the singularity

I’ve never paid much attention to the idea of the singularity, which i understand to be the time when we can upload consciousness and be separate from our organic form. Sci Fi has never been my thing (and I may be totally wrong about what it means). Lately, though, I have been noticing that as a people, we do seem to be idealizing a world where everything goes according to a code that minimizes “undesireable” occurrances and replicates positive occurance after positive occurance, desiring to have a life where we walk from one garden path to the next. This shunning of the fullness of experience and myopic view of what is acceptable (i mean, really, how often do we mourn an occurrance only to find out it was the best thing that could have happened, ie, getting fired from a crappy, crappy job). I used to think it was Sci-Fi but now I am feeling it is what we, as a culture, are asking for as a way to avoid pain.

Avoiding pain makes all kinds of sense, it really does… I get it entirely and participated in said avoidance for decades. Avoid Pain At All Costs! That seems to be the marching cry of our modern world. But then there is this counter-cry: Hey! We’re Not Paying Attention to All of the Damage Our Way Of Life is Causing! This is complicated stuff, and I don’t pretend to have the answers. I do know, in my experience, that opening up to the fullness of experience has unplugged some of my desire for control and replaced it with curiosity, and that the peace of mind available from such a trade is more rewarding than even the biggest of my fleeting experiences of success with control. This may be old news to many people, but for recovering control freaks like me, it is a revelation. It also involves taking off the lenses of “things should go the way we want them to go” and by removing those lenses we can see the damage the endless pursuit of greater levels of attempted control have wrought.

I can feel it welling up in myself from time to time, especially in my intentions for my childrne: I want things to happen in this way so they don’t have to suffer. But is there a life without suffering? Is it possible? I know the Buddha’s father tried to keep suffering from his life without success. He was a king. I have far fewer resources.

I enjoy developing a sense of resilience in myself and in my kids. We had a real disappointment here this weekend, and there was grieving. And there was even a little too much contemplation of “how can we fix this” – something we noticed and unplugged so that the grief could run its course without reengineering the world to ‘make it better.’ We are capable of engaging with life in times of both disappointment and elation. We rarely can control which is coming our way, so we are attempting to build the capacity to receive either and both, just like we receive the benefits and costs of both winter and summer. Life is evolving through us, and life contains the multitudes.

I can see wanting to engineer the perfect life, defining it as without disappointment or pain. And it might even be possible. But, from what I can see in nature, pain often is a threshold to a greater level of living… if we engineer something, it is then defacto limited to our imagination – and while the human imagination is a marvelous thing, it can’t compare to the intricacy of creation, the seamless (though sometimes violent) interdependence of hundreds of thousands of life forms, migration patterns, soil aeration, etc. ┬áThe majesty of nature humbles me, and makes me grateful I am a part of it. There was a time when my arrogance would’ve lept at the challenge to engineer a more perfect world, but that was a time when my understanding of the fauna in the world contained the couple of dozen or so species, most of which I knew through zoos. So naive. So certain of her wisdom.

I truly believe all of life is God expressing, regardless of what it looks like. The singularity may be the most natural progression in the world. All I know is that I want to honor the unfolding of something so vast and creative it takes my breath away regularly. and I’m part of it. a part that can notice, and appreciate, and wonder. I like that very much, even though it includes some objectively unpleasant experiences, too.