A Potemkin World, A Closet Full of Shit

They say life is comprised of a beginning, middle and end.  They say love is the greatest gift we can bestow upon another.  They say many things.

Of the vague notions we have failed to harness and compartmentalize, are life and love.  Although both can be destroyed, neither can be contained.  Both are grossly misunderstood – life translated into existence and love into unification.   In our bid to turn both into our possessions we have lost all concept of either life or love – until at last they have no more meaning.

But meaning in itself is a slippery slope. Meaning has long since come to be only the allocation of fixed constructs into a definition – a word.  Defining words begets a static object (if even the act of definition is used to relay something entirely vague – such as life). Words, each one housed in its own definitive cage, are piled higher atop one another until finally an idea is utterly caged in a fencing of constructs – penned and accepted as permanent.  The idea can then be possessed.

Armed with these words, these possessions, we create an understanding of the world around us, our lives and ourselves.  Compounding words we establish beliefs and identities.  Assigning more and more fixed meanings we at last settle into a Potemkin world – a world built of words, a world where definition equivocates reality.

It is here that we sit lost, cut off from all things basic and yet indefinable.  Alienated from one another – we search for life and we seek out love.  Yet in our bid to retrieve what has been lost we use the very means that led us here in the first place – reason and definition.  We have encircled ourselves in a pattern that no one seems willing to break – for breaking that circle would in fact entail rejecting all of what we claim to know, including ourselves, and being led by something so incomprehensible it cannot ever be bound by words.

Our history – a brutal series of words strewn linearly behind us – haunts us.  However, what haunts us is not so much the horrific acts we so morbidly enjoy redefining, but our inability to break the circle.  We slaughter one another in order to experience a slight glimpse of what might be life.  We smother our spouses, children and friends in constricting relationships in a bid to recreate love.  We reject material objects and punish our bodies with ascetic lifestyles hoping to let go of the false world and ourselves without ever fully understanding what might truly set us free.

When, in fact, it is all in the meaning.  The very words we use to think and to breed further definition in order to comprehend it all suck us further into this vortex.  Our focus on the woven myriad of words comprising our own personal story and thus our perception of the world blind us from seeing anything else.  Something that is not defined should not be trusted and we perpetually revisit words of the past looking desperately for an answer.  We search for an answer that must come in the form of a concept that can be written, fixed, unchanging – for that is all we can seem to understand.

We then look to the past to unveil an answer.  We sift through our own past and those of others hoping to find a key in experience.  However, experience, as we have come to define it, is only a compilation of words describing past events.  Experience as we know it is itself only a construct.  Searching in experience to unlock the monstrous door that is unhappiness only locks us more so in the circle.  We fail to understand this as we as individuals are only an accumulation of experiences in that sense – our stories and therefore our identities are only a series of events we reflect upon in the future.  We stand ahead and look back at these events to define what we are, ergo we describe ourselves into existence.

Our Potemkin world depends upon this.  Everything exists, including ourselves, only because we say it does.  If experience is but a compilation of words – or static constructs, and we are defined and created solely by our experience – are we as individuals not constructs?  Can a construct really expect to live?

Rummaging through the archives of what is past detracts from all that happens now – it obliterates life.  Although our words and definitions are static the concepts we attempt to chain with them are not.  Life is not existence – life is to experience everything, not just one definitive action or emotion independently for a limited duration of time – but everything that is in a perpetual state of present.  Life is an energy that surges through every construct we so mercilessly seek to confine, pulsating through our words and definitions with a fluidity that cannot be contained or stagnated.  Life is all around us, in us – it is what makes everything a whole and should not be sought out with words or in compartmentalized pieces.  Life cannot be found in a Potemkin world – would we think to look for it in a house of cards?  Why then would we look for it in our make-believe selves – selves that only exist because we build upon definitive events to create a self-story?

Yet we do so constantly, and all the while we struggle to accumulate further contained experiences, to create life.  We then reflect on these events of the past from a point in the future – but where is the present?  To live would be to truly experience – requiring presence in the here and now.  To live would mean moving through unbroken experience devoid of definitions and commentary – always leaving the past behind.  To live is not to ponder past events and our perceptions of them – that is existence.  To live is to feel now.

That is not to say that what mankind has done should be forgotten – quite the contrary – we must endeavour to not repeat it.  However, dwelling on the past and relying on it to create the present only perpetuates that existence as a truth.  In relying on what has passed to continue to define us – to allow us as a species to exist, standing apart from all other things – only seals the circle we so desperately need to break.  In requiring a definition to give us meaning we in fact validate all of the atrocities of the past. In doing so we only encourage a future of much the same.

We must let go of our history – beginning with our individual construction, our own personal stories – and let those events be relegated to the past.  We must begin to live, to experience everything without the fears lingering from a history that plagues us.  We must move into the now.

To do this, to experience and live only in the present has been rendered almost impossible.  The Potemkin world we have created now controls us – to feel anything other than what we have assigned for ourselves is not just taboo it can be criminal.  In eliminating even the possibility of simply experiencing we have filled out heads with a perpetual chatter about nothing – chatter related entirely to ourselves as the constructs living in a Potemkin world.  We walk around worrying about our bank accounts, whether so-and-so loves us as much as we do them.  We think about clothes, mortgages, gossip and entertainment instead of breathing air, or feeling wind.  We obsess about unimportant details that compose the world and societies we have established.  As opposed to experiencing we wonder and worry – we feed our sense of self and as a result the reality we have constructed.  We do the exact opposite of what I am proposing.

I, of course, am no different.  Were it not for a chance encounter, what seemed as chance anyway, it is doubtful whether I would take the time to sort through this, my closet of shit.  Had my path not led to him on that day I decided to help myself – I am not so sure that there would be such compelling force to dispel with what was.

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