Charles S. McCue III
What does it mean to be awake, and furthermore what do we do with this newly gained understanding reality once we have it? At some point in our lives we all have an experience as some form or another, as if a proverbial miracle or encounter with god that shakes our understanding of reality. These experiences may take many forms and shapes, depending on culture and time, but they all have a common thread. They make us question, and this questioning is the truest form of awakening we can have.
My awakening started early in my life I suppose, the emotional rage that is puberty incidentally coincided with a great disruption in my family, that not only shattered the thin surface of the myth of the nuclear family but utterly devastated it as an earthquake does to a sleeping and unprepared city. I became an orphan of the American dream wandering what I was truly meant for and what other lies were hidden behind the blurred veil society draped over reality. However this experience had a different effect on me than most people, whereas most adolescents today under the onslaught of hormones and a harsher understanding of their reality end their questioning by subscribing to another answer, I did not.
This doesn’t mean however I became paranoid and distrusting of everything or “suddenly” bullshit sensors, it was just the result of an all too common situations had profoundly different philosophical implications for than most. Slowly more and more question popped up about, society, religion, my childhood, my parents, the world, science, and all number of things. I began a soul searching journey for some understanding or system by which to solidify reality. In a sense I was searching for that sense of security my parents once gave, after I quickly discovered how all too human they were.
First I turned to science which intrigued me at first. All these amazing theories and understandings of our physical reality that allowed me to point out gaping holes in the traditional understanding of reality (non-local nature of the sub atomic world, particles only being in one place once observed, etc.), yet an institution of asinine quality seem to rule over science. These people who claimed to be so logical and progressive were really just materialistic and limited. They ultimately turned me away from science and any desire to be a scientist.
Then mythology and religion of all sorts which began to strike my fancy, I studied many cultures and fusions of cultures to maybe find an understanding. They did too. They not only taught me a great amount about the working of societies and my own psyche I inherited from my parent but their truths seemed to be just metaphors for the exact same thing science was saying. I was still felt something was lacking though, until recently I wasn’t blessed with the words to express my problem with both the great metaphors of science and religion.
Now I can and it is one word: DOGMA. No matter how well they seem to understand everything or have a grasp on reality, they all held their ideas to be absolutes science and religion. The institutions and collective consciousness of both groups held onto their ideas as absolutes and unchanging, and as many people can attest this is their problem. Once you hold onto something as absolute forever and always has been you create a Piscean disparity, or fundamental disempowerment to fully experience, understand on some level, and enjoy the wide variety of experiences the human experience has to offer.
That didn’t work for, so once again I moved on. While in truth it was relatively short time period compared to the rest of my teenage years, the fall down the post-modern slope is a terrible and excruciatingly slow one. The year or two leading up too legal adult hood I was plagued a hopelessness and despair. I found meaning in nothing and began to forget to question for if I couldn’t find meaning there was no point in trying to derive it through questions, yet through some miracle or another I pulled through this dark night to see the dawn.
The dawn took the form of another’s writing that struck a strong chord in me. It was of the paradoxical nature of reality, that there are no absolutes including this statement. Not only allowing the possibility of temporary. Because we are humans and only bits of an infinite source we can only experience the world from a limited view point, yet again because we are part of it this understanding will change with time. Even these words are a paradox in which I try to explain something infinite, organic, and transcendent with something so fixed, abstract and broken, yet we must for it is all we can do, except hope to leave our old understanding with as much grace as we accepted and embraced them.
This leads us back to the beginning of my awakening. Eight years of awkwardness and strife to culminate in a philosophical understanding that as along we never stop questioning we are awake. When we begin to provide answers to questions is when we create dogma and misunderstanding of eternal truth seen as recent works such as Mao Ze Dong jumping from Confucian philosophy to communist propaganda in an almost illogical move, but also in great works such as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. While the second is a much more logical conclusion, it is in all conclusions we begin to lose people. This does not lead us to the other extreme of totally futility we can still derive meaning and accomplish something whether it is absolute or not.
My awakening was the ability to question and we must always question no matter what to stay awake…
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