…So I’m sitting in a bar with a couple of my mates, and I’m trying to light my cigarette (I used to smoke), but my beloved Zippo lighter was out of fluid. “Those things are too much work. That’s why I always use a Bic lighter.” said one friend. “I’m a match man myself” said the other. Their view was that with a Zippo, you are alway filling it with fluid, or replacing the flint, packing, wick, whatever, and who needs the aggravation.
“Is that match special to you?” I asked, “You won’t use it but once. What about the Bic? When it stops doing what you want it to do, you’ll just toss it out and get another. My Zippo is special because I care for it.”
I don’t smoke anymore, but I still have my Zippo lighter; its special to me, and I keep it.
I find we treat each other like Bics and matches. Everything is disposable now—even our “loves”.
Taylor:…No, you see, you’re looking at this shit all wrong: we don’t create the connection, we’re already connected, dig?
Jack: Yeah I got it.
Taylor: We jus’ gotta realize the connections that are there—always been there. One more time: We are all connected and all one. If I hate you, I do myself a disservice; if I kill you, I kill part of myself.
Jack: And that’s gonna save the world: we get all the world leaders to realize connections and…
Taylor: Hell no. The world leaders can’t see the connections, they’re not built that way—otherwise they would be tryin’ help the world ‘stead of tryin’ to run it. We’d get ourselves killed if we depended on their dumbasses. The important connections are the ones you realize everyday: with your neighbor, the old guy down the street, the kid at the gas station, you know—it keeps goin’ on like that. That’s what’ll save the world.
Jack: My neighbor pisses me off.
Taylor: That’s cause he’s an asshole.
Jack: Let’s play some volleyball.
It’s not about letting go, it’s about breaking free. It’s not about learning what to do, it’s about learning how to see. Your old way clings to you like a frightened savage child. A child that howls and howls when you separate, even for a moment. Step and step, and with each step, the nicotine craving-like anxiety and nausea doubles. Step and step, and you think of turning back. Step again and break free; open your eyes—the new ones—and see; see for the first time in the new life and new light and wonder what all the fuss was about.
So anyways, I met this guy one time, and after brief conversation, he identifies himself as a collector. Naturally I ask him what he collects; collectors collect, and, when they collect, it is usually something or other. He says, in response, “I collect experiences.” Awesome, I tell him; I wanna be a collector too then—definitely. “You all ready are,” he tells me, and I think: cool.
“But are you good at it?” He explains that the world is full of people that aren’t very good at it at all, people that don’t or won’t even own their collections, or take responsibility for them. I don’t know, I reply. I just found out that I was one.
“Its not as easy as it sounds—to be good at it. You really have to put you self out there, you know, to get the good ones; it’s dangerous sometimes.” I can handle it, I thought. I’m tough like that.
You know what? It’s not easy.
So, I think, why can’t I? Why can’t I just be satisfied? Why can’t I just be content and not push? It seems as if it would be ultimately easier—more comfortable. But instead I push.
What is it to push? What is the purpose and underlying motivation? Freedom. There is a natural tendency towards freedom: the freedom we are denied, the freedom we deny ourselves. So then there are obstacles, walls, barriers, and locked doors.
It seems that everything you encounter and interact with is there for and set up in anticipation of the push, even your own internal dialog: the “oh, I shouldn’t do that” thing. Go along to get along. Get with the program. Do as you’re told: reward, punishment, the line and all of the external instructions, motivations, enculturation, and intimidation.
I can’t do it. I won’t. I have to say, though, I cringe at the thought of the next crash—the next bridge all aflame. But if it is called for, if it is necessary, then it will come. There is a war on in the midst of war. The internal struggle and struggles—barriers and burnt bridges. The external war for control looms thereafter.
I look into the crystal blue eyes of fate. I am not alone.
It’s kind of like listening to a semi-hypnotic jam—something you can really groove to, something that takes you. One minute you have perfect awareness and the next you’re just trippin’ on it—not mindlessly—intentionally: deep trippin’ on the jam. You almost feel like you are a part of it, or maybe it’s a part of you.
In one moment of awareness, you want to see just how much a part of it all you really are. So you try to look at yourself in context, but you can’t see yourself—you can feel that you are there but can’t see. Determined, you look for your reflection, but there are no mirrors, just other beings: friends, compatriots, lovers, you got it.
Unable to see yourself, you look at them: the way they move, the way they groove, how they trip. If you look at them enough, and pay close attention to the detail, you begin to see yourself—yourself reflected by others. Just when you are close to truly seeing, the spin, that wonderful awful spin, swings you out of awareness and into a cool-albeit untimely—drift. You’ll get it the next time around—for sure.
It’s like that. Yeah, just like that.
The circles expand and collapse, slowly, rhythmically—a beat. At one extreme, there is just me. At the other I suppose is the world, but I haven’t gotten their yet. All I have seen with my own eyes is a moderate circle of friends and compatriots—at once there and then gone again in the strangest cycle.
Beat and beat and pause. There is a collapse longer than most. Regardless, the expansion will follow, as that is the way of things. Picture an outstretched hand with no fear of rejection. Picture a confidence that is not arrogant or indifferent.
I have heard the beat, the pulse, the rhythm, but this is, if I see truly, the prelude to a new song—the dance will be different. And the difference is everything.