Seeing that which is

SeeingthatWhichis

It is a cool morning. The breezes smooth over the skin. One can hear the chattering of people from a distance. The birds are singing, enjoying the coolness so rare in this time of the year. Every morning the things of nature become afresh, unburdened with the many yesterdays. For human beings, however, the worries, anxieties, hatred, success, the countless memories of things one has been through, remain to direct one's life.

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Prejudice seems to be all over the world. It pervades the air. In any culture, any tradition, any country, within a family, a school, a company, a village, prejudice is there. There is the prejudice toward one's skin, place of birth, appearance, ways of talking, tradition, and so on. And in what is more commonly known now, prejudice toward sexuality, gender, age, ability, race, ethnic origin, and so on. And if one is sensitive to the violence that prejudice has brought, the animosity, war, hurt that is the product of prejudice, and maybe one has also gone through it, experienced it, and these are actually happening everyday, then one must inevitably ask, how can prejudice come to an end?

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It is hot outside. The sun brazes over the concrete and glasses, and made everything bright and burning. One who is used to living in the city might not pay much attention, but if someone were new to all the traffic and lights and the burning temperature coming from the ground, they might get overwhelmed quite quickly. There are some trees outside, under which the shadow provides the few sanctuaries from overexposure. Inside, the air conditioning is not too intense, and a few lone customers sit at separate tables, occupied by their own business on the smartphones. Pop music is playing, and this whole place seems dead, without any energy, as if an overheat dog was about to draw its last breath on the roadside.

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We have such peculiar ideas about order. We look at a street, and say it must be clean. Although to be clean of what, is up to many opinions. It could be clean of dirt, which always seem to gather. Or to be clean of people, or a particular kind of people, and from there arises hatred and fences. Or to be clean of traffic, but we don't seem to mind that at all. We also want the house to be orderly, to be clean, to wash the clothes. We put on perfumes to smell nice, because somehow smells of the body is totally unnatural and detested. Then, in our own minds, we dictate order. We say we must have certain knowledge, beliefs, prejudices. We must see the world a certain way. We must have certainty in the mind, so we predict and control. We are afraid of the unknown, the uncontrollable, so we make life into a repetition. Do this everyday. Have good habits. Or escape into the same pleasure, anger, work when a crisis comes. We have been through all this, haven't we? And do we have order?

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It is hot and humid. One cannot see the clouds, which seem to blend into each other. It is just after noon, and the birds are mostly quiet. On the second floor of a cafe, there is a patio. It is quite a popular spot to take photographs, as two young women are posing and capturing at the corner. The weather is not so nice for photographs. The sky isn't blue, and the light is too harsh. But all that might be adjusted with editing, and the final photograph might still look quite stunning.

Our life is represented. We might like or dislike it, but our life has become a picture on a screen, a moving image in the theater. We take representation seriously. That photograph, which we might post on social media, is going to show, tell, represent what our life is. So, we usually smile, put on makeup, wear the beautiful dresses, and pose. We might want to look nonchalant, carefree, or we might want to appear thoughtful, considerate. We put on a look, an expression, just for that moment. We wish to capture something beautiful, meaningful, and show to the rest of the world. Therefore, our representation of life is tremendously important to us.

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Effort is our way of life. We make effort to most things in life. In waking hours, we try to work, to be happy, to make money, to acquire more things. In education, we make effort to learn, to gain good marks. In work we make effort to achieve a higher position, or to just get by. And when we relax, we make effort to find something relaxing. We make effort to entertain ourselves. We watch movies, short videos, listen to music, or watch opera, musicals, and we have a thousand ways to entertain. And when the entertainment ends, we make effort to seek more, or not wanting to have more, because tomorrow there is still work to do, and one mustn't stay up too late, we make effort to suppress the desire for more.

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I think nature is an extraordinarily important part of life. I don't know if we are sensitive to the beauty of nature. When the rain is coming, the dragonflies congregate lowly in the air. When the wind breezes through a giant lake, and one can hold that entire movement of water in one glance. Or if we are aware of the stray dog, the pain it has been through, the marks that were left on its body. Or if we look at a little bug, the way it desperately holds onto the surface when the wind threatens to blow it away. Nature, if we observe it quietly, with a sense of leisure and inner space, is imbued with color and vitality. Its beauty is quite indescribable, nameless, but we have named it endlessly, through biology and botany and so on.

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The sound of rain is fresh and welcoming. The sky has turned very dark, and distant thunders can be heard. No one is outside, since the rain is getting heavy, and there is an ancient fear of all-encompassing darkness and lightening. Whenever the rain comes, it washes everything clean. The breeze is cool, even in this time of the year.

The rain gets heavier. The pine tree outside is waving quite heavily, as the rain and the wind are unrelenting. It sounds like nothing outside can escape. One notices the silence, from the birds, the cats, the people, as if everything has gone into hiding. Even the trees have withdrawn into themselves. The lightening is almost constant. The rain has come out of nowhere, without a warning.

We are burdened by the past, traditions, culture. We are tied to them. We commit to them, identify with them. We are the living expression of the past. Therefore we are never free, spontaneous. There is always a string, some kind of attachment, some fear of losing what is known and familiar. Rarely do we allow the past to be washed away, after which life becomes fresh and new.

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Don't we all want some sort of permanence? We might seek it in a relationship, in love, in possessions, a house, a car, a hobby, a career, and so on. But don't we all want something to last? It might be a friend, a person in love, and the thought of that relationship one day perishing can be devastating. After all, we have all seen or experienced this. The death of a loved one, of a pet, a sudden disaster that ended everything we cling to. Such changes are so common in life, as it might be a basic law of life, that we developed tremendously complex methods to prevent change. Our buildings resist wind, fire, water, and stand almost completely still in the cities. Our looks also. We have hair gel, makeup, and all kinds of tricks to make our appearance permanent throughout the day. Sights are fleeting, so we take photographs. Sounds are fleeting, so we record music. Beauty is fleeting so we immortalize it through sculpture, painting, literature, poems, and so on.

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