Flows and Fragments

Celebrate with a drink! Cheers to good health with the consumption of a known toxin.
Mustn’t let yourself fret over such trivialities – let’s return to building our own reality.
Where to begin? Are you a friend or foe? Wait – regardless of what you say, how can I trust you?
The response would naturally then be: how can I trust anyone?

We are pressed often by pain; often driven or propelled by an internal pressure that combusts to sustain our inner flame.
The heat motivates, or rather, stirs us into motion. Fueled by an emotion at any given time sets our actions into motions.
Each presumably, and hopefully, preceded by a deliberation followed by a conscious decision. If we know the act was driven instinctually, in most cases, this being synonymous with the term unconscious, then we can conclude or redirect our initial inquiry.

If we know the actor of an action didn’t do so intentionally, i.e., remember not having thought prior to their action, then we can eliminate this channel of inquiry. This speaks nothing of the tenability of other channels. Particularly, we move to the group that can at least acknowledge the presence, even in retrospect, that the effect of their action emerged from some choice on some level of emotive (including somatic) and/or cognitive (e.g., linguistic) grounding.
To acknowledge a phenomena’s existence must precede the stage of naming such a thing – order of events is an important rule of thumb to help remember the principle of reversibility.

Still waters – why do we believe we strive for stillness? Because we’re so busy we are dying to rest? True. But this merely means that we need rest and not that we want to stay there. Sure. We may want to now, as we think of this as a future potentiality, but our minds would likely change upon the actualization of this desire. However, this speaks to reduction of tension not to an elimination of it altogether. Rather, this speaks to a wish for a temporary tensive reprieve.

As actors, we enjoy getting to act upon others. This of course requires there exists others upon whom we might be able to act. But their existence can be conjured in the imagination, if necessary, so we’ll make the assumption and conclude in the affirmative of this statement’s validity.

Next, to move as an actor onto another, there must exist some dimensional gradient; that is, an imbalance that functions like a slope allowing for flow to occur. This is juxtaposed to stagnation. That is to say that the actor and the acted upon must have some degree of difference (> 0). This needn’t be a categorical difference. It merely must be enough of a difference to allow for the bifurcation of identity, i.e., each receives its own identity. Some degree of sovereignty over our own machine; how’s that working out?

We spend time worrying about the various things that are going to or have the potential to kill us while overlooking the stronger likelihood that the culmination of stress, pain, fatigue, apathy, and chronic pain will somehow not ultimately be our killer. I believe we secretly wish this to be true because then we wager with the death toll collector about when, or at what age is our toll due, evading these types of contemplations through the inner games we play with ourselves to manipulate time.

Flowing Forward

The flow of time is due to entropy. Entropy is flowing from a state of order into disorder, and we perceive that as the arrow of time. But, on a true scale, time is truly relational: it is a matter of motion and change relative to other things (ultimately, light).

What does this mean phenomenologically? How do we experience time? We seem to perceive the past as something that is solidified. The past happened. The future, on the other hand, is ruled by probability. Points and events are not located and defined. At best, we try and predict using information gathered from the past. The past is continuously shaping the way we view the future. But, the past is also not static. We can influence the past through the way we think of it. So, can we change the way we think about the future by changing how we think about the past?

What would changing the future do, though, but give us control over the future? What would you do with complete control of your life? If you could map and stage out the events of your life, how would you make it: Would it be easy and relaxing for the entire duration, or challenging and arduous?  Would you choose to live leaping from one high to another or sprinkle dashes of both extremes of highs and lows? The real question underneath this has to do with growth. There must be some form of transition for anything to grow or a change resulting from some disequilibrium. This transitional period may be perceived as suffering and uncomfortable, or merely different and strange—possibly even exciting due to the novelty of the unknown. If something were in constant equilibrium, then there would be no growth because how could something change without at some point disrupting the balance.

Why are we afraid of change? We fear change because it reminds us of our inability to be certain of the future. We fear what the future might bring and fret about how to prepare ourselves for the multitude of scenarios conjured in our imaginations. At the core of these worries is our fundamental need for self-preservation. Additionally, it could include other cardinal characteristics of ourselves that we’ve wrapped our identity around; in either case, the point of rumination revolves around the question of what happens when those areas break down or are threatened?

Furthermore, why is it that we assume our sense of self and identity are unified to begin with? If we utilize our mental energy for analyzing futuristic what-ifs, then when do we make the necessary mental pivot from gazing out into the future to reflecting backward into our past? Without self-reflection, we operate as entities merely floating down the river of time, anticipating what might present itself to us next and striving to respond accordingly. By remaining in this state of assessing and predicting, we simultaneously avoid the task of reflection and contemplation necessary for a consolidation of the self. Moreover, this future-focused mentality is quite easy to continually justify as one need only cite that the river’s perpetual motion as the reason they are unable to shift to a different mental viewpoint. The challenge lies in the question of when? When will do we feel it’s the appropriate time to engage in self-reflection and, by then, can it even serve the same purpose?

It is so alluring to become caught up in the constant motion of time that we can forget entirely about what rhyme or reason motivates us to continue pressing forward—also, forward to what? If we focus solely on the future, then doesn’t it stand to reason that we will continue to do so in the future? The challenge becomes to determine where and what the threshold is for enough: What constitutes enough money to merit reducing work? How many followers on social media are enough to shift this from one’s central priority? When will there be enough safety measures in place that we feel protected from the uncertainties of the future?