Becoming Human

The eye is to observe
The mind to reason
The heart to understand
The life to be experienced
And the Voice is to express and be heard
~Mikavelli~

The modern world has constructed a reality of so-called “normality”, but being a social construct, the definition of “normal” should be ever-changing. However, in this day of fear and conformity, of precaution and preventative measures, the definition of “normal” is unyielding. There are, on the other hand, non-conformists out there who choose to challenge the regimes and boundaries of limitations set by a world trying to maintain afloat in this dog-eat-dog world.

These are the radicals.

Yet to the detriment of dreamers, the word “radical” too, has been associated with great negativity in this era. “Radicals” are supposedly the ones representing intense religious movements; “radicals” are supposedly the ones who force their definition of morality on the people of their reality; “radicals”, in every sense of this generation’s definition, can only (sadly) be used with a pinch of salt.

It is to this that I attribute the greatest challenge to the modern regime – definitions. If normalcy is a social construct, and radicalism has been understood as social destruction, then anything which defies the edifice of modernity (or post-modernity) is thus deemed “abnormal”, “paranormal” or “supernatural”.

Nonetheless, what if these “abnormal” traits and abilities that people have are no more than back-to-basics – of conforming to human nature rather than social construct? Of living rather than merely existing? Of being rather than performing? Those who are in touch with themselves and have life experience to carry forth into the real world are often faced with the challenge of knowing when to conform, and when to defy. The sad truth, however, is that the elements in which humans were naturally born with – the ability to swim as a baby, having an intuition, trusting vibes and gut feelings, sensing others’ presence – all of these innate human abilities have been eradicated by definitions, rationale and logic. Yet, the irony is that these definitions and so-called “logic” are all but rational.

“Logic” cannot be an absolute truth unless both ends of the spectrum are taken into account and analysed – but the attributes of human nature are often destroyed or underestimated by the human definition of logic and reason. But logic can be interpreted and deduced: true logic lies in knowing that not everything is black or white, and that not everything in life is a “model answer.” This is much like what Aristotle had said that “The law is reason free from passion.”

By interpretation, Aristotle argues that in order to rule mankind, one must thus eliminate any form of passion – any form of emotion, feeling, or “abstracts” in one’s mind. This is evidenced in any capitalist society, and being the capitalist era we live in, money is the universal language everyone understands, which then determines success as financial power; accordingly, the “cause” behind all success is the ability to shut off human emotion, defy human nature, and live a passionless and meaningless life.

This, according to modern society, is the most secure survival method, and to revert to human nature and defy those who walk away from it is called “breaking the law” and “becoming radical”.

The paradoxes and harshness of reality leave most at a standstill: at any given point in life, absolutely anyone can have a certain amount of power to make a difference – but standing alone and fighting for what you believe is draining and tedious. Very few withstand the shrapnel and shards of broken glass that conformists swing at them while trying to shape and mould a “model citizen”, but the ones who do (and can) are ultimately the non-conformists. The radicals.

The ones who change the world.

The ones who society calls “antisocial”, “delusional”, “crazy”, “emotionally unstable”, and so forth.

The ones with a power so intense that conformists who recognize it try their hardest to suppress and fight; to water-down and abridge.

We are the radicals. We bear the responsibility of the rest of the world simply on the premise that we are able. But the world is not ready, and brilliant ideas always take the longest time to manifest into reality for they are waiting for the world to be ready.

To be radical, use:

Voice JPG

Stability and Solidity

You spend your twenties believing that you’re bulletproof. ~Moby~

The cycle of cognitive development can be a predictable one: as children, we are curious about the greater world, wanting to know a little bit about everything. We have little to no experience in life, and haven’t made enough mistakes to understand consequences. As teenagers, we strive for freedom and try to break free from all that constrains our perceived liberty. It is a phase in life when we feel entitled and complacent, a time when we can argue with a rationale warped to fit our desires, and a time when adults let our immaturity slide because they understand we have to experience it.

Then comes the start of independent living: your twenties. This is the phase when one realizes the immaturity of what was thought to be, as a teenager, the most brilliant or scintillating of ideas. When one looks back two years, four years, or even ten years, everything that was once believable as a teenager is suddenly impertinent to one’s physical (not perceived) reality. Everything you believed – every fantasy, every dream, every construction, every version of the future – is merely reflection of a modern fairy-tale.

The modern fairy-tale: that version of a life you spend a decade of your existence romanticizing – everything that you want to do after college – to work or to study, to experience or to define, to attempt or to decide. All these questions run through one’s mind simply because each day inspires new possibilities. It is in this phase of cognitive development where one is perfectly capable of differentiating between rationale and desire, yet may not have that worn-and-torn life experience called “cynicism” to deter an attempt at making a dream come true. This, however, differs subjectively based on the approach in which one uses to render this romanticized fantasy a reality, but ultimately, humans work with what is known: and where knowledge is lacking, experience is needed. Thus, being in one’s mid-twenties in the twenty-first century first world has offered vast opportunities and ways to actually live, and not merely exist.

Being in one’s twenties is supposedly the best time to gain experience, but this definition of “experience” merely pertains to the “experiences” that you choose, not the ones that are thrust upon you from your childhood. By this reasoning, “experience” is not limited to age: children and teenagers can easily go through just as much (if not more) than adults, and after one’s twenties, experience does not cease to be gained simply because one “grows” or (at times) matures. “Experience” does not simply mean “something that happens in life,” it refers to what is gained or lost from the “happening” or “occurrence.” Conversely, as experiences are subjective, one of the biggest mistakes many parents make when raising children is putting the child into a similar situation in hopes of determining the child’s experience. The experience is not a mistake – manipulating the variables in such a way is, because it is a common misconception that one can repeat or reconstruct a certain experience.

Experiences are meant to be had, not explained.

Gaining experience and living an “exciting” life depends on one’s personal definition of the words but also the approach one takes in reaching the optimized goal. To some, “excitement” and experience come from travelling the world, from exploring and understanding cultures and societies; to others, stimulation or excitement come from doing what one loves, and loving what one does. Furthermore, some regard experience as the amount of pain and suffering one has to endure in order to develop resilience. When one reaches their twenties, the two priorities in life suddenly become “stability” and “solidity,” and these can involve any category in life. Stability refers to career, finances and relationships; solidity to self, friendships and family. The common misconception is that living an exciting life doesn’t entail stability – again, this depends on one’s personal definition of “excitement.” There are times, however, when stability has to be sacrificed in order to gain solidity, and vice versa, but this is not an ultimatum. If sacrifices are inevitable, though, they are based on one’s personal definitions of “excitement” and “happiness,” combined with the goal one hopes to achieve.

To those who deem “excitement” as world travel, stability is not necessarily a component, but solidity is – solidity in finding one’s self, in cherishing and building solid friendships, and for many, establishing a firm basis with family now that one is old enough to communicate without being patronized. To those who deem their everyday life as excitement may entail, at times, losing a sense of self to complement the chosen path, only to find one’s way back to solidity. To those who intentionally take the toughest route in hopes of growing back stronger, who absuse “pain” as a method of gaining experience, may work for some but not all. This methodology may work for those who trust that their support network is strong enough when they need to recover from the “battle,” but if the support network was that strong to begin with, then why take the route of masochism in the first place?

Every mistake is an experience, but no experience is a mistake.

Nonetheless, each individual takes a different approach towards achieving their perceived definition of happiness in starting a journey of a “life of fulfilment.” Whatever the definition, priority or goal, the ultimate enrichment, experience and enlightenment comes from one’s own chosen path – mistakes and failures, accomplishments and achievements – thus, stability comes from routine, practice and habit. It is a lifestyle which can only be achieved with a certain amount of sacrifice along the way – that sacrifice being the risk of occasional boredom, lack of stimulation or simple mundanity which constrains one’s inspiration; conversely, this small sacrifice in the beginning leads to equanimity in the long-run. Boredom and apathy are fleeting states of mind, but stability is the concrete foundation which only paves way for taller and stronger skyscrapers. Solidity, on the other hand, refers to the strength, integrity and self-assurance it takes to exist as an individual entity without the co-dependent need for a crutch. Although the paradox is that humans are reflections of other humans, the actual human experience – existence, living and being – are had by oneself. Hence, solidity comes from the ability to be, and to live comfortably in one’s own shoes.

It takes true strength to admit weakness and wisdom to admit folly.

 

Mistakes

Passion Colours Everything

When passion colors everything
The songs I sing, from way out there to deep within
The face I wear behind my grin
The price I’ve paid for my original sin
Everything.
~Poets of the Fall~

Passion, that’s all there is to it. No more, no less.

One can talk about absolutely anything they want, regardless of the category or topic, but what matters is the presentation – how the ideas are constructed and delivered. Many mistake passionate people for “pretentious” and “elitist,” and though at times we may appear to be so, it is no more than a superficial interpretation of a “persona.” In reality, if the content of each conjecture could be heard and understood, any conversation can expand and become something bigger, greater. Abstract conversations are not limited to the “elitist” but rather they attract Passion. Passion does not necessarily entail having a broad range of knowledge or research. It does not mean only understanding one category of knowledge and compartmentalising conversations: passion is being able to talk about anything, even with limited knowledge, because it comes from the heart. It is real, and though passionate people often mask their passions with heavy diction and academic language, it is merely a front to defend the vulnerability of the “heart” and its corresponding  “emotions.”

Ideas and thoughts are intangible, but expressing them in ways that are tangible is like watching abstracts manifest into something concrete, allowing them to sink into reality and become a part of our essence of existence. Tangible expressions – written or spoken – make their mark in history and whether or not they become revolutionary in a macro scale, still stand to make a difference: they make a difference to how another may perceive an idea, and if one is equally passionate, that passion then becomes inspiration and blooms into something bigger. As these conjectures come together and formulate into a larger reality, they become a theory, which can be analysed and discussed.

Passionate people often migrate together and exist in a world of their own construction: this is not to say that passion is only fueled by the existence of others’, rather when passion is combined it explodes into a beautiful spectrum of colours. When one has passion suppressed into the subconscious, being surrounded by others who share the same passions can render a dynamitic effect whereby each strand of inspiration becomes a concoction of theories and definitions. The beauty of theory is that it can be interpreted as subjectively as desired, and only strengthened by facts and evidence. An opinion is meaningless without a firm basis.

Theorising with a group of people enables one to expand horizons and develop new perspectives, but solitude renders introspection. Passion is appreciating ones own thoughts, allowing them to grow, and thus embracing the moments where introspection and expression collide and meet halfway. Passion is motivation, it is inspiration, and it is tangible if you know how to reach for it. Sometimes inspiration takes the shape and form of a book or a quote; other times it takes the form of a song or a smile, but passion is the most beautiful when it takes the shape of another being – another human entity.

That moment when she’s sitting right across from you and your eye meets hers, that’s when you feel it. That’s when you’ve incepted her into your reality.

And in that moment, you start to wonder if you are ready for this intensity, this impact. At first, it’s exhilarating and scary, then it solidifies and becomes less volatile. For once, it is almost like watching Passion stare you in the face screaming “you’ve reached it.”

Then all that is left is infinity: an infinity of ideas and possibilities.

What if you 
Could wish me away 
What if you 
Spoke those words today 
I wonder if you’d miss me…
~Joshua Radin~