I see so many people, walking and riding, but always with their face to their smart phone. I think to myself, These are lonely people, trying desperately to be in contact with another human. The trouble is that by the time their messages are broken down into bits, and sent up to the satellite to be shot back down into the listener's ear, all the heart and soul has been diluted from the words. Words are just words anyway, and they are often misinterpreted, or unheard all-together.
This morning I had a dream of walking through the woods but doing everything in my power to avoid other hikers. I label myself a misanthrope, but I can't help being nice to others. I once used to say that I felt closest to my God in the wilderness, but now that I realize that God (god) is an empty concept used to assuage our fears of death, I say that I feel most like myself when I am in the woods. I feel at peace there, and connected to my surroundings. My heart rate slows down, and nagging thoughts are blown away into the breeze.
In the city or social surroundings, I fall back into my need to be understood. I believe we all have a need to be listened to and understood. All of this new fancy technology that is supposed to keep us constantly connected actually widens the disconnect we already feel with our fellow humans. Passing digital OMG's and WTF's back and forth is not going to bring us closer together. I'm sorry if that's disappointing news. I never like using the phone, even when it was attached to the wall, and kept you on a leash, while you listened to your mom drone on about relatives you have no memory of. Now, having a cell phone in my pocket, is like an unwelcome neighbor, poking his head over the fence to say hello. Back off buddy!
I just finished reading a novel called I, Lucifer and now I have started another book titled The Life of God (as Told by Himself). Besides the commonality that both books feature mythical characters with great global importance, both characters are very lonely. They feel separate from the other entities in the universe. It seems that loneliness is as old as God. Here is a quote from the latter title: "The truth is that the world began when it dawned on me that I was all alone and I tried to do something about it."
I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but I've started to use the terms "heart" and "soul" again. I consider myself a philosopher -- as we all should -- and somewhat of a materialist, but when I listen to music, or feel a loved one's touch, I need something more than nerve endings and electro-chemical reactions to describe my feelings. I have been very emotional over the recent months. Maybe a it's sign of getting old or maybe it's just me teetering on the brink like usual. But maybe, just maybe it's my poet's soul awakening. The artist within, saying "Fuck y'all! I'm doing what feels right for me before drawing my last breath, earthbound memories of me fading like old photographs."
One question that I've been contemplating recently, or maybe it's more of a koan, is: If souls don't exist, then what is the purpose of music? Music can bring tears to my eyes, and sooth my tumultuous soul when it seems that nothing else can. There is something powerful yet indefinable in the melodies and rhythms of music that seems to come directly in sync with something vital inside of us. Call it a soul, or call it yellow jello. Whatever it is cannot survive without music.
And on that note ♪. . . here is a band and one of their songs in particular that elicits emotions from this old bearded stoner, who just wants to be understood.