Friday, November 12, 2004

Relationships: What does it take?

The other day I was having lunch with my very cool gay boss, whom I often strike up interesting conversations about life and the like. The conversation at some point turned to relationships and how one was to truly know whether that individual would be the right one. This question had actually been on my mind for some time. The seed was planted a week or so ago after a dinner conversation between 4 old high school buddies of mine, where our conversation focused on the idea of compromise and sacrifice.

Let me start by saying that nothing is truly forever. Now, before I get any nasty comments that I am demeaning or devaluing relationships, let me just explain.

We are constantly changing, dealing and adapting to new situations and environments. Is it realistic then for us to believe that our attitude or feelings toward one another will always be the same? As emotive sentient beings, we are prone to mood changes and fluxes in our attitudes and belief systems. However, having said this, I also believe that a relationship based on mutual respect, honesty and love can overcome nearly any barrier. This does not mean that things will be easy, but the effort would be the glue that binds. It would be arrogant to assume that a relationship will always be the same from the get-go, because that would assume a person does not grow and evolve. Who would want that? I certainly wouldn't. The idea of change to me is exciting. It is a path that I look forward to, and if I so happen to meet someone along the way, who is willing to share and grow in those experiences than all the better.

This brings me to compromise and sacrifice. To many people, they are one and the same, but I believe that they are fundamentally different. Compromise is something everyone does out of love and respect to his or her partner, in an effort to balance or come to a common ground. Sacrifice on the other hand is done solely by an individual to appease their partner. When you sacrifice too much in a relationship, you often begin to regret and confuse sacrifice for love. You cannot give away so much of yourself to others, where you are soon nothing but a skeleton of what you once were. A healthy relationship allows each individual to grow separately and to bring to the relationship the value of his or her own growth and discoveries. It is usually these personal discoveries that make the relationship richer and deeper.

At this point, I can imagine the questions and comments. I feel the rolling of the eyes.

“How can this guy, who hasn’t been in a long-term relationship, know what it takes to be in one?”

Well, I never said I did. Nevertheless, I do know that I am not willing to lower my bar to accept and settle for something that is not for me. I am not willing to sacrifice my ideals to be with someone who expects me to change and be less than I am. If that is the expectation, then the relationship will be doomed because I will never be good enough in the eyes of the one wanting change. In fact, if my partner wanted or expected me to change, I would then question what it was that he was trying to accomplish through this change. Is he trying to fulfill his own needs? His own inadequacies? His own void?

Having said this, here is a quick statement of fact: I don't really know whether I will ever meet a life partner.

It is one of those elusive questions, but it does not bother me the same way it does for others, not because I don't want one, but because I don't know whether I would be a good husband (yet). My own realisation of this allows me to delve deeper into my own psyche as to why this may be, and allows me to work on it should the actual event arise. I suppose part of it all, is that I don’t need someone to fulfill some void in my life; or rather I don’t want somebody to fulfill a void in my life. I can only be a fully committed, participating husband or partner if I am truly honest and happy myself. It is all about my philosophy in life. It is about who I am and who I believe I can be.
It is about the journey.
It is about the potential.

Anyone up for the ride?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Has everyone forgotten?

I have to say that I am terribly dissappointed in the lack of Rememberance for those who sacrificed their lives in War. I have been reading posts all day with the same sentiment. So, when I realised at 11:11:11 am that my company did not announce anything over the PA system I was aghast. I took my moment to reflect and continued my day. The company I work for employs over 3000 people at our campus and with all the technology and know how, they were unable to announce something over the PA or have a pop-up in our Outlook calender to remind everyone to take a moment of much valued reflection.

There are so many of us, our families or friends, who have been touched by war. My parents lived through it, my mothers father even died in a concentration camp. When we don't take a moment to remember, we fail to honour the memory and spirit of those who died. Those memories need to be cherished and reflected upon. I am 31 and when I realise that thousands of lives ended far younger than myself, I am heartbroken. I think about the lives that could have been, and the families and futures that could have been.

At least take a damned few minutes to relise what you have. Pay your respects.

A little soul searching

This past weekend I attended the funeral of my best friends grandfather. Though I did not know him, I know the family well, and consider them my own. It was a sombering experience, not because I haven’t been to funerals before, but because death always awakens ones internal conversations about life and what is important.

Expectedly, the whole experience began to churn the wheels in my head about the concept of life and death.

I left the funeral heavy with thought, and realised that my views on life and how to live it have become entwined with my ever changing and growing philosophy. Intrinsically, I believe that introspection and questioning of one’s philosophy brings greater “enlightenment” and happiness, so all these questions and insights are not uncommon to me. When I was in University studying Psychology, I began to resist the whole clinical evaluation of patients and began to assert that without counselling on a more introspective philosophical level, one would never attain true happiness. I do not subscribe to any true “philosophy” because I am not well educated on them to make a formed opinion. What I know of Idealism, Dualism or Plato etc, is all very minimal. By no means am I a Philosophy major, nor do I pretend to be. Those books I have read, have faded long into the mess I call my memory. Despite all my rambling, I do have a somewhat convoluted point, or logic. The logic and rationale that I have, is that there is no one way of approaching life and there is no way of rationalising the human spirit. It is far too complicated to understand.

The one thing that is not hard to understand, is that we are a reflection of our soul and what is happening there. Sadness, anger, hatred, love or happiness manifest themselves in the way we do things, and how we interact with the world. So, why not work on those things to achieve what it is we want? It is safe to say that most people wish for happiness then sadness, or love to hatred. But this is something that only comes from a concerted effort and from observance. Nothing comes out of nothing. One must observe and reflect upon the things that they do and why they do them to move forward in life.

On that thought, I believe strongly that to attain happiness and peace in our lives, we need to face the issues that confront us. We cannot turn away from them , believing that they will go away. If we do not attempt to actualise and fix the things that we believe are wrong within us, we cannot in turn help others. The greatest challenge in the world is to face up to your inadequacies and failures because we are always judging others, but never judging ourselves.

A part of me always says that I am too analytical about my cerebral processing, but I guess it is my attempt to continue to understand myself and the world around me. I am constantly questioning every thing that I know (or shall I say, what I think I know). I begin to argue one thought, but suddenly see the holes in it and begin to re-structure those ideas. I am always in a constant flux, never truly adhering to any one idea. I often find that I begin an idea, riding that thought like a derailed car, just to see where it goes. In fact, most of my cerebral ramblings take root this way, and they never seem to come to the conclusion that I expect.
To compound all this, a friend who was at the funeral started to chat with me about the idea of Soul and Corporeal Body and whether I believed there was an afterlife, or if we indeed contained a soul or spirit within us. The question wasn’t really odd considering my friend is an Acadaemic studying philosophy, but it was asked at a time when I was already being particularly introspective. I told him that I didn’t necessarily believe in a “heaven” or place where our souls went, but that I did believe that we continued to exist in some form or the other. I did not delve into it, as it was not the time, nor the place. The thought however, has been sommersaulting in my mind for the past week.

I obviously can’t be sure of this, but I do not believe our soul or spirit (whatever you may call it) goes to any one particular place. Everthing in this world and Universe is made up of a number of essential things, matter, atoms, molecules, etc. When we die, these things do not simply vanish into nothingness, but are absorbed back into Nature. Our body decomposes and becomes food or fodder for plants, insects and animals, which are then consumed by others, etc, etc. Essentially, we are all a part of each other. As I said earlier, Nothing comes of nothing. We each contain a piece of something that once was part of someone or something else, whether it is the air breathe, or the food we eat. It may seem somewhat disgusting, but that is the reality of it all. Everything is recycled. There is more to what is going on in this world then we think. We far too often fall into this microscopic view of the world, failing to realise that we belong to a bigger picture. Somehow, we are re-absorbed back into this macro-collective.

I had this crazy idea once that everybody we ever met in life was left with a bit of ourselves (good or bad). I believe when I said it, I referred to it as an imprint, and that our memories are essentially an embodiement of our spiritual self. Those that we remember have imprinted more strongly then those that we don’t. The idea is that they will carry a bit of ourselves in them, to carry on our memory and to take with them a bit of our spirit or soul to enrich their own life. Therefore, why would you treat someone badly so that they had a bad memory of you? Maybe the purpose of life is to spread our soul and spirit in as many places and things as possible. I suppose it is somewhat of a karmic theory, but it seems to work for me.

Anyhow, all these working theories are up for argument, but they are the fundamental philosophies with which I guide my life. I don’t expect others to believe or follow them, but they are a good starting place. I always look forward to debate and conversation about these things, so please pipe up.

P.S. On a side not, if our souls are absorbed into this macro-collective, or back into nature, then does that mean that we become both organic and inorganic spirits? If over a thousand years our bodies are layered in sediment and dug up in the form of some rock, like the dinosaurs, then does that mean part of our soul or spirit is in the rock?

Something to think about….or maybe not.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

A response to a reader

So I realise it has been some time since I have written anything, but I didn't think I would get lambasted for it. Apparently, there are a few people who have a lot of time on their hands who read my blog for whatever reason. So, when I neglected my duties to regale you all with my life stories, I received a personal message from a reader who suggested that if I wasn't able to "keep up with your [the] stories" then I should shut it down. Though this whole experience has somewhat inflated my ego, knowing that there are people actually reading my refuse, I was also slighty put off. Anyhow, this is what s/he wrote;

Dear Epicurist (Ms. Wu?)

I find it a little rude and neglectful that you do not keep up with your stories. If your going to blog and have a site up, you should write on a regular basis for your readers. Sometimes I come to your site and you blog daily, then I have to wait 3 weeks beofre your next one. I am not saying its your fault, but really, how hard could it be? Other people can do it.


Dear Anon,

First off, I thank you for enlightening me. I am truly very sorry for having failed my readers. I really should be more attentive, and far more consistent with my blogs regarding my bizarre stories dealing with people. I guess I didn't realise that my blogs were so important that you needed to write me a letter chastising me for it. I guess my full time job and busy life really shouldn't take precedence, while I entertain your mind. Since this is the first time I have written directly to any one individual through my blog, will you consider yourself lucky, and now leave me alone? Will you forgive me? Will you me?

Until anon...or at least until my next blog.

Cheers and thanks for reading.