A friend of mine once fell under a particularly nasty spell of reality and asked, “WHO THE FUCK DO WE THINK WE ARE?”
While not a question we ask regularly, it is a slightly scary but very valid one. Here follows my attempt to answer it as succinctly as possible.
We are those who still believe the American dream is to be productive and proud, in all aspects of life. We want to look behind us and see a trail of invention and construction. We want to look down the stairs we have just climbed and be able to say gleefully, “only I have done this”.
We are those who want to understand and improve ourselves. We know that there is a great a mystery as any inside of our own perceptions and experiences, and that the path to discovery is through experimentation. We are our own scientist, and our own experiment; our own control and our own variable. We are sometimes startled at the sudden appearance of challenge, but always rush towards it with the sword of curiousity held overhead. We know that we can never be perfection, but we know there lay grains of happiness within the struggle.
We are those who want to understand, and improve the world. It unfolds and reveals its secrets slowly, as we grow alongside. We see the beauty in all there is, even though it contains boundless pain and death within. We wish to impart our energy to bring light and warmth into this world. We don’t have to be seen from space to make a worthwhile difference.
We are curious. We do not accept authority blindly. We eye facts, boasts, arguments, theories and commands with skepticism. For some of us, the Truth is the closest thing we associate with the divine, and it is a thing to be revered. We are aware we can never know it all, but that won’t stop us from trying.
We are those who believe in personal dignity and respect for all things and creatures. Sometimes, these seem so self-evident to us that we forget that others don’t always operate this way. We give these courtesies to others without even thinking, and are often irked when we fail to receive the same in return. But, ultimately, we are those who will forgive, because we refuse to have our flame sputter out because of a few misguided souls. But we try not to forget, because we are just as delicate as we are forcible.
We are those who love mischievous spontaneity, and carnivals of mirth. Every day we peel back the corners of reality to see bits of the joke underneath. We know that to harvest the most out of our lives, we must vigorously apply our heart and soul. But still we revel in the little celebrations of slapstick, of tragedy, of irony, the absurd, tickling and the good old fashioned belly laugh.
And the sad truth of the matter is…. we are very few.
© Peter Hauschulz, 2009