“The Point”

October 13, 2012

Having written most of this, I’ve come back to the beginning to mark this with a warning that what follows is my equivalent of what is currently being called “wonky” — it gets deep into the details of a particular discipline or point of view.


I’m listening to Harry Nilsson singing “This is the town and these are the people, This is the town where the people all stay, This is the town where the people all have one, That’s the way they wanted it and That’s the way it’s going to stay …”

I don’t remember how the story goes, and that’s my point — having (or not) a point is the issue, not the action storyline — it’s the theme and not the plot that is important.

We get so caught up in the idea that the action part of our lives is the significant part of life.  I don’t think it is.  But that’s the way we — most of us — want it.

In my elementary school, we wrote a lot of book reports.  We learned about features in a book to look for — setting, theme, characterizations, plot, are what I’m recalling.

My fifth grade teacher, Mr. G. (that’s what we actually called him — his name was Mr. Gianatiempo, and he was a really good teacher, one of the most effective I’ve ever had — so it was interesting when his personal life — he abandoned his first family and married a former student — became an issue — proving once again that flawed human beings can help others make their own progress), required that we spend most of the book report on character analysis.  There was a strict limitation on how long our summary of the plot could be (one paragraph, half a page) and we were forbidden to use the word “interesting” in our appraisal of the book.

I think life is about learning how to “drive our cars,” how, as a mahout, to merge with the elephant, to fly like a butterfly once our consciousness merges with our subconscious while something else in us observes.  When we learn how to interface this way with the universe while we’re physical human beings, we have learned how to operate our vehicle, to fully become who we are.

While we’re learning to reach our full potential as human beings, we have adventures and we experience them as part of a storyline.  We often get caught up in the storyline, thinking particular outcomes and details are important and necessary.  I think the plot is primarily in service to the goal of learning who we are and how we relate to the universe.   Even our relationships with other human beings are in service to this, in my opinion — they may be healthier ways to experience pleasure, but experiencing that kind of pleasure is still experiencing that kind of pleasure, and not, in my view, the be-all and end-all of life.  I think being able to merge with the world through living enough in the part of us that exists also in everything else, and hence allows for exchange between us and all else, is what we’re working towards.

Maybe, to go back to my book report analogy, we could see a parallel in a book’s theme.  Discerning the theme of a book I think comes harder to students.  I remember being taught it largely through examples: man vs. man, man vs. nature, for starters.  I think we as humans have trouble “identifying theme” in our lives, which in this case is not the same sort of cohesive dynamic in a book, but rather the patterns in our lives that we get caught up in in ways that prevent us from seeing clearly.  The underlying issues could be things like vanity, greed, being overly dependent on others’ opinions of us, and we notice this in how we keep repeating the same patterns of behavior or interactions with others over and over.

I think repetition indicates being stuck.  Unfortunately, I think being stuck in something perceived as pleasurable keeps us stuck sometimes.

A lot of what happens in our lives I think is there to help us see ourselves more clearly.  One of the ways this happens is through “mirroring.”  It is done unto us what we have done unto others.  Eventually.  We can accumulate a lot of debits on our accounts, so to speak, through our interactions with others, without having experienced the inverse, and when that happens, some people become even more resistant to experiencing the other roles.  Some people even shatter the mirror.

I think eventually the gears of human society seize up when too many people individually get stuck.  Quite frankly, addiction seems to be one of the pitfalls that keeps people stuck.  I think it can be a means to an end of self-discovery, and hence useful, but I think many people get stuck in the “means.”  Another pitfall is experiencing more than the conscious self can process at its level of connection with the rest of the self, and when that happens, people shatter.

I speculate that an alien life form visiting us might say something like, “Who designed this game?  What were they thinking?  They didn’t debug the software very well and the players are getting stuck and distorting the dynamic and destroying the hardware in the process.”  And then I think those aliens would try to set an example of how the game is played in a way so that it works, and in the process of doing this, they would be also be making it easier for others to do so, by correcting some of the distortion.  I don’t think these “aliens” would be like ETs in a science fiction story, I think they would be more like what we call angels and demigods and such in religious texts.


And now I’m listening to Nilsson’s “Without You.”

And now


2 Responses to ““The Point””

  1. Richard Says:

    This reminds me of a book called ”Flow”. When we get enmeshed in something like love or a job/ hobby, time disappears and we tune everything else out. Fully engaged. Non-analytical.When things aren’t in flow we tend to over analyze and constantly question our action/motives.I am realizing how meditation helps in this process. I want to be involved in flow (elf), but need to detach as a process (non-self) to keep myself centered.I think Rohr’s 10.13.12 posting would refer to this as the autonomous self. Loving your enemy as well as your neighbor.Sometimes our enemy/neighbor is ourself. What is in our own head.

    I once had a staff person who had a paper weight on his desk. It said” God, Others, Self– I am Third”

    I have not listened to the Nillson songs yet, but will comment when I do

    • Diana Moses Says:

      I was thinking the other day that maybe the point (a point?) of life is to learn an optimal or helpful balance between what you’re talking about in terms of being in the flow and being aware of (and self-consciously navigating) our surroundings.

      “I am third” — football hero autobiography title? That’s my thought association. I have trouble keeping myself on that list sometimes, that extreme ain’t no good to no one neither. Finding balance I think is key. At least, that seems to be where I am.

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