Artificial Order

When are the times that you are most in the moment? I find that this happens most when you’re experiencing something new, for example, being in a new environment. Your physical senses are heightened because they have to appraise the new situation, your inner thoughts are pushed back to make room. This happens more when you’re closer to nature because a hundred thousand grass blades swaying in the wind generate a multitude more variations than the monotonous texture of man-made tarmac.

The artificial, the man-made, strives to create order. We build symmetrical houses, streets and cities to live in and we create perfectly flat, smooth and evenly colored materials to make those things from. This takes out the chaos and randomness from life, and so the mind is forced to wander around in circles, focusing inward on itself rather than outward at the the world around it which it has already fully explored.

Starved from the variations of the real world and left to focus inward on itself the mind slips into perturbation and anxiety as it begins to conjure expectations upon expectations of what’s to come of it. And so as a result we invent a multitude of diversions to save us from the monotony of the world we ourselves created.

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“For even falsehood, uttered by the tongue of man, seemed like truth and light before this hopelessly-deaf and unresponsive silence.”

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Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

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