When we abscond
When we abscond, the voice within us grows louder and the chatter of the crowd fades. When we abscond, we see culture, movements, beliefs, behavior, as a set of choices (as opposed to inevitabilities). Choices are made based on who we are, not how we should be. Morality flows from our hearts, not from the forces of external fear. The crowd is far enough in the distance that even it is amusing, perhaps even looks beautiful.
Like a helium balloon that a child has let go of, to abscond is to remain attached to nothing...to rise and float away from the crowd, over the horizon, fulfilling the promise of the energy trapped inside it...at peace with the direction of the wind, its present splendor...and yes, even its ultimate fate.
In this, my second philosophical post, I will attempt to describe the conditions through which it is possible to abscond from the crowd in order to discover our authentic selves.
It isn't enough to become a hermit, avoiding contact with others. While this approach is still favorable to blending in with the crowd, it isn't possible to fully develop our authentic selves in isolation. The value of any biological organism is in the function it provides to nature. It isn't natural to exist in isolation, and the depression we feel when doing so is nature's consequence.
How paradoxical it would seem that I claim it is both necessary to abscond from the crowd, and yet seek a connection with others. But this seems contradictory only on the surface, because it actually is as unnatural for us to attempt to fit-in with the crowd as it is for us to exist in isolation. The fundamental question one must ask is, "If a culture, organization, movement has it all figured out...why do I exist as an individual? What is my value?"
The purpose of individual existence is to develop our potential as individuals. In doing so, we provide the maximum value to the species and to all of nature. To conform is to become a ghost; to deny the life energy within us and take on an artificial, lifeless form defined for us. To conform is to become part of the dying, cancered world.
If our intuition tells us that these ideas are true, then one might wonder what can be done to live in this way. It is easy. To start with, we need to look at others in our lives with complete acceptance. I'm not talking about others in an abstract sense, but the people we have close relationships with and with whom we spend our time: our lovers, friends, and family.
The most important thing that can be done to develop our authentic selves is to offer complete acceptance in our relationships and convince others to do the same in return. Promise that you won't judge, and mean it. I will only judge you when you judge...only point out to you that you're constantly telling me what to do. That said, we also need patience. We need to find peace with exactly where others are in that moment. Start with the perspective that everything is as it should be. What is just is. Acceptance doesn't come with a goal. It is an end in itself.
It is only when both people perceive what I have described as the basis of the relationship...when trust exists...that growth can happen. Healthy change will flow naturally from a relationship in which we begin to explore each other, perceive, and focus on the unique aspects of each other. That's because we have created a space of freedom in which we can begin to develop our authentic selves. We have created a universe in which we can explore who we are outside of the rules of the world outside. The more free and open this relationship can be, the better. We have to question everything, redefine our own shared universe, and constantly tear down social barriers. We all need at least one relationship like this in our lives...what we usually call it true friendship or love. The possibilities that exist in this kind of relationship are as unique and limitless as are the two people involved.
Beautiful are all of the possibilities that exist between two people without the burden of external influence.
I don't think any of this is new, original, or unfamiliar to most people. I do, however, think that most people aren't conscious of how we achieve this state...or perhaps they avoid this state because they feel it might threaten the trivial, herd-based reality that most people cling to out of fear. Most people look at relationships from the perspective of society; how relationships fit into our public lives, what others would think, what social benefits are attached to relationships, etc. That's why most people also fall into the trap of trying to change loved ones, encouraging them to fight who they really are and attempting to force others into some sort of social mold. Unfortunately, when you let the outside world into these most sacred relationships, what is sacred about the relationship starts to decay.
To live at peace with our nature is to live in peace. We need to stop trying to change the world, fitting into the world, behaving according to its lifeless constructs, and start developing divine relationships which help us abscond the crowd and develop our authentic selves. Doing this allows the world to shape itself around us, not the other way around. In future posts, I will talk more about the extrinsic and intrinsic reasons why any of this is important.
It should be said that the purpose of this post isn't to describe or celebrate the divinity of these kinds of relationships. It is the language of art which attempts to do so, but there can be no substitute for direct experience. Indeed, the power of the word, even art, falls short. Perhaps it is only when we feel ourselves floating away in silence, like the helium balloon, that we know we have found what I have described. It is only possible when we develop a perspective which makes possible these kinds of relationships.