Where is the happiness in the world these days? Where is the contentment? Where are the morale influencing, heart-warming stories, where people are portrayed as they mostly are - considerate to the feelings of others? I must admit I very rarely come across such sentiments. They are certainly not in the tabloids I visit on a daily basis. Or is it that I'm focusing on all that is bad - all that is considered newsworthy, being sufficiently controversial in nature to make its presence felt, thereby the complete antithesis of anything remotely spiritually uplifting? Maybe I purposely seek out propaganda - vilification - demonising to satisfy some innate disposition I hold? Could it be I am seeking scapegoats for my own failings? Am I then feeding the darker aspects of my own psyche, empowering them, enabling them? Could they eventually be of such presence they take over my reasoning completely, leaving me to be nothing more than an embittered and lonely old man? There is more to this than meets the eye ... far more ...
The 'Rat Race'? I didn't make up the term - blameless here. What can we derive from its composition? 'Rat'? Why use such an analogy? Could it be we have similar traits - will eat our own if needs be? And the 'Race', reference? Is this referring to the cut-throat progress of our daily lives, being a competition on many fronts? It appears to be so. In other words we are inclined to compete for all things all of the time, whether we are openly aware of it or not. Some would no-doubt spit out the word 'Capitalism' at this juncture, but my own hypothesis is far more involved, it being one based on 'Survival of the Species', in that we are simply built this way, right down to a cellular level. Therefore, you are going to get injustice in this world whether you like it or not - it goes with the territory - our inhumanity is on display 24 / 7. Of course, on the other side of the coin, you will come across magnanimity of monumental proportions - humanity in all its glory, gratefully interspersed amongst the wrongdoing. I suppose the problem I have is that either can be false in its application - being a means to an end for the devious living among us. There is a lot of falsehood going on and there always has been.
You should have picked up the general vibe here with my attitude to the good or the bad, it being my obvious cynicism. Do I need to change my attitude is the thing or is to be so cautious a far more practical approach to life in general these days - a worthwhile, protective measure to adopt?
Cars rushing by - roads clogged up - impatient drivers all around. It wasn't always like this. Cars are a modern phenomenon so shouldn't carry much weight with regard to how the human race is progressing - comparing one to the other, but is this really the case? You can tell so much from each and every motor vehicle on the public highway, from the boy racer models - complete with raucous exhaust notes and loud music - to the sedately driven, family friendly estate. They are each reflections of the person inside - are they not? So what can we derive from simply driving to the shops and back? One thing is for sure - as far as the UK is concerned anyway - and that is the roads are becoming increasingly congested, also tempers are shortening and prices are rising. In other words motoring is a public display of how everyday life is evolving - there are so many more of us - we are becoming very intolerant and the bills are piling up. Rising stress levels are in the air as a result and becoming thicker by the day. You could consider this in a similar manner to rising CO2 levels and the apparent temperature rise associated with it. Maybe we are reaching boiling point in more ways than one! Are we all on a road to nowhere - a dead end - one we will eventually crash into? Is this what the future holds unless we change course at some point or other?
Are we not like ants, scuttling here and there? I suppose we are in a way - but ants tend to have focus, to know their purpose in life. Maybe we are more akin to chickens then - headless chickens at that, running around with no idea why we do as we do? Yes, I should think the latter is a far more accurate appraisal for most of us? Why is this? Is it because by moving away from primitivity we have lost sight of who we are - from whence we have come? With all - ants, chickens and human beings, there is an intrinsic connection - a strong bond between all life in fact, that being - we are all created from cells, thereby we all behave similarly to a certain extent. Wiki can back me up here ...
"The cell (from Latin cella, meaning "small room") is the basic structural, functional, and biological unit of all known living organisms. A cell is the smallest unit of life. Cells are often called the "building blocks of life". "
I have made a vague reference to the construction of 'The Haven' above - what its foundations could be. A place to re-establish your links to the battery recharging terminals of life itself. This is a grandiose description of something currently all around us, but taken for granted by so many. Thankfully we have lots of it still left, though it is becoming less each and every day. The developers of the future might not even bother including but a smidgen of it - after all space is becoming a premium - if you can't build out then up is the only other way, though I hope this is not the case. It calms my troubled mind by simply imagining being in close proximity to its healing ways - the smells, sights, sounds - the overall ambience resetting pathways in my brain - pathways to various worries and concerns effectively switched off as a result. It never fails in this regard - one way or another it makes me change direction - to put things in perspective - to rethink a problem and to find some inner peace.
I once watched a video of a preacher pointing out the chaos all around. The point he was trying to make was lost on me as to my mind the chaos simply didn't exist. Why did I hold such a conflicting thought? Goes like this: how is everything constructed - and I mean EVERYTHING? There is basic attraction - a set standard throughout. On an atomic level we have the balancing of protons with neutrons, with electrons flying around them at a set distance - the distance of one from the other being governed by quite magical forces. Everything in the known Universe is made in a similar manner, falling under the banner of 'matter'. Like it or not we are all held in check by this omnipotent presence. The mere vagaries of the inconsequential human race is not of any concern to such power and never will be. There is order from the minuscule to the magnificent - no chaos abounds - the preacher was greatly mistaken on this score.
Still, daily chaos in our lives there undoubtedly is - a different sort, admittedly, but chaos nonetheless. Chaos from the time we get up in the morning to the time we hit the sack - chaos after chaos after chaos - chaos with bells on and more besides. Life doesn't come without a lot of trouble and strife. Some people thrive on such pressure, others, not so much. I should think everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or a place to unwind - to visit their 'special place' on occasion. If you don't build in a pressure release valve a heated tank will surely blow at some stage of the game. Seems there are far too many of us blowing their top at inappropriate times. Maybe we should all practice the release of pent up energy for our own and other's good, otherwise one thing only leads to another and a chain reaction occurs. The human race could be considered a stack of cards on pretty rocky footing in a similar vein. What will it take to bring the whole lot crashing down? Not a lot what I can see of it. But, I digress. I'm beginning to get on my hobby horse once again and we all have had enough of that by now I should think.
I could attempt to inject some care and compassion here in an effort to lighten the mood of this piece but my heart wouldn't be in it. Could be then I'm as guilty as any of the journalists I have harangued lately, in that such blatancy would only smack of hypocrisy. By considering such stories as simply not that exciting or newsworthy I have become as complicit in the great big, depressing saga of peddled doom and gloom as they are. Perhaps writing 'good news' is a lost art or one where market forces have effectively removed from the news-stands, there being little demand for them? Could be, though, my eyes avoid them whilst focusing on the headline setters - those more akin to my dark, and somewhat eclectic taste. Is the world in such a mess as the daily papers suggest? Does it really matter? This short story isn't about the daily news but the place far removed from their negative influences. So what about this 'Haven'? Where can it be found and how can someone take advantage of it?
I have made allusions as to our physical construction, mentioning cells and atoms along the way. You should have some idea by now as to how we progress from here - to outline where we all need to go to be revived - back to our roots, by all accounts. If I consider human beings are wrecking the place - abusing the place and have no idea why they are behaving as they do, then what is this 'place' I am referring to? Why should it offer any solace to a troubled mind? Where does its stability come from? How is it free from the madness evinced all around - because madness there is in abundance according to all forms of media. A short history lesson might well help put things in perspective with regard to the self-importance of the smug human race. Less than a blink of an eye would be an understatement as to our time spent on this planet - our involvement in existence itself.
Some big numbers will be flying around here shortly. Let's take our own universe as an example. How old is it? Scientists have the means of calculating its age, believe it or not. They can do this by measuring the mass of the oldest object found within it and by correlating this information with the speed of expansion of the universe itself. It seems just under 14 BILLION YEARS is the accepted answer. Then we come to the age of our own inhabited planet - Earth. Again, they have the means to figure this out too - carbon dating - radiometric dating methods to name just a few. 4.54 BILLION YEARS is where they are with it at present. Let's get on to the nitty gritty - the emphatic point I'm trying to make here: how long have we trundled around on Earth's surface in comparison? Still some pretty impressive numbers to consider, these being: 2 MILLION YEARS if you take our knuckle dragging ancestors into account; Modern Man though - those considered to be how we are today - only 200,000 years. Let's do a little maths: Human Age / Earth's Age = forget it - can't find a calculator capable of working it out. It is 0.000000 ... something or other, barely a moment in evolutionary time. And then we have the mind-boggling conception of the number of other universes and their ages - they simply don't know. Where are we in relation to all this? There isn't a small enough number I can think of or a means of portraying the insignificance of homo-sapians in such an all encompassing vista so I won't even try. But you should have got the point by now - my drift - our self-importance is based on delusion. Does anything we do really matter when you take all this into account?
I've mentioned cells, but how about we consider our body composition with regard to minerals and compounds? What do we find? It appears water - H20 - is by far the most abundant. Some scientists believe all life came from the depths of the ocean and did not begin on land. Whether this is the case or not 60% of our make-up is of the very substance that covers over 70% of the Earth's surface. I feel there could well be a certain affinity between all life and the rolling, tidal conditions which ebb and flow around us on a daily basis. Is it any wonder many head for the coastline when taking a vacation? Is something calling them back - reaching out to them - a need to connect with their long lost past - some primordial need to douse their toes for some reason or a similar need to be just close to its very presence? If so - why? Isn't a vacation a means to revitalise - to refresh - to become re-energised? Is it simply the time off work or a combination of things that achieves this, with those choosing the water's edge instinctively cashing in on the available rejuvenating resources it holds whether they are conscious of its affects or not?
Why don't I spell out a typical 24 hours? One where I become agitated - concerned - ruffled as I invariably do. And one where I eventually spend time in my own personal 'haven', thereby explaining in no uncertain terms what such a place is and where it can be found - not being a mutually exclusive place at all, the aspects of which are available to all. Kinda goes like this: brekkie with coffee - fire up my mac pro - Firefox - Shares Screen (I have some shares on the go) - News Sites. I don't really need to go beyond the last action as all my unrest stems from reading the daily news. By the time I have worked my way through the bile, the duplicitous actions of people who should know better - the poor judgements - the hurt - the sheer stupidity of so many I have reached a point where I am likely to remain for most of the day - fired up and angry - I have become a curmudgeon - a twisted, bitter, grump of a person. Just consider if I wasn't able to balance my demeanour with some soul searching - some prophetic rational - some home-grown philosophy! Doesn't bear thinking about. So how do I reach some peace of mind at literally the end of another anger inducing day?
Believe it or not ALL the content of this essay come story is from my own thoughts - obviously - but not conjured up for the here and now - for this story alone. These are thoughts and conclusions I carry around with me at all times. I use them outside of my 'haven' when the need arises. Putting things in perspective requires alternative viewpoints and I have these aplenty - thankfully. They are my get-out clauses when life become a little too overwhelming - a little too crazy. But to really brush aside certain considerations a trip to my 'haven' is very much required, otherwise my indignation can only be dispelled by my rationale which makes it all the more difficult - a picture can paint a thousand words - literally. I have now made it clear ALL the theorising - facts - biology - science entrapped in my head is called upon at the end of a trying day. 'Spill the beans, for goodness sake! Where is this b******y haven!', I hear you ask. Ok, then - I shall take you there - by the hand if needs be. Let's go ...
Sorry - building your hopes up there. First and foremost I have to expel some energy, which in itself is a part of the process of setting the scene - I need to go for a run, which is as good a means of aligning my mind and body with my ancestral, primitive nature as any. Once my run is out of the way, I have bathed, clothed myself in comfortable clothes and poured myself a glass of something or other with a certain amount of alcoholic content I will be ready to settle down. Wait a while - I will be back soon ...
I wipe down the chair - it has some droplets of water still on it from an earlier shower. Once seated I begin to relax. The neighbours are not kicking up a fuss or causing distraction. There is a slight breeze, which, when I pay attention to the smells held within I can detect an odour of compost and cut grass - someone has been carrying out some gardening - good for them. In time I become aware of birds chirping, finally making out their seemingly busy, happy forms in the lush foliage of the trees adjacent to my property. I swear they are showing off for my purpose alone. I feel a growing rapport taking place within me - a heightened perception regarding all of god's creations be they wild or tame and I look around for more. Cats - dogs - birds of all sizes and shapes - bats - ants - worms - beetles - the place is alive! None of these creatures have the heavy burden of upsetting, rubbishy news on their shoulders. Do they know something I don't? Who is the fool here - those that just live instinctually or those who live intellectually - is intelligence and reason simply excessive baggage? It undoubtedly is so I consider life as they do - slowly coalescing with their innate simplicity - their need to survive and to survive alone and I become less agitated - after-all I AM surviving and have all the essentials of life within easy reach of my finger-tips - I am spoiled for choice and I am eternally grateful.
I sit back and raise my head to look at the sky. Thin clouds are sweeping from left to right - as clouds have done for billions of years. If I continue to stare in time stars would appear, the light from which takes forever to reach us - we only see that which has taken place in a distant past. The idea of the green grass - the Earth itself - beneath my feet and the vast expanse above humbles me - who am I really but something of little consequence - my whole existence done and dusted in no time flat - especially in regard to these ancient colossi? I feel more stress leaving my body as I consider these points and others like it. The bugs - the birds - the cats - the dogs - the trees - the sky - the clouds - the heavens draw me in - I accept that I am a part of the cycle of life, sharing my life force and structure with all of nature and beyond - we are the same. We all sing from the same song sheet of life itself and sometimes it pays to remember this - I am a part of something but not the whole.
I sit and ponder these thoughts and many others like them - they always seek me out when ensconced in my homestead haven - comfortably seated in my little white chair in my back garden. I don't want to throw a spanner in the works but another thought just came to me - could it just be the alcohol causing a state of some delirium? I hope not, otherwise all this rumination is so much wasted time - but, in the great big scheme of things ... no time at all ...