- Education and Science
I AM THAT WHICH I AM
One would think the words are self-evident. Perhaps even rhetorical and obvious. Yet the more I encounter life, the more I recognize how few of us know where, who or even why we are. Somewhere through life we became untethered from that which we we want to be, hope to be or need to be. We adopt causes thinking they will give us purpose only to be disappointed when we find that they are not solutions but enigmas in their own right. How is it that we have drifted so far from the core of our existence that we have become strangers in time merely passing through the cosmos of eternity? Today I viewed a website that is recruiting the surviving million that will escape the Mayan Calendar and Lost Books of Nostradamus predictions of worldwide catastrophe on December 21, 2012. It basically was encouraging those willing to believe in what they had to peddle to abandon everything else so they could be one of the lucky few. I recognised how sad it was that man has somehow become this creature so willing to grasp at straws that he/she will willingly abandon the other six billion people in order to pursue the "World Ends Tomorrow" doomsayers recruiting for their cult. We no longer know what we are let alone who we are. The Mayans had no magical formula for counting the days to the end of the world. They couldn't even predict the extinction of their own civilization to the warring Aztecs. If they couldn't see their own tomorrow they certainly couldn't see ours. And Nostradamus, as good as he was, should never be held up as the paragon of prophecy because we are the one's providing the meanings and interpretations to our own age when as I wrote in Shadows of Trinity, he had no intention of those particular quatrains that I sight to be used any further than 30 years into the future in order to save his only son, Caesar. Read the book and you will see that the quatrains fit much better to the events in 1588 and 89 than they ever did to today's world. So the question becomes not what should I believe but "Who Am I?"
Once upon a time "I AM" had meaning and substance. God knew what it meant when he spoke to Moses from the burning bush declaring, "I AM THAT WHICH I AM." He was the everything, the totality of existence. There at the beginning, the middle and the end. There was no doubt in his omnipotent mind of his purpose or his existence. And for the longest time mankind was satisfied that it could be nurtured by its relationship with the Almighty and be certain of its own purpose and existence. We didn't need to know our own purpose as long as we could live our lives through His. But in the end, all sentient beings have to find their own purpose in the cosmos and as man evolved, his relationship with God changed and he thirsted and hungered for more. He ate that apple from the Tree of Knowledge not because it was forbidden but because it was his destiny.
Following the Renaissance, the reassurance of purpose and fulfillment became lost in a changing world of science and exploration. That which had grounded us to our past was no longer capable of securing us in the future. Doubts arose and soon people felt lost in the propensity for dynamic change. A new edict was required and thankfully Descartes gave man the ring upon which to grasp and find safe harbour. "I THINK THEREFORE I AM" and once again mankind had something to believe in, a value system upon which to ground his morality. He had himself, the limitless boundaries of his own mind and he reveled in the greatness that man could aspire to. But what Descartes failed to comprehend is that the definition of thinking is different for all of us. Thinking is often influenced by desire and since desires can range from the mundane to the unthinkable, then thinking is not sufficient to justify existence.
How long could mankind believe in itself? Not very long before the doubts arose once more and he felt lost in expanse of the universe. With science the ability to destroy and obliterate became increasingly simplistic and soon that same principle which Descartes espoused to the glorification of mankind was now threatening its very survival. The more man thought, the more powerful became his engines of destruction. Egos and passions became the primary thoughts and thinking became nothing more than synonymous with evil. The Great Wars came and now more than ever mankind pondered his place and purpose in the creation. Science was a false god, feeding the wants and desires but failing to nourish the individual's need to know, 'Why?'. Why are we here at all? Why do we do what we do? Why do I feel all alone in a world teeming with billions of people? And as soon as we fed our doubts we could know longer find our existence since we were no longer grounded in a rational world.
In turn we become desperate and when all appeared lost, there came a single spark of enlightenment from an inconspicuous voice nestled between the two great wars. He represesnted the courage, the youth and vitality of the best of those nations that fought against the tyrrany of the oppressors. He rode the seas, daring the elements and braving the storms of heaven and earth. And though his voice was soft he spoke those immortalize words that Moses first heard from the Creator himself. "I YAM WHAT I YAM". So said Popeye the Sailor Man. Was that truly the best we had to offer? Was this really our answer to our place in the universe. Could we resolve all our problems with a can of spinach and a good right cross to spread fear amongst those that threatenened us? Obviously we thought we could as we built up our right cross with missles and enough warheads to ensure we can destroy our world a thousand times over. And "I Am" became completed by the sentiment that you better agree or otherwise you will bear the brunt of my wrath, or "I Am That Which Can Make Your Life a Living Hell!"
There is actually a moral to this story; a purpose and a reason that I have told it. More and more I hear people saying what's wrong with this world. It's all going to hell. But as can be seen from the last paragraph, making the world Hell is our way of knowing who we are. And those predictions of earth's destruction in 2012 which I mentioned when I started this hub (Soon to be a realeased movie by the way starring John Cusak) I fear are being met more with a sense of elation than fear. Not that I believe the world will end in 2012 but you would still think people would still be thinking "What if" and "What can we do about it?" What else should I expect or they expect when after three thousand years we've taken God's words and placed them in a mouth of a caricature of irresponsible violence. Popeye really wasn't the poster boy for self-restraint and rational thought. We have left ourselves with nothing to uphold. Our value system has been flushed, our leaders would appear to be in competition to whom can lie, cheat and steal the best, and our youth see video games as reality. Our jobs have become our existence, our families are dysfunctional, our marriages don't last as long as our affairs, and our murder statistics are the only numbers that are constantly improving over time. If the downward spiral is to be stopped, if the dissolution of society is to be thwarted then it is the responsibility of each one of us to provide the subject and verb that precedes "Therefore I Am." In my case I guess it would be "I WRITE THEREFORE I AM." And through my writing I hope that I can reach and change one life at a time. If I can make even one person think about the message in this hub then it is a justification of my existence. Perhaps its time for all of us to stand before that burning bush and make our own pronouncement and forget about trying to get on board whatever escape pod that Doomsday website was offering.