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Freedom’s just another word for…

What’s the first thing you ask yourself when you wake up in the morning?

In a dialogue between Piglet and Winnie the Pooh, Piglet claims that his first thought is of what wonderful adventures await him. Pooh says his first thought is of breakfast, whereby he believes his and Piglet’s thoughts amount to pretty much the same thing.

Many people in these times of crisis wake up from a troubled sleep and the first thing they experience is fear. Fear of the future. There are so many frightening things to worry about – food shortages, governments becoming more and more totalitarian, rampant inflation, war, rising fuel costs, prolonged pandemics, long-term side effects of medications – the list goes on and on.

And some of us ask ourselves: how can we circumvent a decidedly unfavourable future, what can we do to prevent the planet, or at least human existence on it, from going belly-up?

Perhaps you have heard the phrase attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Sure, it sounds wise. But what does it really mean? What was that thin brown guy who looked like Ben Kingsley telling us to do?

I asked Funky the Flying Monkey, who is my advisor when it comes to things too deep for my rapidly shrinking brain, what he thought. Funky looked at me with that look of scorn he is so good at. He didn’t even deign to jump down off the climber and speak to me eye to eye, primate to primate, but looked down on me from on high while he told me what he thought.

“The future, the future. Why is everybody so bloody fixated on the future? The future is overrated. Bah. Forget the future.”

“Forget the future?! But look at what the future has in store for us! All the terrible things happening in the world today are ruining our future. And what if an even more terrible future comes, like Schwab’s Great Reset, or Fauci’s World of Medical Tyranny or Huxley’s Brave New World or The Return of Velour Tracksuits?”

“Stop right there. Your brain’s starting to smoke from the friction. The future is not going to ‘come’. It can’t. It doesn’t exist.”

“Doesn’t exist? That can’t be right Funky. I’ve got a calendar, I can show it to you, and all of my future appointments for this and next year are marked and planned. Like here: March 31st, ten days from now in the future, at 9.00 o’clock, meeting with my seminar cook to plan a seminar we’re holding in October, in the future.”

“Just saying it over and over doesn’t make it true. Doesn’t make it exist. That’s thinking like a politician, or a marketing agent unable to find any real excuse for their product. ‘Repeat after me: this handy piece of gold-plated dogshit will change your life and bring you ecstatic moments of joy around the clock. All that for only 49.99. Available at your local WhaleMart’. Ugh! The future’s an urban myth. It never comes.”

“Okay, if it never comes, if the future doesn’t exist, how is it I can plan an appointment for 9 o’clock on March 31st?”

“What has that got to do with anything?”

“It’s in the future. I’ve fixed a date in the future.”

“There you go repeating the word again and italicizing it. Where is this thing you call the future? Where does it exist?”

“On my calendar.”

“And the unicorns on your calendar?”

“They don’t exist. They’re just thought up… Oh, I get it! They’re in my mind. The unicorns are in my mind, they’re not really anywhere.”

“Like the future. Or the past for that matter. Look at Pooh and Piglet.”

“They don’t exist either? Wait – you’ve read the book?”

“Of course I’ve read the book. A.A. Milne was on the curriculum at Monkeyshines University. The thing about Pooh and Piglet is that both of them are aware enough to realize that the future, in their case breakfast as an adventure and adventure as an adventure, is manifested by acting in the present. Or more simply: the future IS nothing other than the unfolded present. However, the linear way in which your human mind grasps time usually prevents you from acknowledging this.”

“The future is all in my head?”

“Where else would it be?”

“Huh?”

“Are all homo saplings as dense as you?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Good. Then write this down, maybe someone reading it will get it: As a more or less conscious animal experiencing the world through the lens of a linear sense of time, what you call ‘the present’ is all you have to work with. So, if you want to change what you think of as the future, your only choice is to change the present.”

“Change the present?”

“Is that all you wrote down?”

“No, no, I wrote it all down. But let me get this straight; you mean if I want something to happen in the future, I’ve gotta make it happen now, in the present?”

“Close, but you aren’t getting a cigar.”

“Hmmm. Oh, I get it. It’s like the law of attraction!”

“The law of attraction? Electromagnetic forces?”

“No, no, it’s the exact opposite of a magnet. To attract good things, you’ve got to have good thoughts.”

“You’re making that up.”

“No no, it’s a natural law, or maybe it’s a philosophy or a concept that states: ‘like attracts like’. If I have positive thoughts, I’ll attract positive things. If I have negative thoughts, I’ll attract negative things.”

“You must think a lot of ugly thoughts.”

“Very funny.”

“Does it have anything to do with the fact that you’re attracted to females with very little body hair? Kind of disgusting, if you ask me. It’s no wonder you’re the only primates who wear clothes. Yuck.”

“There was a book, and a film.”

“Oh, well then. It must be true, right? No need for me to explain any further. Read the book. Watch the film. You’ll be enlightened immediately.”

“I get it, you’re being sarcastic. Okay, can you explain it again?”

“I’ll try. Let’s say you want to go to a party and you want to wear your fuzzy brown sweatshirt.”

“I don’t have a fuzzy brown sweatshirt.”

“You should. It would make you look almost presentable. And cover up the fact that you don’t have enough body hair to make you attractive to nubile females. But just for argument’s sake, let’s say you do have a positively stunning fuzzy brown sweatshirt. And you want to wear it to the party. But you’re wearing that Che Guevara t-shirt. What do you do?”

“That’s easy, I take off the t-shirt and put on the sweatshirt.”

“Really? You don’t wait for the magical appearance of a future in which you’re wearing an attractive fuzzy brown sweatshirt just because you’re thinking attractive thoughts about being more hirsute? You don’t meditate on positive sweatshirts and visualize your appearance at a party in proper attire?”

“No, that would be silly. Oh, I get it. If I want something for the future that’s different from what I have now, I have to change it myself.”

“Of course. Because you only have the ‘now’. There is nothing but the ‘now’. I thought I had made that clear.”

“It sounds too simple. There must be a catch.”

“The catch is that you still believe the future exists. You don’t see the future as a construct of the limiting structure of your mind.”

“But what about my worries about the future? Are you saying I should just deny all of the signs telling me what’s coming?”

“Focussing on and acting in the present has nothing to do with denial. Allow your present personality to experience the present in an open, focussed way, and allow for action or inaction. Your actions are part of the present continuum in which your consciousness experiences life.”

“Don’t worry, be happy?”

“You’re quoting embarrassing lines from songs? Really?”

“Well, this whole business is so abstract that no one will read this to the end. Can’t you just sum it up? Something like Carpet D.M.?”

“Horace shit.”

“What?”

“If you’re going to pun, I’ll just pun right back.”

“Why don’t you just tell me what it means in practice? Your words don’t really give me any instructions on what to do. How am I to be the change I wish to see? What do I have to do?”

“Do what your heart tells you to do. Stop compromising your present for a non-existent future. Fix your awareness in the ever-unfolding present without fear.”

“And then the future will follow?”

“I give up!”

Wait, wait. I’ll rephrase that. What do I gain by following my heart and uncompromisingly focussing on the present?”

“Freedom.”

Published by expatesorat

Nix da. Nada. Nothing to be said. At least, not by me.

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