I slept a solid 8+ hours and woke at 3:40AM. I lay there leisurely breathing deeply, making sure I expired completely and following each breath with my attention. Along with the breathing, I played with and enjoyed what for me are truths, with many, perhaps all of them being true of all people, whether they notice them, try to ignore them, or even disbelieve them, believing instead the totally speculative, unscientifically proven beliefs in eternal life. I played with the pun on the word expiration, realizing that with every breath I took I might expire in both senses of the word. I believe in death. I don’t know what will happen 3 breaths from now, let alone what might happen after i die. I consider it a waste of time to think about and speculate on what is unknowable. I am content to not know what no one can know.
What else did I play with and enjoy? The thought that I am absolutely alone in the world came a number of times, and along with it, the knowledge, the truth, that everyone else is also absolutely alone. My truth is that I, we all, die alone. I hope, when I come to dying it will be quick and with minimal suffering and I am happy my odds for that happening are better than most. I have had one heart attack, a permanently damaged heart, and I could have gone out like a light with any of my expirations last night.
Another hope I enjoy is that my children and any others involved, should I die more slowly, will not insist that company is good for me while I’m dying and will give me as much alone time as I want, even if I can’t ask for it. Those dealing with the dying should consider carefully whether what they do is to reassure themselves and ease their own fears of dying or is really for the benefit of the dying. I would hate a lot of talk around me as I’m dying, but then, I hate a lot of talk around me even now.
I was smiling much of the time as I lay for 2 hours, expiring over and over. Another thought that showed between the silences in my head, was that more misery may be created in the world by people wanting to help others and do good in the world, than by those who simply work on making themselves happy, try to be pleasant to others, and most importantly try to do minimal harm to the world, themselves and other people.
I’m sure all the do gooders in the world, whether they are the power hungry or not, avoid the thought they should be very cautious in their attempts to make this a better world. I believe the odds are quite high that they may make it a worse world. By focusing very narrowly, and ignoring what could be called the side effects of doing good, it is possible to maintain a belief that doing good, helping others works.
A classic example is all the “feed the starving children” campaigns. They are likely to do more long term harm than good, and eventually cause more suffering than they relieve. Why? Overpopulation is the major and overwhelming danger the world currently faces. Feeding the starving children not only uses up natural resources, but increases the likelihood that the overpopulation crisis will come sooner.
I recognize there is room for argument here. There are the believers in technology, and that it will always find a solution. Technology’s track record is not good. It has made the world better for the few and the rich in the world, as well as making them richer. It has made my world worse. If you look at your world now and the world you grew up in, you’ll probably agree with me. You individually may be better off, one of the rich. But even locked in your gated compound, you suffer far more fear than before gated compounds became real profit makers and thie demand for them was increased, perhaps created artificially. Consider carefully, then comment or email me. I’m really curious who and how many think the 2000’s were better than the 1960’s, 50’s, 40’s, 30’s.
There are many do-gooders who make really high incomes off their efforts. I don’t expect them to stop. Self interest does come first after all.
Each who sincerely tries to be helpful to others, believes they are the exception. I too am one of the exceptions, and I almost laughed aloud at this thought.. How can my writing here what I hope might be of use or help other people possibly harm them? An immediate way pops up right now: a husband and wife read this; one of them becomes convinced of Rusty’s truths; the other is sure they are not true; and voila! I have caused their divorce and made them and their three children miserable causing great harm.
Will that stop me from writing and publishing here? No, because I also feel sure that the effect of what I write is minimal. Most people pay little attention to or even consider anything that differs from what they believe already. I smiled last night at the minimal frustration I experience knowing my effect on the world and other people is small. As the sign over Hell in DON JUAN IN HELL says “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” The devil’s comment of “Now, think what a relief that is” is something I agree with. I don’t want the power, but a slight influence on the positive side I wouldn’t mind.
I also thought of all the people who want someone to follow, to not take responsibility for themselves. There must be a slogan, a dicho going, “Neither a leader nor a follower be.” What famous or a wise man said something starting with those words?
Obviously I enjoyed my insomnia. I don’t call it that, wakefulness means the same thing. Do you enjoy your insomnia? If you stopped giving it a diagnosis (which means treatment is needed) and thought of it as wakefulness, you could start enjoying it.
This minuscule part of my two hours last night is my gift to the world. Tell me, in a comment or an email, whether the above influenced you in any way. Enjoy.