Thursday, June 12, 2014


     I've noticed an interesting development recently. I've become decidedly surgical with how expeditiously and efficiently I remove people from my life.  I'm not certain if it's a side effect of age or a general increase in "fuckit-ness" but I've never experienced such quick transitions when it came to friendships as far back as I can remember.  But lately my historically vast fields of patience have experienced an unanticipated pendulumatic swing towards the diminutive.  Perhaps my time has just become more precious, or my understanding of it has merely become more lucid.  Either way, I find that times that used to be spent in quiet contemplation has now been replaced with rapid deliberation and now more often than ever before, my mind leans towards dismissal.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.
There's something to be said about self-preservation. A degree of self-centeredness that we often vilify because of an unnecessary correlation between being focused and being maliciously selfish. Ultimately self-preservation is inherently universal among all living organism. This is most often expressed in the clich├ęd "fight or flight" argument but often we forget how thorough this behavior is emotionally and mentally as well. In the end, the person who is the most concerned about you, is yourself. On the other hand, I believe that notions like empathy, sympathy, compassion, and charity seem to be cornerstones of intelligence and maturity. Without these abstractions society could never reach such heights like the one we're blessed enough to be experiencing. Yet, these concepts laugh in the face of logic and repeatedly expose our vulnerability with the hopes that "this time it will be different" when it stands to reason that in all likelihood, things are more inclined to stay the same. Character I've found tends to settle less like sand, building and growing over time in sedimentary layers; but more like water, finding it's lowest point and leveling out based on what vessel you decide to put it in. Without adapting oneself, we tend to resort to what's comfortable. I've found myself starting to question the conceivably of someone in my age demographic that has the wherewithal to make changes to one's personality that has taken so many years to develop.

     I've also started to believe that perhaps we've become such a guarded generation and with progressively detached forms of communication and such significant lack of quality human interaction that our ability to truly understand relational reciprocity has reached an all time low.  Maybe this is just something from my generation that I can't relate to and in an ironic and almost laughably hypocritical defense mechanism, I've coldly resorted to excision.  I suppose now I just fear for collateral damage. I'm distressed that like any other learned skill, it will eventually reach such proficiency that it will become automated, merciless, and machine-like...ruthless.

A tree needs to be pruned to grow at times I suppose... then again, maybe I'm just tired.

Perhaps we should all revisit our priorities...

...time is of the essence. How you spend it speaks to what you value. If you're reading this and are feeling frustration, ask yourself why? Are there people in your life that are mistreating you and you wonder why you still give them that right?  Have you taken someone for granted and wonder how in the world you are still in their lives? Have you let someone know that you appreciate the patience they've shown you, or perhaps how grateful you are for their friendship because you didn't always deserve it.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” ~ Stephen Covey
     We need to stop the glorification of busy. It's no longer a valid justification. We're all busy. We all have a million things going on in our lives and each day, and we all ultimately, albeit it arrogantly, attempt to control and choose which moments we experience and which we don't. Embrace that power and wield it wisely, don't allow busy to be your crutch.  You're busy because you choose to be. The caveat is that you must not take it personally if someone else's decisions don't come to pass the way you would have liked them to. You're not too busy. It's just not that important.  There's nothing wrong with that! Just know this...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"The Egg" a short story by Andy Weir

I remember reading this years ago but it has been a while since I've had the opportunity.  I'm posting it now in hopes that some of my friends will read it so the next time we get together, perhaps we can talk about it.

Until then... enjoy.

The Egg
by Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty. “Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.” You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.” “So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.” “Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back. “I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

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