The blender in my head…
I’ve live pretty deep inside my head. I am continually haunted by the complexities of modern life, and how they may be impacting my reality, assuming there is a reality. That doubt, of my own reality, is the heart of the thing.
On the surface I train clients, check on my mother, text my daughter, and reassure my dog. Underneath all of this, my mind is bombarded by tiny pellets of doubt, all day long, that are slowly deteriorating the shield which protects my rational side. Among my greatest fears is that this shield will parish before I do, leaving the chaos in my head to play unbridled havoc with my mind as I age.
My inner Cartesian has come to appreciate those frantic moments in my life, like when my frozen vegetables fly out of the bag and land all over my floor because I pulled them too quickly from my freezer. That things like this always happen at the worst possible time also serves me well. Those moments snap me out of my doubt, if only for an instant, and halt the existential banter between all the Roys within.
The life within the life…
I regularly entertain the life within the life. I imagine waking from a nap on a summer’s day, my right cheek stuck slightly to the warm concrete beside the swimming pool of my youth. The distant chatter of Marco and Polo awakens me. I am 12 years old, and the life that I have lived since will have been only a dream. Reagan never won. I never married so I never divorced, and the internet was all in my imagination.
Perhaps though, I’ll awaken in an asylum, and not by the pool. My arms tied behind my back, and with a crayon between my toes I write my suicide note on a foam wall. This life I write from right now will have been a peaceful dream, and what lay ahead, a nightmare.
And don’t get me started on my lifetime of chronic bad dreams. Where do I go when I dream…? Is what I do any less real than what I do when I’m awake…? In an active mind, I often feel that the only thing separating my memories of life from my bad dreams are the words memory and dream.
Occasionally I consider that all other people are just extras in an orchestrated game between the gods. I am at the center of their illustrious amusement – just a silver ball in their game of pantheonic pinball. At the end of the game, I wonder, will the gods rise in unison and offer me the ultimate thumbs up or thumbs down, based on how well I performed bouncing off the obstacles they set before me. Ever-present is the feeling I am being watched and judged.
The illusion of conclusion…
Even if I am real, where and how am I real…? Between parallel universes, infinite universes, or an eternal universe where anything that can happen will happen, I find myself right here, right now, and in this glorious life. Although in the quantum world, I’m only probably here, and probably now.
Physicist Brian Greene tells me freewill is only an illusion and suggests that mathematics supports this. The calculations of my future have already been laid out, he says, and that I have no say in my say. However, I don’t steel tips off tabletops in restaurants when nobody is looking, and I don’t push people down the stairs – even when they deserve it. Sounds like free will to me.
Some scientists suggest existence as I know it is some kind of holographic image created in an alternate reality, and is smaller than the tip of a pen. Others say I am slave to the algorithms within a cellular automaton. Just the thought of that has me pining to be a slave building a pyramid, for at least then I would exist in a simpler state.
The idea that some being in another dimension might be administering my every thought and every motion by way of a joystick bubbles under the surface of my daydreaming as I clean my studio. On one hand this appeals to me inasmuch as if it is true, then I am exonerated from all indiscretion and responsibility. However, if I’m not a Sea Monkey in a jar on some extraterrestrial kitchen counter, atonement and responsibility are not only my duty, they are my only hope.
Dog is one of us…
When my eyes lock with my dog I feel love and truth – simultaneously. That emotion is a daily confirmation that I am real. When our eyes break though, I can’t help wondering if my dog is actually an angel sending signals back to God, or an observer sending recommendations back to the mother ship. I wonder the same thing with many of my human contacts too, you who is reading this included.
I flash back to a time in school when I was taunting a special needs kid. My friend Jeff stopped me and said…
“Roy! Don’t tease Milton! What if he’s God and he’s just testing you…?”
Jeff was joking, but I’ve never been able to get that thought out of my head; that anyone else might be God, or a designated representative of the Junta Grande.
The scratch ticket and the interwebs…
I feel guilty for having won the lottery of existence. All my needs are met – exceedingly. I’m able to enjoy and appreciate so much. That I get to make a living doing what I love, and do so in such a beautiful place seems unjust to me, on behalf of those who can’t. I wonder why I’m not a knobby-knee’d Ethiopian child with fly on one eye suckling his mother’s dry tit. Yet I seem to be me, and this seems to be my time and my place – probably.
Living in the internet age has only thrown gasoline on the fire of my doubts. I wonder if this increased connectivity with people and information around the world isn’t just an expanded test by my maker. It makes no sense that I have instant access to most of the much of the knowledge ever attained and so much information, even if it isn’t always accurate.
Are my social media friends and my analog friends truly connections, or are they an audience watching me and trying to influence the way I bounce off the bumpers in the pinball game of my life…? They might just be 7-billion lesser gods.
When I look the grocery clerk, the beggar, or the barista in the eyes, I often wonder if they’re thinking,
“He’s on to us…”
That people so seamlessly merge in and out of my digital and analog lives makes me feel increasingly uneasy.
The known universe is precisely 54 years old…
Let’s assume I am real. I see memes on social media daily that remind me how small and insignificant I am relative to the immensity of the universe. This is bad internet juju in my opinion. I am the only component in the universe that I have absolute dominion over. If ultimate inter-connectivity is inevitable, then the universe can’t fulfill its own destiny if I fail to fulfill mine.
I was dead for nearly 14-billion years before I was born. I’ll be dead again in a decade or two more. I better get this thing right while I’m still here. It’s all pretty overwhelming at times, this work of performance art which I call my life.
At the end of the day, I suppose my reality is simply my choice – my decision to carry forward without worrying too much about any of this. Whether or not I’m a spec in the universe, the center of it, or an organic shuttlecock in game of badminton between gods, so long as standing in nature stirs my heart, and my daughter returns my phone calls, I will choose to act and feel real. I will though, always have my doubts. Be well, and thank you for taking the time… rc
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