Sometimes I become acutely aware of how America is full of incredibly horrid, tacky and useless objects. You see them in people’s homes, in thrift stores, at garage sales. An endless array of ugly stuffed animals, sweaters in ghastly shades of putrid, meaningless, plastic trinkets, an off-white bottle shaped like a cat full of foul, old lady perfume.
I look at these things and I think about how all this energy, whole lives even, as well as earth’s resources, went into designing, creating, mass producing and distributing these products when the end result is surely very little profit. Not only is it a waste, but the thought never seems to occur to anyone involved about how sad and meaningless this is. Or are they all depressed? Is this why the pants are in a florid pattern with tentacles that reach out and assault your vision?
There are so many people in world going through the motions, never stopping to reflect or to find meaning (or simply believing that life is devoid of meaning), often because they absolutely do not have the luxury to do it. There are people in charge of factories and warehouses all over the earth, engaged in mind numbing tedium and perhaps they are not even that upset about it. In general, the majority of the population probably do not find much meaning in their work and simply accept the fact that the bulk of their lives is devoted to absolute tedium, and real life happens when the shift is over.
When I think about it, I really shouldn’t get too down about it because, besides the useless products, our world would not run if there were not people willing to do this work. It just doesn’t seem fair or right, but maybe on the positive side, choices and opportunities are sometimes available to those willing to take the risks.
But then again, maybe the world should run differently altogether. In the book I read years ago The Celestine Prophecy, Redfield proposes that our encounters with others are not coincidences. Things happen for a reason, and if we take the time to connect with others who cross our path, we will receive what we need for meaning and growth because we all have certain lessons to learn from certain people in our lifetimes.
He proposes a spiritual economy, where people receive goods and services from others in exchange for the depth of their emotional connection and presence. The idea made me think of Jung and his belief that psychotherapy was the beginning or foundation of a religion that would not be realized for 600 years. Ah. Kooky, new age thoughts.
But I want to remember this idea, if not for the awareness and preparation it could give me to be present for others. That this is what it could really be about, if we are able to open our eyes and be aware. Of course, my thoughts on what is meaningful or purposeful in our lives is subjective as well. Whereas a monetary all-consuming working economy is my idea of useless torture, so could a spiritual economy for someone who would much rather work on math problems than talk to anyone. Then again, maybe in a world like that, no one would need to escape into something because human interaction would much less likely be harmful or shallow.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve missed way too many opportunities to connect with people.
May 31st 2006Introspection