Thinking

Why should I do what I’m told

Your same arguments are getting old

surrounded by countless sheep

even the smart refuse to think

what happened to the freethinkers?

Those who’d ignore the voice on the loudspeakers

So many just follow blindly

Give thanks and take what’s given kindly

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Cacophony of Crickets

Tonight I was walking down a path near my dorm at about midnight. I am a monstrous fan of the night, especially the outdoors, and the seclusion which a combination of the two can bring. At one point in the path, both of its sides were covered with large bushes. I took a moment to breath while still walking and simply listened to the sounds around me. My focus was on nothing but deep breath and my senses. In situations such as this my mind tends to wandered towards and focus on perception and such. I began to center my own perception on sound, and the crickets chirping around me from their various hiding spots in the many bushes drew my attention.

A cricket is tiny, and its chirping is not much individually. However, collectively the crickets were making quite the racket. As I continued to walk and listen though, I began to really hear the cacophony as a whole. It was as if the crickets were all a part of a symphony, with each cricket contributing its own individual chirps. This symphony was not pleasing to the ear; it was by no human, musical measurements decent in any way. However, it was kind of beautiful to think of how the complete set of chirping was perceived by a relatively large, outside subject (me).

In a way, it reminded me of humans. Each of us goes throughout our lives banging pots and pans and causing as much ruckus as possible just to prove to our twisted egos we aren’t as small as we really are. When space, or even the sheer size of our Earth, countries or even cities are contemplated, only one conclusion can be drawn: one human is absolutely tiny. There are simply so many human beings in the world.

Some people are great; some are horrible; some are beautiful; some are dumb. No matter what their label is though, every single person contributes their unique chirps to the cacophony of humanity. Each piece of seeming disharmony is really completely harmonious in ways which a simple, human brain is incapable of comprehending or even acknowledging fully.

As I began to attempt to understand this, my next thought was, “Well, how do I apply this abstract comparison?” Since I understand we, as a race, are merely yelling into oblivion with no objective other than to make some noise in our own ‘personal’ concertos, two options are available: Scream and yell and make as much of a difference as possible in the dissonance, or do absolutely nothing.

I concluded that I respect the fact that some will use their ability of choice to do nothing, and I understand their choice, unlike most people who unconsciously make noise. It is their choice to separate from the arguably meaninglessness chorus. I simply choose to make an uproar, while many of the minority of people who actually begin to comprehend our nothingness, may see this as pointless. It is a paradox, with stupid people on every side (as with most decisions which exist).

Whatever anyone’s choice is (in any other situation, as well), it is acceptable, as long as the individual acknowledges the implications of their choice, as well as the meanings of the other routes the fork in the road may have lead to. This is my personal philosophy, and these were my thoughts on a cacophony of crickets as I walked along a dark path tonight.

Learning to Swim

For one of my classes I wrote a book report on Siddhartha the other day. It’s one of my favorite books; the themes are wonderful. Anyway, I like what I wrote so I decided to share it with all of you!

          Siddhartha has many messages, but I think the prime motif is finding yourself or, as it is referred to in the book, enlightenment. No one can teach someone how to find themself. It is something which must be achieved individually because finding yourself is different for each and every person on an individual basis. Of course, others can help but in a way which prepares the taught to traverse the rest of the journey alone. For Siddhartha, he is told what he must do to reach enlightenment from the time he was born. It was part of his traditional role as a Brahmin. He tried two different extremes, asceticism and complete self-indulgence, but in the end neither was the path he was searching for. He also was taught by the Buddha, who had himself reached enlightenment, but he could not learn from another these final, crucial lessons. He realized this and moved on. During his time with Vasudeva, he is learning as Vasudeva’s assistant. However, Vasudeva never teaches Siddhartha the lessons which he learned from the river. He put Siddhartha into situations which he could discover the focal points of the river’s teachings on his own. Siddhartha learns this final lesson through his son; No matter how hard he tries to force his son to understand, he simply refuses. This is one of the last lessons which Siddhartha learns before his enlightenment, and it is an incredibly vital one

          The lessons taught by Siddhartha are completely applicable to modern life. Not in a literal sense, or at least not usually, but the information is very valuable. Siddhartha uses the river as a tool which he compares to his own life, in order to glean as much information from as possible. In modern lives, this would probably not be the case. Information can now be attained from pretty much anywhere. IPhones have access to the internet, which is vast, bottomless well of information. However, the bottom line is that the most essential bits of knowledge must be attained individually. We cannot rely on others, or we will only end up as far as they have gone; and that’s a maximum amount. Especially in terms of enlightenment. One cannot stand on another’s shoulders to reach something so high. He or she has to learn to fly on their own. This lesson is not just important for the young, learning people to grasp, but the teachers as well. Many parents nowadays do not grasp this, and, unless they are lucky, their kids are too sheltered. They do not grow accustomed to thinking and making decisions for themselves, and therefore do not seize as much of life’s lessons as they could otherwise. On the other hand, many go crazy when they can finally make their own decisions. Of course, no parent in their right mind would give their baby drugs or pornography or any other type of harmful substance. However, kids should be taught. They should not be taught to fear these things. Kids should be taught to understand why they should not engage in negative activities. It’s beneficial to learn these things, so their thinking will become a habit and will be applied to other aspects of their lives. This way, life will be fuller, and they will actually have a chance at learning from it as they age and experience more and more of what life has to offer, as we experience it in one way or another. Everyone is a part of the river called life; now, it’s all about learning to swim.