It never ceases to amaze me that there are people within the flesh of the bodies that we see. I have drawn a supposition that our bodies are a materialization of the spiritual aspects we have within. Maybe this explains how specifically one person can look so different from another person. But then, where does race come from? Would it follow from this theory that if a person's looks are a direct manifestation of the signature of the soul, would that suggest that individuals of a particular race are spiritually related, as if from the same family of souls? I don't think my supposition is credible; it requires more thought to be properly understood.
Nevertheless, every person shares a duality, namely that he lives in the world from his perspective, and he shares the world with the other people and things on it. It is slightly humorous that each of us is endowed with an intellect, some more than others, and each of us is given his own perspective. This perspective is developed and molded from our beliefs about the world, which are formed based on our learned programming and our experiences. So think of it; what makes you who you are?
Isn't it sad that something as silly as an experience can form who we have become? So many factors are out of our control. At any moment, our surroundings are determined by an uncountable amount of circumstances all crashing together to form this moment. We then base our lives on lessons we have gleaned from what some people would think are random occurrences. Who we become, who we marry, who we employ are all determined on circumstances. Tic tok, your life is being decided for you. Tic tok, you are confined to your reactions to your environment. Tic tok, your judgments determine what you do next. Surprise, there are other people also making decisions which limit or expand your choices and opportunities? What kind of life is this?
Chassidus calls our world the world of sheker (literally of falsehood). I won't even get into the thought that from one perspective, reality has substance that we can touch, yet from a cellular perspective, the world is a mass of particles that can only come together through a miraculous form of intellect. If I shake your hand, we have exchanged cells. Some from your hand leave your body and become part of my body. When we speak, my breath, containing carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and other particles moves out from my mouth, and perhaps enters into your person through your nose when you inhale; your body breaks down this compound and uses it to digest the food you ate earlier today. In essence, what was once me is now you. We won’t even discuss wavelengths, sounds, or the many other ways we interact and have an impact on the bodily makeup of the other.
We are discussing choices and circumstances, and the people we become through these choices. It is hard to refrain from placing the finger of G-d into this discussion, because that would give order to all these questions. Yet it is still a cop-out answer. It is one thing to believe with a full heart that religion is the ultimate truth, but it is also important to use your faculties, as limited as they are, to understand the nature and essence of the ground upon which you stand. So eliminate dogma from this discussion and let’s move on.
From a purely practical point of view, we are shells of thought contained within a body that moves through a reality, virtual or actual, whose experiences cause us to understand our subjective experience of the world in a specific way. The body is a conduit for our thought, yet the body is only a shell for the person we are inside; the body is a piece of flesh, made up of skin, meat, water, and bones -- you can cook it. Yet to sidetrack for just a moment, isn't it amazing how the body can be the center of our focus when we are looking for pleasure? The imposition of any level of logic would scream to us that there is a deep misdirection in this body-oriented focus. So let's focus on the person inside the body.
We think, we look around, we react, and we move within the environment that has been set up for us. I share the same physical universe as you do, but I do not share your thoughts. They are yours, and are your unique creation. We will filter out the likelihood that there is a heavy influence on your thoughts from other beings, namely human, animal, and spiritual. Yet what gets to me is that what we do, say, think, and how we act is often so contrary to the way we think to act, do, say, and think. Let us eliminate from this discussion the concept of nullifying our thoughts and our expressions of the self to the will of our creator, to a group, or to another more influential being (human, spiritual, or other). The concept that I would like to draw out is the unknown meme (invisible psychological influence) that limits us in our thoughts and our expressions of ourselves.
Why do I smile and nod when I see someone, when I have more to say to that person? Why do I hold my tongue for appropriateness when what I have to say may be the truth? Why is it that there are conventions which people orthodoxically follow that govern how and when a person shares himself with another, and in what fashion? I'm sorry to go lightly on this topic because it is a very deep one, but the thought that I wanted to bring out is that every person is a world within itself; the mind contains so many gems, and ghosts, that if unleashed can make this world a beautifully diverse place.
The imposition of one thought pattern on another, or the thought that one must act according to a set convention literally kills our creativity and our life force, pigeonholing us into one lifestyle or forcing us to associate with one group that thinks one way or believes in one philosophy over another. All this eggshell dancing around our real thoughts creates such a compartmentalized and fake world, in that we belong to one group and express ourselves through the groupthink when we really belong to many groups or no groups at all; yet we limit our expression to fit within the mold of the accepted standard, blinding ourselves from all the other possibilities. Touché my reader -- I do this too and am guilty of associating with one group over another when in reality there should be no groups. This is a survival tactic, and you do this too.
Imagine a world where we can speak our thoughts freely without horrifying the other. Imagine a world where we can dream up large things and we can pursue them, unbounded by the circumstances or the externally imposed rules we are bound to follow. Imagine being able to be a free-thinking individual, able to express one's thoughts without forcing them out as if we are pushing our own thoughts out onto a public forum which does not invite individually unless there is license from a higher power.
I say all this with caution, and I discuss the expression of thoughts, but notice I do not discuss the expression of desires. Without proper understanding, this path can easily lead to hedonism and to selfishness, which is the exact opposite result from which I would like to see humanity achieve. And we’ve tried this philosophy so many times and each time we’ve been corrupted by hedonistic pleasures. Think Mount Sinai, think the golden calf, think Greece, think the Roman Empire, think of the Enlightenment, of Marxism, of Communism, and of the fallen Soviet Republic. Each society believed in a philosophy that turned inward to express each person’s hedonistic thoughts of pleasure, greed, or other misdirected and sick expression which ultimately caused the downfall of the society employing such a related philosophy. Now think of America.
A philosophy is worthless unless the individuals subscribing to the philosophy have pure motives and direct their desires to truth rather than temporary pleasures. I don’t think this is something as humanity we can overcome, although individually, one can strive to reach this on a personal level.
I believe my desires -- and I do have them and they are strong -- are misdirected from what my true desires should be, namely for truth and long-term real pleasures. It is fully improper for me to desire corn chips, or a good coffee. Yet my mind is tainted and programmed to want what I have been told I should want instead of desiring things for the essence of them. Torah tells us that we shouldn't desire food for the taste and pleasures we get from it; we should use food for the spiritual and physical nourishment we get from it. Yet I am still distracted by wanting foods containing a specific taste, based on the salt and sugar content within. So using food as an example, my desire is misdirected for the object itself when it should be directed at the nutritional value of the food, both physically and spiritually, through the elevation one can effect on the food by partaking in it with a blessing and grace.
But who are we kidding talking about food? What nonsense is this and why am I wasting your time with food?!? I am discussing human interactions and psychological openness in this entry.
In summary, think of a world where your desires are properly placed upon the true nature of what you desire rather than your misdirected temptation towards a body part, a person, or a physical object. Then, think of a world where openness was manifest in our interactions, devoid of restrictions or external rules which cut our tongues from our mouths and make us cower before a force of falsity that governs how much of us we can express, and how much of us must stay trapped within our minds, forced to ruminate for the rest of our lives. Then think how limited our mental faculties are, as we are only able to comprehend the physical world. Even when we think of something spiritual, we are still thinking of a physical object, just commingled with puffy clouds or blurred borders. If you can take this thought pattern to the extreme, namely looking for the truth in our desires and looking for truthful expression, what would your world be like? What steps can you take to make this world more real? Are you willing to take those steps? I am not. I fear rejection. But perhaps one day I will be able to break from my limitations and move my experience of the world closer to the truth, or the truth as I understand it should be.