Monday, May 03, 2010

Context is Content

So, my friend Meg has linked her blog to Facebook and I'm getting to see what she's writing on a more regular basis.  She's a little older than I am, but we seem to be going through the same kinds of mid-life soul searching.  What is it that we really mean for ourselves and for each other?  Why, when we had the chance, or chances, in the past did we miss all sorts of opportunities to educate ourselves, to explore the world, to figure out something that we may not have known before?

So, I guess, the point is that we have the chance now.  We're older, more experienced, better able to understand opportunities that are before us, and how to take advantage of them.

I'm not sure that makes much of a difference.  The jaded, bitter, cynical, pessimist in me thinks that the only thing different is that our experience lets us know more quickly and more clearly when we are in the process of failing.

Does that suck?  Yes, it does.

I've been writing this whole exploration of purpose, intent, will, and influence.  The themes that keep coming up for me are the various conflicts between personal, individual, significance and the larger existential meaninglessness. 

I'm alone here, and that means I get to spend a lot of time with my cats.  Cats lead a life that is both simple and complicated.  They have very basic needs: food, water, a place to poop, that sort of thing.  But they are demanding of me and of each other.  They desire engagement and entertainment.  They want to explore.  I can tell that this apartment is too small for all three of them.  If they could have their way, each of them would want to have as their own space something that is even larger than what we all have to share.  So, we all compromise.  Is there something I can learn from that?  I don't know.  I suppose there is, but I'm not a cat either.  I want things that are more abstract than food, water, space, and a place to poop.

I still am struggling with how I see myself in the world, though.  Here at this phase of my life, I'm with Meg and wondering if I'll ever know. 

I said to someone the other day that context is content.  My point was that the environment in which something takes place dramatically alters, impacts, contributes to, is a part of the action, event, thought.  Thoughts and actions do not take place in a null space.  I think a lot of people, a lot of smart people, forget that.  It's reassuring to think that I can conceive of a thought, refine it into a statement of belief of some sort, and call it The Truth because I can do all that in some sort of mental pure space.  There is no mental pure space.  None.  At all. 

That starts me on the path of questioning whether there is any sort of ideal for thought, action, behavior.  Or, do we only have an extended, elaborately constructed, pervasive environment of moral relativism and intellectual self-delusion?

If everyone thinks that they are "right", then someone must be "wrong". 

I refer to Item #51 on my Short List of Things I Believe, "The Hivemind is always self correcting."  The point of that is twofold, and it's left worded with the ambiguity left in it purposefully.  It's a statement of action in that the Hivemind is always in the process of correcting itself.  It's also a statement of description in that the Hivemind is an object that posses the attribute of being self-correcting. 

So, we as individuals carry around our elaborately constructed ideas of self, and what we personally consider to be the Platonic Ideals of Truth, Beauty, and Chair.  (Yes, that is from a discussion in college about whether or not Plato's Cave Allegory meant that there existed somewhere an Ideal Chair of which all chairs we encounter are merely shadows.)

I keep coming back to this conflict because I feel like I'm still trying to resolve something in myself, something in my environment, something in my relation to the world around me.  For whatever reason, somehow I don't "fit".  I've not had a job that I've enjoyed for close to 10 years now.  I'm nine months into being back in my childhood hometown and as much as I find it emotionally pleasing for several reasons, I still have not, again, found a place to put myself to work, a place to fit.  And that bothers me.  A lot.

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