A friend of mine recently began a blog in which he reviews films on a regularly basis. Although we’re into different genres of film, but basically I bug him for all the must-see movies and classics. And you will not be disappointed because his taste and knowledge in film are UNPARALLELED BY ANY OTHER. :D Therefore, be sure to check it out!
Is there another way to live? Outside of the system?
Must we climb the social ladder, attain financial security, continue to advance until we’re structurally positioned at a higher place?
Sometimes I am baffled, and I just feel so numb…and I don’t know what to do, or what to think. I mean, isn’t there a better way to live? An alternative way? I don’t need a life of luxury, I don’t need a life of fame, reputation, riches, or a starlit career. I just want a decent enough life where I get to be myself, and free.
Am I being overly idealistic? Unrealistic? Picky? Stubborn? I don’t know. Maybe I am.
Am I the only one who feel this way?
I want to create something of my own, rather than chase after a job, a title, or a better life. But it’s easier said than done. To survive in this society, you need money. I guess it all comes down to that.
Why does it always come down to that?
Why do we continue to live this life? Consent to this life? Don’t we want more than this? Don’t we deserve more than this? Why money? Why is it the only currency that will allow us to exist in this world? Why do we think it’s normal, and okay, for ourselves to exist on the basis of coin, allow ourselves to be valued in terms of numbers?
Is everything about numbers? Isn’t there a better way to live?
I want to find it, but it’s much harder than the traditional–”get a job, and work your way up” kind of path–isn’t it?
Do you need to be a genius to create something of your own and profit from it?
Why does it always come down to money!?
God. We can’t do this, we can’t do that, because how do we do what we want to do, if we don’t have enough money first?
I guess we all need to do what’s necessary. We surrender to the system, whether it be a conscious choice, or we’re just caught up in the current.
Or do we?
Notes from ”God: A Story of Revelation” by Deepak Chopra
“I am the Lord Thy God”
Job’s God from the Old Testament is an all-powerful, wrathful, and punishing deity that cannot be questioned or understood. Good fortunes occur at random, and so do misery. There is no pattern to this God–or rather, it is not a pattern humans are capable of perceiving. God just is, and God sees more into you than you see into yourself with your unaided, limited human vision. This God operates on fear, unpredictability, and ultimately chaos.
The tale of Job’s suffering calls for surrender, which is “necessary on the path (29).” The things Job loses are worldly possessions (wealth, social status, a secure family) and are irrelevant in the ultimate search to find God. One needs no materialistic goods to spiritually connect with God.
Ancient Greece has many gods, but Socrates’s teachings reveal little about religion. Instead, he teaches, of course, philosophy–a way of life. An attitude defined by constantly seeking, questioning and exploring. Socrates sheds light to common mind; his way is the key to self-awareness and open-mindedness. Instead of seeking to know all the answers, seek to ask more questions, for it is in the process of questioning that we are able to get a glimpse of our reality, our world, our universe.
The tale of Socrates is one of rhetoric and logic. His tale inspires us to look within ourselves to find the inner truth, that ‘human nature is capable of reaching God without dogma, authority, and fear (60).” To reach God, seek within thyself, and find him there.
“I Am the Light of the World”
Saint Paul’s world is one marked by miracles and martyrdom. He speaks of a God who is all-powerful and all-loving, and instead of fearing God, one should always love God. He demands the world to accept Jesus’ resurrection, to accept a world that is no longer bound by natural laws–hence the miracles. Despite the official oppression, miracles flourished, and that is why the “new religion spread like wildfire (78).” St. Paul’s God is wondrous, mysterious, and protects his sincere followers with divine intervention and extraordinary powers.
The tale of St. Paul is one of miraculous wonders; it is one of survival against all odds–under the protection and love of God. His story tells us to have faith in God’s power and God’s love, and it tells us to find a higher consciousness and look beyond the rational mind to find grader truths that make our lives worth living.
“Life Is a Dream”
Shankara asserts that life is a dream–once we wake up from it, we will realize and understand its unreality. Shankara’s God is the all-encompassing, totality of experience that is both unique and universal. Our experience is produced by our mind, our consciousness, and it is our ignorance that prevents us from seeing the light. He teaches us to master our dreams, to master our experiences and to become the author of our lives. That is the true path of awakening.
The tale of Shankara dissolves God–and “removes the self-centred belief that the deity must look and act like a human being (112).” It inspires to search for a new existence and transcend our own lives through mastering our minds. “The only certainty is that God has more faces to show. Matters are not settled by by any means (112).”
“Come with Me, My Beloved”
Rumi’s God is a personal God “who is approached with love and devotion (139).” The act of worship becomes “all-consuming” and “a search to the edge of madness (134).” Through his poetry, he expresses a violent yearning for bliss through the union with God. His relationship with God is one of intense loving, and his words have an appeal that speak to the universal which amplifies the personal. His writing is trance-like, dreamy and emotional. His path to God is both spontaneous and expressive.
The tale of Rumi shows us his abrupt awakening upon meeting Shams. Their friendship lasted less than a year, and Rumi is heartbroken by his violent departure. Rumi lingers at the edge of society, challenging the rational. Despite his seemingly crazy ways, his poetic ourbursts are loved by the people. For Rumi, “the divine is a feeling in the heart that expands into all consuming bliss (139).”
As I am nearing the end of my sixteen years of public education, I become aware of how shackled I have become, how crippled I have been for the past sixteen years. It’s made me afraid to try new things, to spend time to do what I love. It’s deprived me of many things. It’s made me tired.
I am always so concerned with academics. I’m exhausted. I’m tired of keeping up with my readings. I’m tired of engaging everything critically. I’m tired of thinking and analyzing. I’m tired of listening to lecture after lecture. I’m tired. I’m tired of school.
This is not to say I find public education entirely unworthy of my efforts, nor am I suggesting that it is a complete waste of time. It’s not. Going through four years of university has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. It’s made me a better thinker, a better intellectual. It’s given me a perspective. I view the world so much differently than I did four years ago. I have gained both knowledge and wisdom, despite certain rigidities and glitches within the education system. I have grown, both as an individual and scholar. I will not have become the person I am today without going through university. I am grateful for that growth. I’m grateful for that experience.
I do think sixteen years of public education is too much. You get to choose your own specializations once you enter post-secondary, but grade school? Twelve years of grade school is simply too much. It’s too standardized and it’s too slow. Why must we go through so much schooling before we “start our life”? Do we need all those years of school to succeed in life? The answer is obviously no, but the way our society is structured does now allow a middle school or high school drop out to succeed. The society expects and the society judges. That’s the way things are. A diploma is not just a piece of paper. It’s a piece of paper that decides how much you’re worth. People may not admit it but they will judge, they will discriminate and they will condescend based on someone’s education.
It’s unfair. Our world puts too much emphasis on the accumulation of knowledge to deem one’s worth. It’s all about how well you speak and how well you contextualize. It’s about how you dress and how you present yourself. It’s about how well you can network and how well you can manipulate. Is there such a thing as honest success? Maybe. But I’ll bet it’s rare, and it’s improbable. No. If one wants to succeed in the world one must deal with people. And everybody lies; that’s the truth.
Our society is superficial. It’s inevitable and it’s harmful, because to succeed, we must cater to the image of success. We must aspire to become someone who inspires success, who looks successful to succeed. We learn to hide ourselves. We learn to act professional. We learn to deal with people of all kinds. We learn to squeeze our way into a business, a job, an opening so we can succeed. We must be part of the system to thrive in the system, no?
There is a system to things. There is a system to life. We are born, we have a few years of innocence, we go to school, we graduate, we get a job, we marry, we have kids, we retire, and we die. Life is formulaic because our society is formulaic. That’s the way the system functions. It does not allow anomalies. It does not allow difference because it is hierarchical. There has to be sameness for there to be structure. And we are all part of this structure. We are socialized into this structure, we are indoctrinated with norms and values of this particular structure so we can conform and perform our functions in our society. We must stay within the norms.
We must obey the system because our resources are limited. There is nothing to support our dreams unless you have already got the means. So we go to school. We get a job. We work. To gain financial stability. We work, and try to find happiness.
Education. It’s all part of the system. It has its benefits, there’s no denying that. But it’s so mechanical. It’s so alien. It’s so boring. It’s so…limiting.
Is it worth it? Is it really worth sixteen or so years of our life? Why is it something we willingly go through? Because everybody is doing it and that’s the way it’s always been done?
There has to be a better reason than that.