The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice. Justice for who? I believe justice can be beneficial or punitive based off of what side of the rope you’re on. I read something yesterday that told me the Catholic Church believes that one should follow their conscience even in the case that what their conscience is saying is contrary to the teachings of scripture. Where does this leave us. At all times unjust things seem to happen to righteous people, but is that because justice is finally calling them to account or is it just a subtle fluctuation in the long arc of the moral universe which subtly bends towards the justice of the individual? What happens to the people that are caught in the middle of that long arc and they find themselves in a hard place and they see no way out except to leave? Can someone have told them that it gets better and shown them the long arc eventually culminating in their happiness? I know I’ve had my dips in life, but the idea that has kept me going is a story I wrote when I was in middle school. It was called “A Better Day”. It more or less consisted of a man whose whole life was going down the drain. In an effort to circumvent all the pain he takes a walk that exceeds the physical boundaries of a tall building’s roof. As he falls his spirit propels itself heavenward. With his fingertips scraping on the cobblestone leading to heaven’s gates he feels fiery chains attach to his ankles and then his torso dragging him down. As he falls what could have been is revealed to him. All his problems, every single one would have been solved the very next day. The depths to which he had sunk would have been flipped and while his world would have been flipped upside down he would’ve found himself on a mountain top compared to the depths of despair he had found himself in. The whole point being that that better day can come at any point no matter how dire the circumstances. The arc of justice is long but maybe sometimes it needs to turn a corner to make up for the diversion its taken in its path.
Sometimes epiphanies aren’t like sudden flashes of light in your mind. Sometimes they can’t even be likened to a light bulb blinking into awareness. Sometimes an epiphany is more similar to the morning as the sun rises. At one moment it’s dark, and in the next there is the faintest aura of awareness that things are taking shape before you. As things dawn on you, you may see things in ways that you could not have seen them in the darkness, and even then you may not be able to acknowledge the gamut of information laid before you, but the first step has been taken. Now that you know you can never say you do not know. You can’t go back into darkness and ignore the wondrous things that were laid bright before your eyes. You can only hope that a better understanding comes as time passes.
Epiphanies aren’t the full answers to your problems, but at the very least, they give a shape to the solution. Your job is to name it.
Anyone Miss Me Yet?
From time to time I check in and find
you’ve taken up space inside my mind
Let’s not even begin to mention the heart
because this is a top down search to start
I read I write I see I hear
I taste I smell, but I wish you were near.
“Why?” is the question you want to ask
but I don’t think I’m really up to the task
I know I enjoy our idle conversation
I’m not even thinking of bridal consideration
I just know that as of this moment now
you make me happy so I don’t need to know how
I’m gonna stop questioning the reason
and hope you are in my life for more than a season
What is this four letter word so seldom appreciated
but so often used. It is something for which we search
the meaning, but disdain the application. People fear
this more than it’s counterpart because this is complicated
and this is short. This is life.
What is this four letter word so seldom spoken
so often felt. What is this word so often abused
so seldom meant. What is this word that means to
give without receipt and to value someone as you
should value yourself. This is love.
Now four letters. One word. Hold it within you.
Let it bring you the peace that the prior words
sometimes chase away. Let it help you find the
purpose behind life and the reason behind love.
A random thought occurred to me the other day. I think we can mostly agree that there is a certain hierarchy to communication in today’s modern world.
Communication can be ranked thusly:
- Face to Face (in person)
- video chat (you can see them and you can hear them)
- Telephone call (you can hear them and the tone of their voice)
- texting (this must be scripted)
- facebook, twitter, random Instant messenger clients
The ranking itself isn’t important even though I don’t think it would be too contentious. What is important is what this means for interpersonal communication. As the years advance and more “convenient” forms of communication are developed and utilized we find ourselves privileging older forms of communication over current more “convenient” forms of communication. For example, I didn’t even mention hand-written letters in the above ranking and it didn’t even occur to me to do so until now, but even if I did, where would it go? Some people might privilege a personal hand-written letter as a more personal touch than a face to face meeting especially considering the hassle that it’s become compared to other forms of communication.
All the same let’s remove those past forms of communication from the equation. The generation I have been raised in, and the generations following me even more so are clearly a texting and social networking generation. But how do you value a text from a person now as opposed to say 10 years ago. I don’t think I actually had a cell phone yet 10 years ago, but the idea is that my first cell phone was mainly used for calling. Texts were a luxury rarely indulged in. Even calling on the phone was a valued calculation of who was going to get your minutes over someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate every text I get because at least someone is making the effort to reach out and contact me, considering how easy it is to alienate ourselves from other people with all this technology around us, but a text now doesn’t require nearly as much sacrifice as it did 10 years ago. I would guess that most people that utilize texting have unlimited text messaging so messages such as “ok” and “yea” are probably more rampant than they were when every single package of data sent out into the ether meant another count against you or an extra 10 cents on your bill. That one text is no longer a representation of a conscious choice to allocate this social/digital capital on someone, but a convenient way to send messages when you don’t necessarily feel like going through the “effort” that is a live conversation.
The only reason I’m writing this out is because I’ve been making an effort to think more, in general. I know that a lot of my thinking has become automatic, but I miss the days where even thinking about my own process was a philosophical journey into my own psyche. Such is childhood, now I return to it to make sure my adulthood is worthy of that thoughtful child.
At another point I looked up at the sky and I saw a massive amount of clouds. A large amount of clouds for Los Angeles at least and I wondered about the past when people used to be able to look up into the sky and see portents of things to come based on little things like the clouds alone. I was looking up into the clouds to see if I would be able to do anything like that and the best I could come up with is, maybe it will rain. Considering the good weather we’ve been having I shrugged it off and thought probably not. Immediately upon returning to my home and entering my room I hear a noise outside. Considering I had just entered the house it took approximately 10 seconds to enter the door and get to my room where I hear what appears to be… rain. Sure enough The world from which I had just been sheltered was being poured upon by a sudden bout of rain, a rain that had seemingly waited for me to get inside to unleash itself. I thought it strange and considered that if the clouds weren’t any type of sign, this occurrence might just be.