Freedom of choice is what you’ve got.  Freedom from choice is what you want. – Devo 

I pity the mind that finds comfort in subservience and servility.  The mind that not only respects but damn near worships one or many imagined authority figures.  Of course, all authority figures are imagined.  Some, like the tyrannical God of the Bible are entirely imagined: that is, first we invent the notion of an omnipotent creator and then we imagine that he is imbued with ultimate authority and the capacity to reward or punish us depending on our level of devotion to him.  Other authority figures are actual people – in the same sense that you and I are people, a concept we can grasp only because of the interrelation and inherent equanimity of all phenomena.  I can only know “me” in relation to “you”. But most of us aren’t content to view humanity as a level playing field.  We give some of the most headstrong (and usually least compassionate) contrived titles that we imagine bestow upon them the power to control and make decisions for us.  Cop, general, captain, president, prime minister, king, queen, Ayatollah, lama, Dalai Lama, Pope, priest, rabbi, imam, master, Don, admiral, parent, guardian, teacher, mentor, guru, boss, supervisor: how we love to wave the magic wand of imaginary import over the heads of those we fear most.

Guilt and fear are the first concepts we’re taught as children.  Once our parents are satisfied that we’ve got a sufficient portion of each weighing down on our psyches, we are then told what entities we should use as the arbiters of these feelings: usually the parents themselves, first and foremost, followed by God as explained by the parents from the point of view of their particular religious tradition, then teachers and police officers and really just adults in general, as conveniently implied in the catch-all parental phrase “respect your elders”.

Yes, it’s all just part of the game and how each one of us choose to play it, but it strikes me as such an unimaginative and boring way to approach this meaningless but fascinating experience called life.  The psychological reasons that people have for adopting the role of a subject are varied, of course, but I suspect all such reasons have at their foundation a distaste for meaninglessness.  But why does everything need to have meaning?  Since you and I and another can all read the same philosophical or theological treatise and derive completely different meanings from it, doesn’t this prove that “meaning” is just another invented subjective concept?  We so desperately want to feel that our experience is meaningful, never realizing that this desire is precisely what causes us to feel anxiety, guilt, fear, anger, self-loathing, stress, tension, isolation and depression.  And for creatures possessing such an impressive and flexible organic computer as the human brain, we’re so pathetically predictable in how we choose to use it.  Nobody experiences true freedom because nobody actually wants to experience it.  The whole notion of living life moment by moment, moving and grooving between emotions and experiences with complete freedom and without judgment strikes us as frivolous, maybe even irresponsible.  But is it?  To whom is it your responsibility to behave otherwise?  Most people would answer that question with one of the invented authority figures I listed in the first paragraph.  But the idea of a chain of command dictates that these authorities also answer to a higher authority, even if it’s the completely imagined despot called God.  You see, the choice of an authority figure is arbitrary due to the fact that it’s done under our own personal authority.  I can choose, for instance, to view Donald Trump as the President or even the dictator of the nation in which I live.   Perplexingly, many do choose to view him that way.  Or I can choose to view him as what he really is: one of billions of pairs of eyes that constitute the Universe viewing itself from as many disparate angles as possible.  He happens to be a rather extreme example of the narcissistic, authoritarian angle.  I might be described as an example of the rebellious clown angle, although such a broad descriptive has many other distinguishing features.  The punk-hippie hybrid stereotype writing this post is not the same self-witnessing aperture of the Universe as some other punk-hippie hybrid stereotype that may be reading it.

Here’s the reality we’re truly running from when we take on these subservient and/or authoritative roles: we’re all going to die and the person we think we are is going to cease to be, because it never existed in the first place.

We can run from this thought right until our very last breath, and most people do, but on a subconscious level we never really buy our own sense of meaning or identity.  This is illustrated by the physiological muscular tension we carry and the psychological ennui we suffer as a matter of course.  Somewhere at the heart of our consciousness, we know everything we believe is utter hogwash.  We know that the only sensible way to play the game of life is to treat it as a game; one where the rules can always be changed when it loses its luster or stops being fun.  Yet we’re too guilty and unsure of ourselves to actually do this, to let go and just be.  So we continue to look to others to tell us what to do, how it is, and why we’re here, even though we are at least somewhat aware of the desperation inherent in such an obsequious outlook.  Our narcissism tells us that life must mean something; our fear and guilt tell us that we are too puny or vulgar or impure to BE that something.  Hence, there’s no way to enjoy this potentially fascinating game so long as we insist on it being meaningful.  And there’s no way for us to hoodwink ourselves into finding it meaningful unless we create an authority figure to teach us what the meaning is and what we must do “for our own good”.

Stop pretending that you are a stranger to yourself, as if you are two separate entities ensconced in one skin.  Stop telling yourself that you’re doing it wrong, failing to understand, failing to play the game properly.  This is just another game, albeit a pretty crappy one with no hope for occasional forays into ecstasy and bliss.  There is no authoritative you to direct a subservient you; you cannot look at yourself in the mirror and say, “pull yourself together!” and expect anyone to respond to such a command.  The commander and commanded are one and the same.  If you can manage to pull your view of yourself together into a single yet interdependent entity, it will follow that you can do the same with all of the imagined authority figures that materialize in your world.  Do you want to see Trump as the President?  Go right ahead.  Do you prefer to see him as a threat to oppose, as I often but just as foolishly do?  Again, indulge your pleasure.  But try to remember that dark exists in order that we can experience light in contrast.  “Evil” exists in order that we can experience “goodness” in contrast.  And subservience exists in order that we can experience freedom in contrast.  Once you know how to choose your own experience at will, you won’t need the contrasting landmarks anymore.  Someone with a true understanding of who they are and what they’re not doesn’t need to view someone like Trump as an authority or an enemy.  The flop-headed lump bloviating from behind the presidential podium is one kind of aperture through which the Universe experiences itself, nothing more and nothing less.  You and I are the same thing.  We can pretend that we’re not, and we can pretend that he’s not, and we can think that all of our philosophical analyses are nothing short of inspired, but sooner or later, we’ll be in for a big disappointment if this is how we keep insisting the Universe should be.   The Universe doesn’t need to dictate and it doesn’t need to be instructed.  It acknowledges no inferiors or superiors because to a Unity, those are nonsensical ideas.  And we are nothing other than the Universe.  Be the Universe because you can’t but be otherwise and feel yourself being the Universe because you may as well acknowledge and enjoy your true breadth and depth.  Although meaning and fun are not synonymous, fun is the only satisfying meaning to which you can subscribe without continuing to make things unnecessarily difficult for yourself.  Simplify.  Reject authority and unsubscribe from learned guilt.  Most importantly, have fun.  That’s the wisest contrived meaning one can possibly impose upon this beautiful, meaningless life.

22 thoughts on “Subservience

    1. I’m not sure, but when I first started this page, I couldn’t leave comments on other people’s pages for several days. That got fixed, but in the past 2 days, I have read about OTHER people whose blogs aren’t new suddenly having the same problem. Then Caroline (orchidslantern) advised she wasn’t seeing my new stuff in her e-mails a couple of days ago. In other words, I think WordPress is just really twitchy lately.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well then. Maybe my self hosted isn’t so bad. People have to make an extra click or two to leave a comment … so I get less. But fuck them for being lazy! Oh yeah. The boys still want to plan dinner with you. They are thinking Freddy’s Steak Burgers.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In order to fix my problem, which is different from your problem, I had to talk to WP Help Chat, as well as e-mail some weird related entity called akismet. Or maybe I just did that shit for no reason and it eventually just fixed itself. Hard to say. Freddy’s Steak Burgers sounds fantastic. Let them know that I can come up there, if that’s where the joint is. Did you see my “Wilco or Son Volt?” post? I’m curious as to whether you’d rather be associated with Jeff Tweedy or Jay Farrar, as I did not specify which one of us was which in my weird comparison.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is in ABQ. They will come down there. I did see your post. Have not had time to respond yet. Hectic couple of days. On the train headed to ABQ now to pick up Shades car at mechanic. Will have to bike to mechanic, hop in the car, and try to make it back to SF to get Dagan at school at 4!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s a good way to pass the time while waiting on a train. I know you’ve been contemplating the drinking thing in your life because you’ve posted about it, and I wasn’t trying to make light of it when I cautioned against taking it too seriously. Most people trying to stay sober don’t understand me, but personally (and I think in this respect, you are more like me than them), it is imperative that I don’t think of my sobriety as some kind of penance or life-saving effort. It has to be a choice. Now for me, the choice not to drink at all is the wisest. I’m not so sure that’s necessarily true for you, hence what I wrote in your comments.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Why must you post these in the middle of my work day? You suck, and I hate you with a blinding, white hot light of a thousand billion suns. Seriously you distract me WAY to much. 🙂

    Having grown up with amazing parents who were very devout in their Catholicism, I must say not all are that way. I grew up in a household very close to one like a late 50’s early 60’s tv show. Yet once I was ready to question and seek, they let me. I know how lucky that is, and I cherish the rarity. Another reason I miss my dad so much even at my age and 12 years after he died.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I often paint with a very broad brush in my posts in the interest of brevity, but there are indeed people who can effortlessly dance that fine line between worship and independence. And this: “You suck, and I hate you with a blinding, white hot light of a thousand billion suns” is just about the most awesome thing anyone has said to me in a very long time.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I didn’t raise my daughter with any set belief systems, besides just don’t be an asshole. I figured that she could figure out what felt right for HER, not what I thought was right for her. Hence her joking about the hotel we stayed at not having a bible.
    Crazy kid.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love this! Also I apologize in being new to WordPress I goofed up in moderating comments and accidentally deleted your recent comment on my new post. 😂 Fail! Thank you so much! I am so glad I illustrated the issues well and shed some light. It’s all I ever hope for!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I spend about half of my life running around telling people life has no inherent meaning, and the other half trying to find it. Sue me for being dichotomous.

    I gave up the addiction to authority many years ago and try to never let anyone else tell me what to do, who to be, what I must do now. I mean,except Ludo, who will throw the ball at me incessantly as I sit at my office chair until I submit. I’m kind of backwards, I guess; I worship “Dog.”

    ((In case the wife ever reads my comments on your wall, I should add that I do answer to her. 😉 #YesDear))

    I always mean to respond to your posts with a quick “YES! I AGREE!” and then put up a bunch of clapping hand emojis, but you never let me. You made me read this one twice.

    That last sentence is the long version of “YES! I AGREE!” with clapping emojis. You probably already know that by now. We view the world of God and Trump much alike, though my aperture in the universe is quite different from yours. I guess that’s the other thing that makes life more meaningful, though, the whole kindred spirit thing.

    Thanks for being that, man. 👏👏👏👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

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