of my data I stumbled across a rather philosophical blog post that is yet to be finished. A first draft if you will.
Recently I’ve not seemed to be having these kind of philosophical life ponderings as much as I used to. I wonder if it’s because I’ve had less free time – a possibility that excites me as travelling is definitely going to have it’s slow points. I could be the process of a younger mind looking for answers to the eternal questions. Bearing in mind that this was written a few years ago and is not actually finished (there are some bits that don’t seem to quite make sense) while you enjoy the ponderings of a younger Rob:
Life is a journey
Life is a journey, but every journey needs direction. Without direction any journey will just be Brownian motion, the flopping of a fish out of water. A journey without direction is pointless (note, not, discovery). So to give your journey direction you need a start point and an end point. In a less proactive existence the end point of your journey can just be extrapolated from your current progress. To grab hold of life and go where you want is, in some eyes, the whole point. This however invariably involves goals, tasks, expectations and other words that generally aren’t socially acceptable. This completely overlooks the fact that setting goals to get to your destination strongly relies on knowing where you actually want to go. For many people (myself included) this is the hardest question of all.
A possible approach would be to look at your possible end points, choose the one you want the most and go for it. Sounds easy eh. Yeah right. You could take my approach and try to works towards a collection of goals at the same time. People look on and cheer your efforts and success, but in the end am I not just intensifying the thrashing of the dying fish?
So giving up on the destination for a moment – and why not, some journeys are explorations – perhaps we should start at the beginning, literally. All journeys have to start somewhere, so if we’re going to go exploring through life perhaps we should decide where we’re starting from.
On the face of it this is a sensible and easy suggestion. Taking stock of your life is pretty easy, I live here, I work here doing x, I enjoy/don’t enjoy doing x. And so-on. But then it can be easy to get a spanner thrown in the works if you want to involve the spiritual side of life in your journey. Where am I spiritually?
For some people I suppose this is a ridiculously easy question to answer: ‘I’m Jewish’, ‘I’m an atheist’ etc. I unfortunately find it a hard question to answer as I don’t subscribe to any religion specifically. So in essence I have to look at all the possibilities and either make a decision or choose the bits that seem to make sense and make my own religion. Now I’ve never read the bible (I tried once but didn’t get far, it’s quite heavy going) or the Koran, I’ve started Tao Te Ching. So what can I do? Well I have a flavour of religions, just from living and reading and meeting people. Strangely I find myself slightly pushed away from western religions, they seem to be based on too many rules. The irony being that even with a simple set of rules, the institutions built to uphold them can’t follow them. The obvious example here is taking ‘Thou shalt no kill’ as a pretty simple ideal, and comparing it to the crusades, and witch hunts and all manner of nastiness.
No, Christianity is not really for me, while some of the simpler teachings and morals are very relevant to everyone, they seem to exist in every religion worth talking about anyway. At least in some form or another.
Atheism? This has the potential to be an incredibly exciting religion; ‘this is all there is so go out there and grab life by the balls’, would be one potential interpretation of it. I’ve never met an atheist to my knowledge, I imagine them to either be incredibly exciting or very depressed people.
When people ask me what I believe in, I’ll invariably say ‘I’m agnostic’ which is really a bit of a cowards way out of the question. I certainly believe that life on this earth isn’t the be-all and end-all of existence. Past lives are a definite possibility to me, as – by association – is reincarnation. What else do I believe in? Well fate, to an extent. Not that everything is pre-ordained and decided already, but that certain opportunities are presented and should be taken, the decision is ultimately yours.