When one exists slightly outside the mainstream, one can actually see the currents and eddies of the stream. People inside the stream itself can't see the bigger picture.

That's me. I've spent my entire life on the outside, watching the stream (river? thread? path? Metaphors break down here) of life. It's where I am comfortable. It's where I was "meant" to be.

From out here, one can see the meanderings of the stream, the currents, the eddies, the pools, the waterfalls. The stream makes sense from here, in a way that it doesn't when I go inside the stream. I can sense the zeitgeist from here. People who spend their entire life inside the stream never have the existential perspective shift that allows this awareness.

Sometimes, I turn my gaze outwards, away from the stream itself, to the darkness beyond. I can see other streams out there, threading around my stream, sometimes merging with it, sometimes diverging. It's as if all of existence was a tapestry, and each stream a thread, contributing to the pattern of the whole.

But I can only see the nearby streams, the closest threads. I can see the patterns near me.

I can't see the patterns farther out. They fade into the mists, the blackness.

And sometimes, I turn my gaze even farther away, into the blackness beyond the tapestry. The great void of eternity that contains nothing, no gods, no purpose, nothing but blackness.

When I was younger, gazing into the blackness caused me intense existential fear, angst, terror. Now, it just unsettles me sometimes, but I accept the fact that there appears to be no purpose, no patterns to see at the biggest scale, and just go on living. Watching the stream. Observing the whorls and knots and bends and branches and, yes, even ends.

Which brings me to my entire purpose of this essay: I'm sensing a major... something. A waterfall? A stitch? Something is about to happen to the stream.

Buckle your seat belt. This could get interesting.

And just remember: It will be OK. All is as it should be. There's a pattern we're part of.
kevyn: (meme)
( Nov. 16th, 2007 03:43 pm)
Those of you who follow my journal know that, in addition to the massive bouts of clinical depression I've dealt with over the past 23 years, I also am afflicted with occasional paralyzing bouts of existential fear about the state of the world and where we are going.

This isn't a new development for me. I can remember at age 12, lying in bed at night, unable to sleep, terrified that a nuclear bomb was going to blow up at any moment. I was sure I wouldn't live to see 30, because the idiots in Washington D.C. and Moscow were going to end it for everyone. This was the early Reagan years, at the height of the Cold War, and I lived near military bases the whole time I was growing up, so this wasn't an entirely unreasonable fear.

When the Berlin Wall fell, and then the Soviet Union Collapsed, I breathed a great sigh of relief that the end wasn't so likely now, and got about the business of planning my future and making the world a better place.

Now, I'm back in that same place again, thanks to the idiots in Washington and elsewhere. And I don't like it one bit. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, environmental degradation, economic collapse, and the rise of fundamentalism and imperial fascism have me clutching at my head in fear. Something intrinsic to my nature is like Cassandra, always looking at the future. Something deep inside me starts screaming when we, as a people, ARE ON THE WRONG PATH!

I pay attention to the world around me (unlike so many USAians), and I don't see how anyone who is paying close attention isn't outraged and horrified. And unlike my friend, [livejournal.com profile] kcfairy, I don't go on periodic news fasts, shutting out the media. I can't. I'm an information junkie at heart, and when I have been away from the stream of news, I feel out of touch. I feel irresponsible. And the democratic process requires an informed population -- though most of my countrymen seem to have given up on actually being informed or participating in democracy -- and I can't stand not being informed. For the record, though, I don't get most of my information from the U.S. MSM (mainstream media). I go to the Canadian and British press (CBC & BBC), as well as the alternative press (Democracy Now!, Common Dreams, AntiWar.com and the blogs) for a broader perspective.

Today, my DVR counselor, Catherine, sat down with me to talk about my WorkStrides experience, and I showed her the fear picture I drew in that class, which I was in response to the exercise where we had to draw pictures of barriers to our being employed.

Catherine was really interested, and said something that I am still mulling over in my head. She said, "Isn't it kind of like being on an airplane that is going down?" That your probably can't do anything to stop the crash. You, and everyone with you, is probably going to die in the crash. But the oxygen masks come down, and you're instructed to put your mask on first, before helping children or others around you put theirs on. (I won't get in to the Fight Club rationale for those oxygen masks here.)

"Shouldn't you be doing that?" she asked. "Putting your own oxygen mask on?"

I see her point. I do believe the United States, and even our very way of life, is collapsing. And I may very well not survive. But shouldn't I still be taking care of myself, so I can be of service to others until the end? If I'm right, I'll make their last moments better, and if I'm wrong, I'll still be making the world a better place. Kind of like the musicians on the H.M.S. Titanic.

Something to ponder.
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