“…intrinsically, humans, as creatures of the Earth were drawn inherently always back to one thing –war. And thus we seek to correct not the symptom but the disease itself. We have sought to shrug off individuality, replacing it with conformity. Replacing it… with sameness… with unity, allowing each man, woman, and child in this great society to lead identical lives. The concept of identical environment construction allows each of us to head confidently into each moment with all the secure knowledge it has been lived before.”
Culture, in its worst dystopic form, will attempt to create lives that are as identical and predictable as possible. Whenever the holiday season arrives, I am reminded of just how powerful of a reality matrix this is. The same traditions, on the same day, year after year after year.
I see the value in this; but I also see the cost. The value is the predictability of the pattern. It gives people who are oriented towards these traditions the opportunity to meet various needs at various times in coordination. Given that this is mere ritual, however, it is going to impinge on spontaneity to some extent.
Take Thanks Giving, for example. Most of those who celebrate this holiday, gorge themselves on a large meal and repeat prefabricated propaganda about the meaning of the day, then sit around and watch television. In this ritual, while there is wiggle room, there is often little room for anything new. Instead of being present, we merely follow a script; the script of our perceived cultural heritage.
As you may imagine, I don’t engage in all the rituals. In fact, this Thanksgiving I’m just spending time with my wife and kids, getting caught up on chores, sprouting some vegetables and cooking a chickpea curry for dinner.
I don’t start thinking about imagined ideas about turkeys, pilgrims and indians. That has little to do with me and with the meaning of my life. I’m taking the time to focus on the here and now, to evaluate my life and its meaning, to thrust myself in the direction of radical lifestyle change and radical honesty and its working well.
I find value in conducting myself outside of these cultural paradigms, as much as makes sense. I feel that I get more out of the experience, than I would otherwise. Instead of repeating the same Thanksgiving each year, I have a different one each year. None are in any way identical, other than that the overall intent is to grow, reflect and change in a way that takes into account the reality of the current state of my existence.