The Holidays

This was the first year that I didn’t partake in a traditional Thanksgiving. There was no turkey. NO TURKEY- it felt almost sacrilegious. I was a part of the 0.5% of the American population that had a strictly vegan meal. It was complete with organic sweet potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole, and last but not least- a “tofurkey.” Despite my initial hesitations, it was a surprisingly satisfying meal.

We decided to skip our yearly attendance at a massive family gathering-full of second and even third cousins whom I only see once a year. After the experience of a cozy, quaint, and personal dinner with my wife and young son, I don’t think I’ll ever be attending again. And because of the level of enjoyment, I think we’ll be skipping a similar gathering for Christmas.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of my extended family. It’s just that I enjoy the company of my immediate family more. Not only that, but we aren’t traditionalists. Christmas has become a consumer-driven holiday. The true meaning has become lost in and avalanche of decorations, toys, wrapping paper, stockings, and trees. I’d much rather stay home, enjoy a cozy fire, sip tea and spend time with my son. Call me crazy- but I don’t think I’ll ever be celebrating either holiday in the “traditional” sense again.

The holidays are supposed to be about giving thanks and spending time with loved ones. Of course you can achieve this with the traditional methods, but haven’t they become utterly convoluted? Maybe it’s just me- or maybe it’s just my family; but after seeing Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, I’m pretty sure that most people have succumbed to the consumerist brainwashing of mass media.

I don’t care if people call me a non-conformist or an outcast or even evil. I’m going to do what feels right. We won’t be buying or decorating a tree. We won’t be hanging stockings and filling them with candy and knickknacks. We won’t be buying and wrapping and unwrapping things we don’t need. We’re going to spend time as a family, give thanks for our blessings, and enjoy each other’s company- isn’t that what it’s supposed to be all about? I feel like the rest is frivolous at best.

No Longer “Typical” Sundays

I no longer watch football. I no longer drink. I no longer drink and watch football. Why? For a variety of reasons, but, mainly the time. The whole day used to just disappear…and maybe that’s why people indulge in the traditional American Sunday-it’s a distraction. They aren’t sure what to do with themselves when there’s “nothing to do.” (no job, no school etc.) So, they kick a few back, watch concussion after concussion in the name of states, cities, schools, colors, mascots, and tradition. I guess?

So, what do I do instead? No football? Insanity right?…I play with my son, spend quality time with my wife, read, write, nap, and exercise. It’s far more productive and far more enjoyable. “Sunday scaries” no longer exist because I don’t feel like I’m going from a wasteful day, back to a productive routine. While rest and recuperation are important, I’m not sure how drinking and watching a sport that has been proven to destroy brains can be beneficial. I just don’t find it appealing anymore.

I find it almost depressing that I was once one of those people. How many Sundays have I wasted? How much alcohol have I consumed in the process? There’s nothing wrong with a few beers now and then. And there’s nothing wrong with watching a game for enjoyment occasionally, but, wasting an entire day, and destroying your health in the process can’t help you become a better person.

“We.” We won. We lost. We need a new coach. Who is we? You play no role in the organization other than funding them with your viewership and buying their sponsors’ products. You’re a pawn in a massive, media-driven conglomeration. “We” should mean the American sheeple. Chug light beers, smoke cigarettes, eat fast food, stay unhealthy, and uneducated and feed the machine. It may seem harsh, but all in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.

My Small World

I’m watching my wife cook dinner. My son is on the counter. Music is playing softly in the background. I’m not at the gym, I’m not at a bar, and I’m not on a date. I’m with my family. My son is soon to be 18 months old, and for some reason it is just now hitting me that this will be the normal evening scene for the next twenty years or so. I don’t mind it though-it’s peaceful.

How did I get here? It seems like only yesterday I was in California. I am now back in my small town and raising a family. Time flies. So much of my time is spent at home with my son that the days begin to blur and my life feels like a dream. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

My visits to D.C. remind me that I am not a city person. The ambiguity is too much. Too much commotion. Too much traffic. Too many people. It’s not for me. I enjoy a rural setting surrounded by nature. While the relative solitude can be numbing at times, it usually means that I am taking it for granted.

Boredom only sets in when I am not reading, writing, or exercising enough. There is always something to do. If I find myself procrastinating too much, I start to go stir crazy. I get FOMO about the outside world. “I must be missing everything. The world must be passing me by. There’s nothing going on here.” Etc.

But, this is my life now. I love my small world. While it may seem small in scope and scale, it is the biggest undertaking that I will ever undergo. My wife’s company and my son’s love are all I need. Living in relative obscurity is a blessing in disguise…I can be whomever I would like to be. Right now, I want to be a good husband and father. I think I’ll do just that for the time-being.

Sensory Perception and Continuity

Our senses are our tools for navigating our universe. Are they capable of providing us with sufficiently necessary information? Or do they keep us veiled from the actuality of our surroundings? We see, feel, taste, smell, and hear the world around us, but aren’t these sensations essentially one and the same; our body’s way of providing us with experience? These sensations are limited in terms of the spectrum with which we interact with the fundamental materials of space and time, due to our biology.

Just as all other organisms on earth perceive their universe in relation to their physical biology, we humans can only perceive the universe through our sensory organs. The machines and tools with which we can relate to the imperceptible happenings of our existence help to fill in the blanks, but the added insight is still absorbed through our physical senses. Would the universe exist without sensory input? Would we exist without universal sensory output? Is it a duality in which one cannot exist without the other?

The vast array of information that goes unnoticed due to our relatively narrow sensory bandwidth plays a crucial role in our life; whether we like it or not. Or does it? Have we been biologically programmed to perceive the precise amount and type of information in order for us to survive, and the rest is merely extraneous? Are we a stepping stone for the formation of more adequate sensory perceptions in the coming generations of our species? Will the majority of our evolutionary progress come from a more highly developed neocortex? Have we reached our evolutionary plateau? Will our species die out due to our limited capabilities of solving the fundamental riddles of our existence?

We are the most capable species on the planet, but how far removed are we really from our organic cousins? Although we are the most capable, we are also the most destructive. Our ability to alter our surroundings at scale, has been the most detrimental process for our planet in it’s brief history of hosting life. “Intelligent life,” is slightly comical in regards to our self-proclaimed pedestal in the universe.

Our seat on the highest link of the planetary food chain, should by no means incur our creation of a universal class of organisms. How very narcissistic of us. Despite all of our innovation, and creative prowess, our gauge of intelligence is limited to ourselves and our lack of competition. We can only imagine beings of higher intelligence, and speculate on their culture, technology, etc. Yet we always frame their existence in terms of our world.

Our universal view can only be defined by our descriptive language. The rate at which groups of organisms organize and flourish, is unfathomable on a separate scope and scale. They may need none of which we have defined as the fundamental structures of human societies. Their evolution may have a fundamentally separate trajectory, yet they may still surpass our capabilities based on universal exploration and understanding.

We should be proud of how far we have come as a species, but we must understand we have a long journey ahead of us. I fear that sustainable peace with ourselves, our planet, and our universe is beyond our grasp. We are not biologically capable of making the quantum leaps to side-step the social constructs with which we are enamored, and regain a scientific rationality in regards to the progression of the species. Is there such a rationality? Or does the creative force of mother nature, always balance life to the degree that is necessary? No answers, only questions.

Daydreams on Modern Pace

Pace- The measure of sustained rapidity with which an action is carried out.

Today’s modern world is experiencing tremendous pace in all spheres of life. The rate of consumption in regards to not only organic materials, but also information, is unrivaled in this day and age. Unlimited data, streams directly to our fingertips. We are hard-wiring ourselves to consume boundless amounts of stimulation at a constant rate. The “internet of everything” continues to press us further into an exponentially mysterious future.

Machine learning, 3D-printing, automated cars: just a few examples of the technological revolution that has only just begun. The compound effect that these advances will have on our existence is immeasurable. We literally cannot fathom what the exponential growth rate of technology will bring about in the next few decades, let alone the coming centuries. The advancements are awe-inspiring, but how much more technology can we possibly need?

Will our human existence fuse with our technology? Has it already? How much faster can we possibly carry out our lives? Instantaneous connectivity puts us in control of our communication, travel, relationships, and exploration at the blink of an eye. Is our universe a simulation? Are we tools of the universe to explore itself in a game of collective self-realization?