what's the point?

Learning to find real meaning, authenticity and peace in life requires developing some control over over how we use the mind, where we focus our attention. What this means is establishing conscious, staying awake, rather than drift off into the social media daze or the mind's dark cineplex of reconstructed memories, plans for the future. Our lives, we may have heard, do not arise out of a wonderful, exciting narrative laced with inspired goals or memorable missions, where some divinity has established a great purpose for ourselves, our families, our country; our species, like all other species, exists with a preset "purpose" (if we can call it that), which is merely to survive and continue the species on and on, which is hardly an ambition or a particularly worthy goal.

So its our job to make something more of it. We establish some semblance of raison d'etre via our thoughts and actions; rather than reciting the same cultural ideas in our heads that have been implanted by families, schools, tv shows, work place colleagues, it is when we turn off those tape recordings and truly open to what's really available to us, right now, that we establish any significance in our lives; to bring meaning to our days demands our presence. Why? As great existential philosophers from Kierkegaard to Sartre maintained, worthiness and authenticity rests dependent on consciously exercising choices in adult life; when we are driven by habit, the ingrained impulses to be well liked while following in the footsteps of others at all costs means we fail to make decisions—which require being conscious of an array of choices and multiple possibilities in life—and sign off from attaining any meaning for what time we spend in this brief configuration of bones, skin and organs.

Where there is no choice, there is no purpose or authenticity in life; if we stay in circumstances out of financial fear, we exchange lasting substance and value for expediency and false security.

Meanwhile, the rodents that successfully navigate the corporate cubicle maze and are awarded a corner office with a big piece of cheese—their McMansions chew up our suburbs, their boats our waterfront, their glass condos our skyline—do not do so for our benefit; it is in their interest that we remain lost in a trance of craving, acquisition, consumption and more craving, known the circle of samsara. Big money fuels itself from our thirst for meaning, but it establishes a meaning for us falsely, in identity belief born of attaining the lives of the rich and beautiful, as if they will never know old age, sickness, separation, anxiety, confusion, despair. The entire project of capital is to foster a pitiable myth “What We Attain and Acquire = Immunity from Pain = A Purpose for Life"

Its so easy to be mesmerized by the show. The grand project of capital has mobilized and funneled our thirst for a point for it all in enthralling diversions: iGadgets that reproduce the world on little hand held screens; an endless array of movies where we can watch cities explode, circa 9/11, until comic book icons rush to the rescue. We may live in comfort, but the comfort is played out in a domain the size of a laptop screen or smart phone, watching small reproductions of ourselves, waiting for the rewarding spike of dopamine that relieves our stress when this or that post we've shared is well liked; it is through this realm that so many connect with the very touchstone of our salvation, other human beings.

So, what constitutes those fleeting moments when we take the 'red pill' and remove ourselves from the delusional matrix? We arise from the trance only through the layered awareness we can bring to this moment, connecting with other people beyond words and ideas, via touch and glance and proximity, practicing the generosity of offering them our attention and care, no matter how much we'd prefer to return to the alluring glow of the smartphone.

In connecting with real life—its background sounds, its sensations of contact with the earth and air, its feeling of the body and breath—is where we find real worth and opportunity for meaning. The alternative is to live in a maze, starting with birth and ending with death, working our way past the same walls of 'they don't like me when i say or do this' as everyone else, trying to ignore that nagging feeling in the back of the mind that we were given some great opportunity to live, trading it all in for a big piece of cheese.