It’s a Matter of Choice.

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To accompany this recent reflection on purpose I wanted to stray into the arena of choice because purpose and choice have a strange and strained relationship.

You see, purpose in some ways intends for there a set path before us, one that either is given or is created through hard work and dedication. This purpose, be it predestined or manifested creates a dilemma, if we have the path, how could we stray from it, the forks in the road only highlight the false potential of different choice made and different purpose held. If we have what appears to be this true purpose, the choice though apparent is no more than an exercise in false wills because we would never deviate from the path set out before us.

We like choice, or thinking about having choices. It is a luxury of growing up in our time period. Seemingly limitless sets of possibilities unfurl themselves before us, giving us options and opportunities we never knew we had in the hopes that each one will be taken, all roads followed and new roads paved.  Choice comes with a burden of unknowing.  If there is no destination in sight, our hearts hesitate for we do not want to make the wrong choice. To go down the path that leads us astray and lose our most precious resource, time, to the follies of circumstance or indecision.

It’s hard to balance these things, purpose, and choice because it is a matter of belief in how much autonomy we actually have.  It’s these two things that I fight over regularly.  There is a belief in me, coming from ancestors and culture that anyone can be anything, work towards the dream and accomplish what they put their mind to.  This is juxtaposed with the knowledge that people don’t necessarily do that, some people can’t be singers, artists, powerful businessmen. It’s as if our world has to be asymmetric. If there is a winner, there has to be a loser. If someone gets first place, most likely there a second or third. What happens to those people, it’s ridiculous to say that they simply wanted it less, that in their heart of hearts chose to not go to the top. What of choice then? Is it but a game where the rules are defined by the resources accrued and given from birth.  How far we can go, no more of an option of the great limitations erected by time and self-belief. Is this world just the chaos of people running through this maze hoping to find the center and be happy?

As for purpose, it holds that darker reality to be true.  That some people are meant to not succeed.  It elevates and exasperates, instead of being subjected to the will and desire of power or person whom may hold dominion over us.  It’s hard to stomach, that our lives may not have these paths to follow but are more akin to a track which shows us the world but never lets us deviate to explore it. This can be a freeing feeling though, that your life is always going to some other destination that you are always where you are meant to be.  It allows for us to feel and believe that the problems of today are only a part of the journey and the decisions that are made were suppose to be that way.  Though this disposition usually only works when times are well. The great problem of evil is that everything happens with a purpose and bad things happen to good people with no benefit, at which point should we follow this divine power who seems to act in ways we cannot understand to ends we cannot comprehend. What happens to those who are made to suffer their whole lives, never knowing truth or happiness? What happens when destiny forsakes us and dreams?

The reason that this is so problematic for me is that ideologies clash, but don’t always overlap.  We will always make choices regardless of what fate may have in store for us. As a psychologist, my whole ideology is that I can predict peoples live’s if only I had enough knowledge and data, but with that, it can change the path of those to come after into something better.

Can we really be all that we want to be? I have to believe that perhaps I do have more choice or greater purpose. That in the darkness, it is not the end but a chance to change. A freedom to start anew, be whom I envision for myself, and find my way back home.

Time Slip

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The only wasted experience is one you don’t learn from.

I have been saying that to myself a lot lately, especially because of the constant chiming of “what is your purpose” keeps me thinking in during the quiet moments. It’s summer now, but an adult summer, where the illusion of more free time is in conflict with the persistent regular work schedule.  I have fallen prey to this belief, that since I am back in school, I would reclaim those precious summer moments that I adore.  This has lead to this drop in motivation and drive in the hopes of a chance to breathe from the incredulous amount of work required for this program. So what happens, time slips away from me as I meander through the day, hoping for lightning to strike and feel okay again.

So again, what is my purpose right now? What is it that will fuel me to walk up that hill over and over again like the Sisyphusian task it is.  The drive forward is like a marathon, the road stretches outward, and the mile markers are there but until I get close enough to see finish line my legs will still ache for home.

It feels like a promise from my past to my future self, one I know I will be thankful for keeping but ultimately my present self is doing all the work.  So I find myself, sitting, losing this time because my mind needs a break but needing to push forward to prove that I can do it. That my time here is worthwhile. That at the end of the day I have something to speak for.

That’s harder said than done.  Some mornings I wake up in a daze, as if I have pushed to the end and my mind is empty. I can’t do anything at all because everything just seems too distracting.  I sit in my chair, the empty keyboard taunting me, hoping and praying that my fingers find the key and I can keep moving forward.

I’m slipping through time, losing it as a move forward. I need it though because time is the only thing that will save me from this era of discontent. What will I learn from this, and will it all be worth it?

King of the Mountain of Ash and Dust

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Recently I have been thinking about purpose. This strange almost unreconcilable thing that haunts us throughout our lives and yet it feels in some ways we have no ready control of it.  Philosophers of old have taken as many approaches to this purpose as there are trees in a forest. Each person will have this conflict in their lives, and yet what does it mean.

Purpose starts in belief, many religions and ideology will burden us with the purpose to lift our spirits and find a collective purpose beyond one’s self, perhaps into the eternal. Those don’t believe in a higher power thus must burden themselves with purpose, finding and crafting until the mind conforms to it and we feel complete. It’s hard through to reconcile purpose, because if we really were to know, would we spend our whole lives pursuing it to ensure we fulfill it or spend our lives avoiding it, hoping in some way to pursue something greater than what is hoped to achieve.

Then what happens to purpose when we die. What exactly do we leave behind us when we’re gone, a cloud of dust, an empty space, a memory.   What lives on it is not part of us but what others choose to carry on their own journey. Do we impart this purpose onto the next generation? Does this transference of ourselves carry forward infinitely? Is this what memory is, a collective of generations before, attempting to pass themselves forward in the future in neural electrostatic. I don’t think we can ever know, but we still try as hope that maybe we can live on through that forever.

But giving someone a memory is not like giving someone a fruit, it’s more akin to giving someone the idea of a what fruit is. This interpretation is colored only by the personal experience of the receiver, ever-changing as it passes from hand to hand.  Like a long game of telephone, how long will it be until we become distorted and become something we are not. We can’t take this with us, and we can’t pass it on where does this leave our purpose.

We all want to know so I think a great many us desire to leave a mark on this world, our own personal scratch that cries out, here I am, I existed, this is proof.  I think we all see ourselves as something greater, something unique, something in wanting. Maybe it is the human curse, of living long and knowing one’s self that our mind needs to reconcile our time and the inevitable void that comes hereafter. We are then all kings of mountains of things, memories and moments that collect and carry with us in our lives. Mountains that for once we are gone return to nothing but ash and dust blowing away bit by bit to become something new.