Mikey Mikey!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Ever catch yourself doing or being that which you preach against? Part of it is the way we grow up, part of it is what (or what not) we are taught, but mostly it is the way we think.

It is easy to come out and say you are not a racist or even that you believe in freedom of expression. It is easy to forget about colour, religion or ethnicity. You can look past all that.

These are the issues that are easy to identify and even teach a child. None of these are inherent by nature. However, it is a lot harder to look past the person eating and spitting half his food in your face, the person that talks weird, walks funny or even the person who seems that he/she does not know all that much about the subject you love. It is a lot harder to reach out to every person regardless of the fact that you have nothing in common. It takes a lot of effort to be nice to everyone. I can hardly believe myself saying this but being nice, honestly and sincerely, is extremely hard and I can't say that I know more than one or two people that are like this. Or at least seem to be like this.

To be more specific... Anytime we use the words "me" and "them" - "I am like this, they are like that" - we are playing the game. The game that can lead you down a chain of thoughts so disastrous that you end up in a cycle of criticism and cynicism. You set yourself apart from the rest - be that politically, ideologically, religiously, or even when mannerisms, eating habits, educational or societal status are concerned. Every little grouping you can make, any labeling must dissapear even for the simplest of issues.

A method of dilluting this notion of separatedness is to see each person as a mirror. Look at them as if you are talking to yourself, as if that person is a subset of your matter, your thoughts, your anxieties. As if they worry, eat, drink, fall in love, get scared just like you do. After all, is it not true? See yourself in others and the words: "I", "me", "them", "they" dissapear...

The effect is that you will not think before you talk - "What will they think if I say this?", "Is this acceptable here?", "Will she think this or that?", "Will she reject me?", "Will they laugh?". Nothing will matter once you see yourself in "others"... Talk, behave, discuss, live like each person is you.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

O captain, my captain

Carpe diem.

Seize the day! There is a long list of cliche quotes that fall under this category. You know; phrases such as: "Live every day like it's your last."

You had something to say and you kept quiet? You were going to make the first move with that girl and did not? You were going to go skiing for the first time and decided to pass? Live life with intensity. That is what I have been told and possibly it is something I have to learn to do more.

Honestly, can anyone tell me about a time they took a risk and regretted it? Even when the result was a failure to an observer, what you gain cannot be shared or even explained. For a failure is nothing more that an experience. Any experience has value because it is something we can use in the future. There is a scene in "The Lion King" where the monkey (what his name?) hits Simba over the head with his cane. Simba turns asking: "What was that for?" "To teach you something," as he swings the cane at him again. This time Simba ducks avoiding the hit. "There you have learnt something already!"

I am not suggesting you go running naked down the street... but don't be passive... If you have thought about something twice it's too much. Do it!

[Quoting Henry David Thoreau]
Neil: I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life... to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
-Dead Poet's Society