Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts

I know that my posts have become erratic. (insert excuse here) I won't promise to get better, just that this too shall pass. The following was found recently while Stacy was cleaning out some old letters. I felt that this perhaps I might share it with you. I wrote it around 2006, during my second deployment.

They say that the world is but a stage. One only has to sit and watch those around them to see that this is true. As I sit here in what I've dubbed the "green room" of the TOC and watch the comings and goings of the people who run this madhouse it becomes evident that most of them are just playing the parts they were given. People keep coming and going, some with urgency, some with their heads down looking defeated. Some stride by, apparently proud of the task at hand and feeling up to it. Their interaction interests me even more. Rank plays a part in everything. Even those that wear matching ranks struggle for superiority over each other. In some cases this has been established previously and yet the struggle is still evident. When you pay attention to the struggle each mannerism takes on a significance that would be easily ignored. These mannerisms are for the most part probably unintentional and unnoticed by the two people involved. Is this the animal in us, the primal need to dominate others of our species? Poets and prophets tell us that life's greatest gift is our ability to decide, to choose, to exercise free will, yet so many of life's choices are made on impulse, a chemical reaction that takes place in fractions of a second, pushing us to react, however irrationally, to whatever stimuli is put before us. Are these reactions much different than the tree which leans to get a better view of the sun or the bee who dances to tell its companions where to find food?
I do no propose that all of our decisions are made on impulse, that the entire dance of life is but an animal response. Many people ponder the correct course of action. Often, however, it is over such things as whether to eat healthily or to try out for the high school football team that we spend our time considering the consequences. Even then our careful planning and weighing of our options are so often thrown out the window by a tempting treat or a taunt from a bully. Where, I ask, is the rational thought when deciding if we should share our toys on the playground or when we choose to shove another out of the way to get a better view of the auto accident? Moreover, are these choices not just as important as the ones we agonize over?
Life is but a series of moments held together by memory and hope. The only truly important moment in time is the current one. All too often we are concentrating on something to come or something long past and just react, frequently poorly, to now, without a single thought to the effects such reactions will cause. Without care of what reactions we will cause in others, we plod along our blind path, never really knowing where we are going and never truly understanding where we've been. Again I ask, are we that much better than the pack of wolves that attack a deer, using speed and an ingrained cunning to bring it down? Is our great thought process really that superior to the elephants who know to put their weakest in the center of the herd to protect them? When will our rational thought surpass the chemical process that compels this alpha male dance we so often harm ourselves to engage in?
I do not profess to be above this dance, I am as much a part of is as you are, dear reader. Be you male or female, young or old, an intellectual or a dullard; you, like me are caught up on the constant human need to be part of society and to carve your place in it. I do not write this in order to compel you to detach yourself from society, nor to tell you that you are part of a great malignancy in the world. As point in face this little rant of my will most likely never see another pair of eyes beyond my own. Should other than I chance upon this, however and begin to question the decision making process in their own head, then perhaps the chemicals in my head which compelled me to jot down my thought were justified after all.

This was e-mailed to Stacy on a whim, and of course she kept it. I don't quite remember writing it, but reading it struck a chord with me

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