in architecture and product development you call it form and function. with political or religious systems, there is the idea of perfect love, and then how we as humans actually walk it all out. I remember with live shows, you strive for a perfect show. with photography, that perfect image. rarely will you ever hit that target in life? it is great to have the idea, yet, who of us is really perfect? no one. so why are we caught up in some construct to pretend or look perfect?
admitting to yourself that you are a human with flaws, and in the west where we live a life of performance and winning from the secular side of life – it goes almost against the various teachings about love and humanity outside of self. I mentioned a week ago that a book on social justice was illuminated in a monastery bookstore. as I read through it, I am not sure if a higher being is asking me, “how far away from this idea is your life in helping others?” or if some force that doesn’t want me to change and grow in loving in a pure sense is simply trying to condemn me for my past and how I lived a lot of my life by chasing after stuff, titles, money, prestige, and accolades.
in hindsight, the last sentence comes across as a bit of foolishness as it is all external stuff and the internal balance of self-suffered because society said: “don’t worry about your weaknesses, just keep producing with your strengths!” I am not going to lie, the world working at the top levels of anything is really nice as you get paid gobs, yet, you seem to have to sell a bit of your heart and soul and rationalize and compartmentalize the behaviors into boxes.
“for my work box I will…for my spiritual box, I will…for my family box, I will…for my friends, I will….for my enemies, I will…” in essence one can simply compartmentalize all the various elements with walls or barriers to keep the parts from blending. how many bosses have you had that were a-holes at work, yet, outside of work, they appeared human?
we are living in a world where everyone is sensitive and seemingly offended with whatever another says about anything. I can’t remember where I have ever seen the populous all seeming to expect perfection in everything external, yet, so few giving anything to bring the ideology and the reality into focus instead of polarization.
what bothers me about the social justice book, taken from writings written in about 350 AD, Is that when I read about the patristic or ancient fathers with Christianity, it is like they are writing about life today. when one reads about wealth, riches, jewels, social standing, vanity, and pride…Do I have to wonder, “did anything change in 1,700 years? or is the idea of perfect love among humanity – just a pipe dream?”
if I didn’t get off the treadmill post 9-11, I would be living a life that I experienced and watched last weekend. you have people all working and living in a world of habits and more of a herd mentality that somehow is a blend of all races, creeds, colors, religions, and beliefs coming to some normalized place. “this is it! isn’t life wonderful?”
“you mean repeating the exact same thing over and over, figuring out ways to work for a living and in the brief times, spend it on fun and medicating yourself…is living? wasn’t there a term called living for the weekend that was some rock song? working for the weekend?”
life changed for me when I met a few Buddhist monks, a Sufi, and the monks of Mt. Athos who were put in my life to perhaps be the trauma team from the prodigal son way of life and offer the help for me to see that the world is full of very nice things and nature is dang amazing in its complexity, chaos, and beauty…but without love beyond self, life is pretty shallow and fleeting.
now I get to meditate and seek out a clear path with, “are you sure you want me to keep smacking my head into the wall with Agrowbox and Agrowspace? you sure you want me to make these healing spaces for people that simply are too busy to realize how ridiculous their business is? I think back to our computer whiz group with Patrick saying, “I want to feed a billion people” and I think to what we have, “yeah, we can feed a lot of people…I just don’t know how to overcome the pride, greed, and learned habits of others, to bridge the gap wherein the west we kill ourselves with overconsumption, and in the 3rd world we have a very real problem with hunger.
in addition to me seeming to get beat up with each sentence I am reading in the social justice book, here is a paraphrase about hunger that I will close with. I don’t know how many of you have been really hungry? how many have fasted for an extended time? you basically become stupid as your brain seems to slow down and the ability to think is diminished. I close with these harrowing words…
“the disease of those who are starving, namely hunger, is a terrible form of suffering. hunger is the most severe of human maladies, the very worst kind of death. The other hazards to human life do not involve extended torment; where in the case of death by the sword, which brings about a swift end, or roaring flames which swiftly extinguish life, or wild beasts, the tear one limb from limb with their teeth, the interval of suffering is relatively brief. but starvation prolongs the pain and draws out the agony so that sickness is ensconced and lurks within the body, while death is ever present yet ever delayed. The body becomes dehydrated, its temperature drops, its bulk dwindles, its strength wastes away. skin clings to bonne like a spiders web. the flesh loses its natural coloration; its ruddiness fades as the flow of blood decreases, while the alabaster of the skin turns discolored and dark. the body takes on a mottled hue, with yellow and black patches mingling in a manner terrible to see. the knees can no longer support the weight of the body but are forced to drag along behind. the voice grows weak and feeble. the eyes become diseased and are rendered useless, sunken in the sockets like fruits that shrivel up in their skins. the belly is empty, shrunken to nothing, possessing neither girth nor the natural tone of the bowels so that the bones of the spine are visible from the front.”
how many torments does the one who neglects such a body deserve? what extreme of cruelty does such a person not surpass?
I am not sure what the creator of the universe is asking me to do, but this book has not been fun, nor happy to read. it has asked questions about the use of my time and resources and asked, “are you going to waste any more time? or help? are you going to try to accumulate much and then help? or just to help and watch me give you all you need?”
I have seen and heard tales of kids where despite being technically alive, the doctors say, “there is nothing we can do to save this kid…he is too far gone.”
when I look at our developed world, I am seeing a starvation of a different sort where people are not feeding their insides…rather, just concentrating on looking perfect.
perhaps that is where my perspective of looking at things comes across as a bit different than most. walking out the time on this planet and trying and doing so many different things simply gives one a broader and narrower perspective on issues.
I mean in the west, we are slowly killing ourselves with processed food, an amazing amount of choices, instant gratification and the “we have a pill to cure the symptoms of any pain!” (but in the disclaimer – does nothing for the root issue that should be addressed)
in the 3rd world, there are people eating mud pies today, some are too far gone for any doctor to save, and they are happy if they know there is enough for their next meal this day.
there already is enough for all on the planet, it is just that man has created a skewed distribution system. it doesn’t solve the issue of physical or internal hunger – no matter where you are on the planet if we keep holding on to the same models and simply don’t bring some element of social justice in – and take off the cake frosting and veneer or simply talking about it.
did I ever in my life think I would ponder such issues or problems? truthfully. No. I never did. then again, I never thought something written 1,700 years ago would have me think, “we really haven’t changed all that much, have we?”
it doesn’t mean I will give up trying for that elusive place where form and function intersect. :o)