You are not special. There, I said it. This applies not only to the self-proclaimed “exceptional & unique” millenials, but all other generations of humans as well. The society we live in where everyone thinks they are a golden goose, an extraordinary snowflake unlike that which mankind has ever seen before, has created an environment of self-centered selfishness that has crept in and permeated every facet of our existence. Everything from celebrating “your special day” by arbitrarily commemorating the moment upon which you began to breathe oxygen on this plane of existence, to countless selfies and self-important videos uploaded to social networks at inconceivable rates. It is a plague for which mankind will suffer the consequences for centuries, eventually devolving into our own demise, unless we do something about it.
You are not special. You are a carbon-based mass of cells and atoms that has formed and evolved over millennia to become an efficient use of this environment’s resources. That’s it. Because you happen to be Homo sapiens does not give you any special rights or superiority over anything or anyone. This obsession we have with cultural rituals that place each other on pedestals is absurd if you really examine them, merely inflating already oversized human egos.
You are not special. Regardless of whatever religious affiliation’s misinterpretation of their text has brainwashed you into thinking, you are not a demi-god blessing the earth with your presence. You are a part of this world, this universe, made from the same elements and particles as comets and asteroids, rocks on Mars and ice on Pluto. A couple of minor molecular differences manifested in our species evolving as a life form that we assume to be “intelligent”, but that is just our myopic perception of it.
You are not special. What if I were to tell you that the rocks in your front yard, the trees, the squirrel running across the neighbor’s roof, the worm burrowing through your flower garden, are all just as intuitive and “intelligent” as us? This may sound trippy and existential, but put your human logic aside for a moment and really open your mind to other possibilities. It is just a matter of perspective. From the POV of the worm or the squirrel, or the rock, they are the “intelligent” beings perfectly executing their purpose for which they evolved. They are the culmination of billions of years of evolution to arrive at that moment to do and be exactly what they are. And in terms of the POV of the universe itself, we all exist as intended, in a harmony of sorts. The bombastic audacity of humans to assume the invisible throne as masters of the universe denies this harmony, causing ripples of dissonance around us. The result is an energetic discord that never-endingly attempts to self-correct. It is that energetic conflict which fuels the fire of our egoistic and venal culture.
You are not special. Sorry, but your lovely little baby, beautiful as they are, is not the most precious cherub to ever walk the face of the earth. Your child, although special to you personally, is a combination of cells and subatomic particles. And through the magic of procreation… which is something we still don’t really know anything about, your child becomes another bunch of cells dividing and expanding. What really happens when the sperm enters the egg and creates the zygote? We have no idea how that spark of life unites these two elements, but it happens everyday… and with flowers, trees, squirrels, and even allegedly benign materials too. The miracle of life is fascinating indeed, but certainly not unique to Homo sapiens.
You are not special. Let’s expand this idea of life to the furthest corners of the universe. We are but a small spec in that landscape. If you think we are the only life forms capable of “thought” or “intelligence”, then you, my friend, have succumbed to the egocentrism of the Earth bound human race. Surely the vastness of this universe would manifest in all sorts of iterations of what could be defined as “life”. As of now, we don’t have solid scientific proof of it, yet, but using common sense and imagination, one can quickly deduce that a trillion light years from here there is a planet not too dissimilar from ours or perhaps drastically different from ours with forms of life that we can’t even understand or conceptualize. Sci-fi movies and the like are riddled with bipedal, humanoid aliens because that is what is most palatable to most people’s cognitive capability. But recently, the film “Arrival” went a little further with their “aliens” who looked and behaved very differently from us, yet were quite “intelligent”. And I loved how they explored the concept of time not existing, since time is just a man made notion anyway. Who’s to say the same isn’t true for elephants or dolphins? Both are very “intelligent” species, at least from our perspective of measuring and assessing it, capable of complex social interaction and logic. And we are constantly discovering more and more about animals and how they behave on an intuitive and energetic level. To assume that we deserve more priority over them because we are at the top of the “food chain”, capable of inventing machines that destroy the very home planet we live on is preposterous. Yet daily we blindly play into this, get into our fossil fuel based transportation devices that do nothing but destroy our environment. We eat food that comes from an industry which is extinguishing environmental resources, torturing other beings and monopolizing precious land and habitats. We pollute every corner of this earth with our materialistic obsession over useless things. I could go on and on, but the point is this: Is our action and behavior really intelligence?
You are not special. You are a cog in the wheel of the universe. And right now, the human cog is defective and in need of a major redesign. Luminaries such as the Buddha or Gandhi have attempted to communicate similar ideas to mankind, but their messages mostly fall on deaf ears, sadly. And I do not mean to devalue certain extraordinary accomplishments of specific humans throughout history. The actions they’ve taken are certainly special, unique and wonderful. But it does not change anything about the fact they themselves are just matter and energy manifesting in the human form. Some may call the energy component a “soul”, which is fine if that helps you wrap your mind around it. But know then, that everything around us also has souls.
You are not special. The most intelligent we can be is to leave our environment, both physically and energetically, the same or more enriched than when we arrived and to protect and preserve the harmony of the universal subsistence of life. The key to a flourishing existence in harmony with all that surrounds us is compassion. Through compassion we find love. And through love, we become one with everything around us. This idea is at the core of every religious text ever written, yet human egos warp their meanings to fit their selfish agendas and greed. Our society’s cynical attitude and denigration towards compassion when it should be the very fuel that drives and ennobles us, is the dissonance we see manifesting daily. All religions boil down to this core truth – compassion into love. We are all connected by it and to everything around us, from the dirt and grass you walk on to the oxygen particles you breathe. Acknowledgment and respect for this universal truth would take us very far, collectively, in advancing towards peaceful harmony. But instead, we are slinging arrows of hate towards one another, slaughtering other beings, and destroying our home. This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing, and accordingly, we are heading in the wrong direction.
The Golden Rule
“Compassion is aptly summed up in the Golden Rule, which asks us to look into our own hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else. Compassion can be defined, therefore, as an attitude of principled, consistent altruism.” -Karen Armstrong, brainpickings.com
You are not special. My belief is that we are born with this instinctual knowledge, connected and intertwined with the fabric of the universe. And our society beats it out of us from just about every angle, unless you consciously swim against the stream, aware and deliberate. Recently we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. And as I hypocritically and reluctantly acquiesced to pressures from family members, I did not understand how or why she developed a fascination with birthdays. I realized it must be from school and other exposures to this cultural ritual, because it is certainly not something we had ever emphasized. But later in the day, something quite beautiful happened. We sat at the dinner table and she began using play-dough to “make” little birthday cupcakes with “candles” and wanted us to sing Happy Birthday for basically everyone that she knew. Mama, Papa, our dog, uncles, aunts, grandparents, close friends. She proceeded to say that it’s not just her birthday, it’s everyone’s birthday. That pure sentiment really touched and inspired me. It’s as if she intuitively knew that it’s not all about her, but rather about all of us. If there were a way to harness her joy and purity in that moment of sharing the bliss of a Happy Birthday sentiment with everyone, and inject it into humans all over the world, we would be much closer to life in harmony.
UNIVERSAL LAW OF HARMONY:
This law supersedes even the fundamental law of Karma, for harmony is the supreme potential of balance.
The purpose of Karma is to attain harmony.
If you throw a rock into a pond, you disturb the harmony of the pond, you are the cause, the effect is the splash and the ripples that flow out and back until harmony is restored.
Similarly, your disharmonious actions flow out into the Universe and back upon you, lifetime after lifetime, until eventually your own harmony is restored.
You are not special. We are in drastic need of a course correction and it starts with the individual. Each person’s acceptance and embracement of love and unity will bring us all together in a way that has only been dreamt about in utopic ideals. If we think not only about our own personal preservation and flourishing, but also take into account the prosperity of everyone and everything around us, the only direction we can move in is to abundantly thrive, together, as one. I think we’re capable of it, do you?
You are not special. We are all one.
DISCLAIMER: I am not preaching from a pulpit about this. I, too, am a guilty hypocrite when it comes to this issue. I succumb to societal, familial, and peer pressures, and by no means am I anywhere in the realm of perfect. BUT, that being said, the first step is awareness, followed by action. I have become aware and have taken whatever actions have been possible for me on my journey thus far and will continue to do so. The intention of this post is to bring awareness with the hopes of inspiring people taking action.
Great post by Brainpickings.com: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/01/08/karen-armstrong-compassion/
On this Father’s Day, I’m faced with a unique experience of it being my first without my father around while simultaneously being my first as a new father (to a human child that is, love ya Murph-dog!). A melding of various emotions, memories, both new and old dance circles around my thoughts. There exists an unsettled dissonance as I come to terms with the fragility and finality of life whilst embracing the new adventures that come along with the breaking dawn of a new one. Torn between the loss of the memories yet to come that I will never share with my late parents, yet thankful for the ones I already have that taught me the lessons the universe needed me to know and have made me who I am at this moment. Thank you Dad for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. I’m the better man and father for it.
When I’m in need of guidance, I like to look to nature. I recently read a post about male red foxes and how they not only tend to their foxy lady mamas constantly so the mama fox can tend to their adorable baby foxes, but they also teach valuable life lessons to their young. For the first month after the female gives birth, the father provides her with food every 4-6 hours so she can stay in the den to feed the young and keep them warm. When the offspring are older and able to scurry about, Papa Fox spends endless hours playing with his critters. When they’re about 3 months old, the father starts to teach them valuable life lessons. For instance, he will bury food under leaves and twigs around the den and encourage the offspring to find it, thus teaching them how to sniff out food and forage. These daddy foxes embrace their new role as fathers with an instinctual bliss and responsibility, no “how to” books, no Red Fox YouTube channel to refer to. They just naturally do what is right for their children.
I hope I’ll be able to trust my innate fatherly instincts and rise to the occasion like the male red fox. I hope I’ll be able to improve on the positive lessons I learned from my dad and not repeat the mistakes he made along the way. I hope.
I look forward to many more Father’s Days to come as I reflect on those that have passed. As with all new dads, the term “father” takes on a whole new meaning that one can only truly understand by becoming one. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, old and new. RIP Dad, wish you could have met your granddaughter, she’s an amazing beam of light, an old soul that is sure to to teach me as many lessons about life as I will be sure to teach her.