Having one of those “bizarre” conversations a couple of months ago, centered loosely around “theories,” a statement from a friend really hit me hard, but not quite hard enough to knock me off balance. The words had an impact, but it wasn’t a take-down. In fact, the conversation was initiated by them, which indicates to me, a subtle intrigue and fascination on their part in wanting to pursue an answer and initiating dialogue. Perhaps it was merely curiosity. I don’t recall bringing anything up, but I was happy to oblige.
“It must be difficult, and scary, believing everything is a lie.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa now… put on the breaks. Time out. I never proclaimed everything was a lie. That’s an absurdity. I explore the theories, nothing more. I enjoy looking into things most people would rather ignore or blatantly disregard.
To believe that absolutely everything is a lie, would be almost unbearable. I don’t think most people could properly function in life if they believed nothing was true, and everything was a lie. A hoax. A joke. We’d be in a constant state of anxiety and paranoia. Panic stricken. Fearful to start our day. I can’t, and won’t, live under those conditions. I refuse to be fearful and paranoid. Been there, done that. I prefer living, and not restricted to just being alive.
I do, however, have the right to be skeptical, just like everyone else. Being skeptical, leads to investigation. I enjoy exploring the questions. I enjoy the investigation, regardless of my determinations and findings, or lack thereof.
We tell our children to question everything. “No matter what, you question everything. Don’t believe everything you see, and hear, and read in books and on the internet. Ask questions!”
However, once those days of childhood are over, and we reach a certain age, we no longer ask questions. We accept. We comply. We’re told, “It just is.”
Why? There has to be more than that…
Then life picks up the pace and we have to somehow keep up. Scurrying frantically through the endless maze looking for an exit, or a small prize along the path to satisfy some inner cravings. Priorities take precedence and we forget those things that once had our curiosity. Our sense of wonder disappears. Connection disappears. Thrust into the real world armed with only that which was presented and delivered to us along the way. We become zombified, calcified, dead-eyed, and terrified to make a mistake.
I have truly made my fair share of intense mistakes. As if the world and everyone around me was conspiring against me.
One of those mistakes was attending higher education when I should have considered the plethora of alternatives instead.
My first stint in higher education was, English Literature: Shakespeare, Beowulf, the classics, and creative writing intermixed within the criteria. I thoroughly enjoyed that component of college. I had fun. Mathematics, however, has never been friendly to me, but it was mandatory for college success.
OK… let’s give it a try. How difficult can it be?
I was forced to take, (some specific level of) Algebra. The concept of unwillingly participating in math classes, to receive a degree in literature, boggled my mind. I wanted to write fun stuff and seek out my creative side, utilizing history, sociology, art and basic psychology as backbones and templates for my aspiring writing goals–not designing complex graphs, and breaking down complicated equations to calculate estimates. But it was mandatory.
I understand our chemists, scientists of varying degrees, biologists, physicists, and theorists require high level mathematics to do their work, but it has never applied to me. Being forced to participate in an activity, that has no meaning to me, doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t make sense, I have to explore the why.
I’ve had to use remedial math and basic measurement fractions when I worked in the steel industry, and those few retail jobs in between other retail jobs, but the mathematical “stuff” that was being taught at my university, never made any sense. None-what-so-ever. And to top it all off, the instructor couldn’t help me make sense of what I was attempting to learn. And as much as I hate to say it, there’s a specific reason for that distinctive outcome. Math isn’t meant for me. I ponder why math is a language I can’t process.
My questions are always focused on one word: why?
“Why is it this way, Mr. Smith? I don’t understand how the conclusion was determined and why the formula has ‘this’ specific outcome. The end result points toward a rough estimate, not a definitive. Why?”
“It just is.”
In order to get through this, you have to accept those things that don’t make a lick of sense. I see how it is… just go with the flow and ride the wave. It’ll be over before you know it. Just muscle through, and don’t ask questions cause you’ll look the fool.
Shouldn’t we be asking questions though regardless of their absurdity? Isn’t that the human mentality? We ask questions, to broaden our horizons and become more educated. Shouldn’t we strive towards making it all make sense and applicable? I don’t understand…
“It just is,” isn’t good enough anymore.
I believe what it all boils down to is personal preferences. I enjoy challenging my own perspective based preconceived notions based on what was provided to me when I was thrust into the real world.
For instance (only an example): I understand millions of individuals from all over Earth believe in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, even though they have never been there or caught a glimpse of the elusive creature first hand. Many claim to have actually seen ‘ol’ Nessie themselves, up-close and personal. They’ve witnessed the ripples, and the humps and breaches, and snapped blurry and grainy photos, and wrote stories and articles based on their discoveries.
That doesn’t necessarily conclude I should, by default, therefore believe in the Loch Ness Monster. Instead, I believe, that they believe. Regardless of the mass consensus, I don’t have to believe. Perhaps I’d truly believe it if I saw it first hand and could be convinced what I was seeing was in actuality an ancient sea dragon. Until that time comes, I’ll just continue to believe that people believe.
And I leave it at that. People can believe (in) whatever they want. I can believe (in) whatever I want.
Each personal journey of self-discovery is diverse, exclusive, and unique. My rabbit hole adventures and the exploration of my interests and fascinations have taken me to some places which have challenged how I think, dream, rationalize and how I conceptualize my reality. My reality is different from everyone else, and I have to live and experience it in my own way unhindered. I am merely an individual walking my path toward parts unknown, within the confines of my provided reality.
Reality however, is never easy.
Sometimes, the world feels as though it’s conspiring against us.
At one point along the journey my reality included a sub-conscious conjuration of an imaginary fictitious illusion formed from an immediate need, as a coping mechanism, which manifested randomly as an old man wearing a superhero tee-shirt, at the most inopportune and stressful of moments.
Joe was my biggest question. Why is he here? Why does he exist? Why, why, why? I needed answers to impossible questions. The types of questions that don’t seem to have answers, no matter how far down you dig and how much time is invested in research. Do we keep digging and seeking answers regardless, or do we give up…
Joe showed up unexpectedly at Nancy’s side that afternoon and issued a statement to me. He had become that nagging, irritating little voice in my mind always hovering over my shoulder, and whispering things I didn’t want to hear. Like having an angry conversation in your head with someone you despise. You can see their face as clear as day and hear the venomous hate in their voice as though they were right there in the room with you. Joseph Everette twisted, warped, bent, distorted, and manipulated my reality to the point of no return. I haven’t been the same since.
He stood over her sleeping body with his hands on his hips. He sighed through his nostrils, and then pointed to me with a shaking finger. “If you don’t do something about all this, right now, today, this moment, you’re going to go right out of your fucking mind.”
It took me three days of silence and thinking, watching Nancy’s every move, responding to her every need, sitting cross-legged at her side always at arm’s length and remembering those chaotic inner voice conversations, to finally figure it all out.
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