What you seek, you shall never find.
For when the Gods made man,
They kept immortality for themselves.
Fill your belly.
Day and night make merry.
Let the days be full of joys.
Love the child that holds your hand.
Let your wife delight in your embrace.
For these alone are the concerns of man.
— The Epic of Gilgamesh
I was attending an academic conference last year and went to see a presentation about… well, not entirely sure what it was about, but what I do remember was something the presenter said. Again, the details of the quote given, whether it can be attributed to Aristotle or Socrates, or even Plato are sketchy, and in the end inconsequential; it was old and wise, and that was enough for me. Essentially it boiled down to the notion that a true philosopher does not write, he lives.
I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy throughout my life railing against this or that, being underwhelmed by our political classes and overwhelmed by the complex abstractedness of much of academic thinking. I’m skeptical – to the point of cynicism in some cases - of theoretical thinking and those that claim to know something more than I do. I have a definite anti-authoritarian bent, and - for better or worse – am deeply suspicious that the world around me isn’t quite real.
We seem to be living for tomorrow, looking for something that’s just around the corner but always seemingly just out of reach. We can never be satisfied. There’s just too much riding on it, isn’t there?
A society based on the fulfillment of immediate material needs can never be anything more than its latest gadget, its latest convenience. All the toys to keep us quiet. Like little children preoccupied in the back seat never looking around to see where we’re actually going. We don’t have to particularly care as long as we can play Angry Birds.
The sheer hypocrisy, the superficiality, the material needs. The need to make a mark. The steady march towards immortality. Or oblivion?
I choose neither. I choose life now, experience, happiness, joy, sorrow, pain and suffering. I choose a life of adventure and learning, of hard work and privation, of feasts and parties. I choose the life of the living. Not the walking dead.
Okay, a little too heavy. I’m getting carried away…ah, hell.
There is nothing more than this now, than this grand experiment of society and culture and economy and love. We are neither rewarded nor punished in the next life, only in this one. Justice is a goal, not a right. Happiness is only one of many emotions.
We have this, and only this. Quit holding your breath.
I’ve often and regularly dreamt of getting off this merry-go-round and just living a decent life – whatever that is.
But how do I do that?
(Yah, I’d join the movement if there was one I could believe in; yah, I’d break bread and wine if there was a church I could believe in. Acrobat.)
How to get my boots on the ground and dirty? How, despite all my good intentions, despite the driving need to in fact do something, can I translate those thoughts into actions?
So instead of talk, I’ve decided to act. I moved to a farm.
I’m going to be a farmer.
So, if you’re at all interested in the grand experiment that is yours truly moving way outside his comfort zone to be immersed in a world that I have not a clue about, then why not join me at Farmm Blogg for exciting adventures, ridiculous stories, and maybe even a small glimmer of wisdom and learning.
Check out Mutton Monologues at http://farmmblogg.wordpress.com/