Do you have “free will” or do you simply like monster trucks?

Slap your face!
If it hurts, then you’re rooted in reality.
Or not!
Because these days all reality is subjective and everything is a construct of our imagination and our experiences are merely chemical reactions and we’re plugged into The Matrix and life is meaningless.
Maybe all of that is true!
But whoever slapped my face made it hurt!
Was it me, or was it a temporary manifestation of my other self from a parallel dimension?
Living is tough these days, it’s hard to separate reality from imagination.

And then along comes the Free Will debate as well, lumbering forward like the “Higher Education” Monster Truck!
I don’t think it serves a purpose, but it is entertaining.
It’s a big thing you know! We need to take notice!
It makes a big noise and can crush stuff, but does it serve a purpose?
Don’t know?
You can decide.

Let’s suppose we have no free will.
We do stuff automatically.
Our lives are run by scripted algorithms and predetermined chemical whatnots and thingamabobs.
I’m not a scientist, but that’s apparent from my dismissive attitude towards the “latest studies” about free will.
Because someone studies something the findings have to be true?
Obviously!
When stuff is written in a book it’s also true!
Definitely!
Quoting someone gives you authority to be a guru yourself?

I’m not a complete savage though.
Many scientific advances are overwhelmingly brilliant.
And I can acknowledge that.
But something about this “we don’t have free will” debate seems a tad off.
A few random cool and great people I admire now spring to mind.
Leonardo, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Rembrand, Hendrix, Frank Lloyd Wright, Asimov, Einstein, Turing, Madonna, Hedy Lamarr…
And a thousand others as well— Far too many to mention!

If “they,” those people were merely automated scripts responding to external prompts, chemical stimuli, and whatever else, then I’ll be damned, I want the upgrade to my software!
I want to be able to “automatically” do what they did!

Even If I’m only a delusional creature on “autopilot” I want to be able to build a ship I can pilot to Mars and invent the perpetual motion machine!

[Photo: Owned by JohanyJutras.com]

“Enlightenment” is a flashlight strapped to your head— So what do you “see?”

Enlightenment to me is nothing more than strapping a big light to your forehead and finding your way down an ominously foreboding and altogether nasty little alley.
The stronger your flashlight, the more you see!
It’s going to show you a path and help you to avoid crates, litter, broken bottles, and vomit.
You’ll also be able to see a dead cat and perhaps the odd homeless person near the fire escape.

Naturally, I can’t imagine knowing what “enlightenment” means for each individual.
It remains a personal quest, and personal experience.
I believe “enlightenment” requires a flow of energy, stemming from learning, observation, service, empathy, and understanding— and all of that good stuff flowing towards practicality.
Very often we complicate and obfuscate so many things for ourselves and push it into esoteric realms.
But it’s simple.
You already know your purpose in life— It’s to be alive.
Finding something useful to do gives your life meaning.

Everything else might be extremely interesting and entertaining.
All you read will certainly enrich your perceptions about life, should you choose to learn from it.
If this seems like a reductionist approach to complex issues so be it.
I’ll choose that before I adhere to an additive method of needlessly layering complexity onto everything.

Strap on that light, keep your hands free, you’re going to search for a dingy alley!
Enlightenment won’t be found on the internet, or in shiny shrines dedicated to the gods of retail.
Yes, perhaps you won’t even find enlightenment within the proverbial alley.
Chances are you might find something better, a “changed perspective” inside the absurdly beautiful mess called “life.”
And within that mess, you can choose to help the forlorn guy near the fire escape, because now you’ve “seen” him!

Why is it that traveling doesn’t automatically broaden your horizons?

Did that parcel you sent to Equatorial Guinea miraculously “broaden its horizons?”
Of course not?
It’s just a wooden box containing some or other obscure artifact.

So why would you transform into a better, more enlightened version of yourself if you move your body to another place on the globe?
You won’t change a bit.
Not unless you’re open-minded and receptive to new experiences.

I’ve been on trips with seemingly jaded people who were more concerned with their phones than the spectacular scenery they were exposed to.
Perhaps we can give them some benefit of the doubt.
Maybe they’ve been “there” before.

On every trip, the mind needs to accompany the body.
If you can manage to find something enjoyable within the bland construct of your daily commute imagine how many new worlds will unfold before your eyes— On the day that you take your body someplace new!

It’s easier to leave than to be left behind

It’s easier to leave than to be left behind.”
REM’s melancholy lyrics and melodies flow like good wine.
For a minute you are tempted to romanticize heartbreak.

I was told once that leaving is “apologizing for causing hurt” whereas being left behind is “begging for the hurt to stop.”
Both concepts are so intertwined though, you can’t have one without the other.
You can’t leave someone behind if there is not “a someone” to be left behind.
It’s all very Yin and Yang!

Few places are as haunted by raw spillage from fragile human emotions as airports.
During the late 90s, I commuted a lot between cities and became an old hand at spotting “stories.”
With time you start collecting clues that tell you what the story might be.
Everyone at the airport has a story.
Some try to hide their stories behind a veneer of suave nonchalance.
Others choose to be the epitome of unbridled emotions whenever they are reunited with loved ones.
Whatever the story of each individual though, the human activity at terminals embodies the interdependency of leaving and the being left behind.
Continue reading