March 13, 2016
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Our human condition. It is our cross which every man must carry if they are to stay true to themselves. It stands as our weakness which debilitates our content attitude within the world. It stands as a roadblock to where we wish to be. It is the box which we are trapped within. How is one to overcome the impossible? It is our life project which most ignore or fail. How is one to paint their own life to represent their own found beliefs and understandings? To mould the clay in the way that we desire it. We are given a vessel, and through that vessel we must first gain control of it in order to get where we want to be.
A mountain climber in the world. Questioning everything that seems strange and unusual. Learning from all that is given and making something new from it. To climb a mountain one must sometimes go down in order to get further up. To realise our follies and learn to transcend them. To accurately make judgements about the world so that we can overcome the problems within the world.
Existing amongst the deaf. How are we to communicate? Are the current desires within our heart possible? If not, how can we transcend them? Are we on the right path? If not, what can reorientate us? A preacher without an audience is ineffective. But what must be overcome is precisely the present - the current struggles. If one desires to move a ball with only their mind, no amount of time may accomplish this. Our priorities must be rearranged and our methods adapted, possibly time and time again. As climbing an unknown mountain, we remain unsure of what we might face. It would be ludicrous to stagnate at a particular stage of the journey - to give up the journey which has so far been travelled. Our aim remains to overcome the road blocks so that we may finish our journey.
To push our boulder up our mountain. It is easier said than done. One has two choices in life. To find a set of beliefs and understandings and follow them, or for one to make their own path. To exist as a member of the herd or to wander away from the herd and act instead of watch. If one chooses the latter, they take the weight of the world on their shoulders by themselves. They become like Atlas, carrying their boulder through the thick and thin of life. Tall overgrowth stands in our way. One has to not only clear it but also bring their enormous cross with them. Their luggage is enough to drive one mad, and if they become mad, their boulder remains. To travel the created road of life existing as a madman carrying a boulder becomes the stray's responsibility.
And what of the madman's loneliness? To choose the otherwise of society's given options leads away from people. To wander off from the herd is to leave the group behind. To make a new path is to travel a lonely road, one where others have not been and will probably not follow. To break free of one's chains ironically chains social relationships. To exist as the philosopher who steps outside of the box is to exist outside of what is comfortable. The weight of the boulder becomes heavier and results as alienation by chasing one's peripheral vision. Relationships will fall and so will its bearer. To take on the road to healing our sickness will result in more closely understanding and experiencing our sickness. To follow the heart to Africa to help the unfortunate will result in experiencing and observing those unfortunate. To find a cure we will first find many failures. For support will be difficult if not impossible to obtain. Is the philosopher not in a Catch-22. For they are damned if they do and they are damned if they do not. For few souls wish to be alone. As Aristotle said, "For without friends, no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods". But for one to carry their cross requires for them to put their highest good before their comforts. To live a life that perfectly paints your journey is to live through that journey.
To be human is to be unhuman. We all exist as subjective beings who perceive the world in slightly different ways. We see things that others cannot, choose not, or have not seen. We are given a conscious awareness and asked what we are to do with it. For most ignore it. Others attempt to study it from an objective point of view, dissociating from it. And the few, speaking of Nietzsche's few, see something that seems out of place that deserves their full attention. As a child might ask, "What is life?", and the adult laughs at them and diverts their question. It is the philosopher that holds on to these questions and refuses to let them drift into the background. To question the human condition is to stand apart from the human. To focus on what makes us human, and what our "condition" is, ironically makes us unhuman. For the human is not to question these things but accept them. Mob mentality becomes the more accurate description of the human, and one is either with them or against them. Those who have strayed from the herd to search for their medicine to combat their condition are seen as the enemy, and thus treated as such.
To mould one's life into who they are is the task of the philosopher. To transcend their own conditions becomes their life goal. To carry their boulder to the top of the mountain is their objective. As Socrates struggled with the concept of knowledge, he articulated his life to question what we really know. As Kierkegaard struggled with anxiety, he poetically drew us a picture systematically analysing its manifestation. As Nietzsche was physically and mentally weak, he composed a symphony of power. We all have reasons why we do the things that we do, but it is the few who dedicate their all to overcome what seems impossible. And ironically, it is from these "nonhumans" that we can truly learn what it means to be a human.
Be yourself. It has been said that someone can be anything that they want to be. That is entirely untrue. We live in a caste system and our choices are limited. Not only that, one who is frightened of blood cannot be a doctor. Nor would one who has a phobia of the telephone work in a call centre. In retrospect, one can only ever be what they are. What we can choose, however, is to what extent we going to explore ourselves. Are we going to ignore the monster in the corner of our eye or investigate it? It is this monster that the philosopher has stared in their own eyes, learning how to defeat. To be astute in life is their objective - to figure out ways to break through the wall in front of them. One will always be who they are (or shall I say become who they are) - the only question that remains is to what degree are you going to be yourself?
The plank in your eye. My question to you my dear reader, what plank is in your eye? I implore you to investigate what it is that you truly see in front of you, as I assure you things are not as you are told they are. Look for the monster in your own life and keep turning your head until you are able to stare it in its eyes. Learn this monster in and out, because it is this monster who is your opponent in life; your life project. Your life mission is to paint your existence the way that you see it, the way that you are and the way that you desire to be - your theme. Anything short of this is a contradiction of the self. To sacrifice the self on account of the world. As Hannah Arendt stated, "Better to be at odds with the whole world than to be at odds with the only one you are forced to live together with when you have left company behind." If you walk away from your destiny, you will be sleeping in the bed you made. As Jesus says in Luke 9:25 (NRSV), "What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?" I will incur and endure my alienation and rejection for the sake of my soul. Will you?