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Monthly Archives: January 2010

I don’t consider myself much of a dreamer or a visionary. I mean, I’ve always had dreams, but I’ve never seen them as that.

There was this peculiar dream I had a few weeks before I eclipsed 20 years. I was awake in the car, and the dream was about a man. I pictured him walking onto stage — his stroll, a complex of grace and urgency, swiftness and precision. We were in audience, and we watched him make his way from stage left to stage right. It was silent, save for the soft click of his shoes. You couldn’t hear anyone breathing — but that was because no one was. We held our breath as we watched and counted his steps, each one exacting purpose and awe.

He approached center stage, looked down (his side still facing the audience), turned his head, and then walked toward us. He came off the stage, and his foot touched earth. His foot touched our level; he came onto our level. The stage, that chasm that separates the celebrity from the mass, had been crossed, and he initiated the move. He belonged on the stage, but his defiant act proved his nature and build: Human with a spark of the divine.

We watched in silence as his foot set on mission — straight through the crowd, right up the center as if bisecting a circle down its longest diameter. The pressure of his step exacted something mysterious. His passing stirred the air into secret whispers. His presence was a gift — one that we hardly deserved.

It’s a fanciful image, and it was one I saw awake. Among other things, it was a natural progression. I saw the man, and I knew his movements were going to be spectacular; they were going to be the emphasis. He possessed power and influence, and he did not waste the commodities. His walk elicited magic, and his passing turned the air from the trivial into prophecy. So human, yet so different.

I want to be this man — a man that the world will watch; whose actions are graced by the divine, sourced by the divine; whose movement is desired, and whose movement moves movements.

This man was Michael Jackson, recording Thriller at 24. He was Mozart, writing music that remains relevant at 12. He was Alexander the Great, inducing Hellenization at 21, and American boys gaining a foothold in Western Europe at 18. He was Rosa Parks, affirming herself on that Montgomery bus at 50, and Jacqueline du Pre, definitively emoting the Elgar at 24. He was you and me, my brother and your sister, our father and our mother, our lover and friend.

This man is waiting to burst from within us. He’s been waiting in me for 20 years. Let’s not keep him any longer.

Final Note: You have power and you have influence. You have been called to something unique, to persons that only you can reach, and to something that only you can be passionate about. There is a shoe that will only fit you, and a jacket with the measurements that wrap your body. There is an element of transcendence in all of us. Find it, and unleash it. Nothing will stop you because no one will be in your way — we will be watching, wishing we could be you.

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Sometimes when I’m in bed trying to fall asleep, I notice that my hand finds itself inadvertently over the left of my chest, where the heart lies. I lie there and feel the consistent and infallible thuds, the reminder that this muscle ceases to abort operation. I imagine the fluctuation of the tricuspid and bicuspid, and the whisper of life’s toxin rushing past. The heart is a phenomenal organ — it’s function, even moreso.

It will never rest. Until you have depleted the last molecule of cellular energy in your reservoir, your heart will continue to dance inside your chest. One day it will fail, but until then it won’t. Until then, it can’t.

In light of the ancient tradition, we may have an easiness in picturing a philosopher as a man on the streets interrogating the masses by individual, analyzing existing thoughts and beliefs with the intent to discover the core of every endeavor.

In our lives, we are the philosophers that we dream in the ancient streets. We, the thinkers, perpetuate the philosophical tradition. We are the begotten, the sons and daughters of thinkers past, joined by contemporary brothers and sisters. We are the kin of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates; Schopenahuer, Aquinas, and Descartes.

Philosophy, I think — no coincidence intended — is a portal. If you wrestle with something in thought, you’ve fought half the battle. Contemplating all scenarios and consequences, understanding all mechanisms and reverberations, and foreseeing all repercussions will give you the high ground. You’ll be better prepared and confident.

The pursuit of truth, in my experience, is often reflective. In academic philosophy, there is the debate whether we learn from experience or reason. I suppose I would ally myself more largely with the experience camp, but reason is certainly not without its dues. Experience examined with reason becomes golden — that’s how you can reveal truth. That’s called reflection.

Keep a diary or journal and note significant events and thoughts in your life. Read over them a year later and reflect on those same entries. Look for changes in your thoughts and approaches to events. Were you swelled in emotion during some event, and, a year later, now realize it? What does that mean for you in the future? Did you enjoy doing one thing back then, and now find the exact activity a drive through the doldrums? It’s fascinating to watch yourself grow. It’s very rewarding, too.

I like to visit The Big Picture. It’s a news photo-blog. The pictures are always phenomenal, and they’re a great way of keeping current. It’s an ode to the axiom that sometimes an image says more than text.

There’s a world outside of Milwaukee, the United States, and North America. The photos at The Big Picture are really magical if you think about it. How many of us will ever be able to visit Afghanistan or India? And yet, huge things are happening over there. When you’re brushing your teeth (I hope you brush) something is happening in Berlin, Cairo, and Sydney.

Maybe the right word is enlightening. When you think that something is happening to someone else as you exist/live ((Interesting to decide which word to use.)), it just feels lighter. It’s like you don’t focus so much on yourself anymore, and you’re sharing the burden of self-focus with someone else who is coincidentally brushing his or her teeth.

Note: The latest two entries on TBP, as of the date of this draft, share photos from the crisis in Haiti. The images at TBP keep me honest since I find it easy to take the news on the television lightly. It’s certainly unfortunate what happened in Haiti. Though in no way am I attempting to diminish the disaster, I think that Haiti is a morbid, albeit more extreme, reminder of the horrors elsewhere in the world — a culmination, if you will, of the calamities that remain helpless and unwitnessed to.

My thanks and respect to everyone aiding in this relief effort, and my thoughts and prayers to those in Haiti.