Wasting Your Life

It’s not your life that you’re wasting. When someone tells you “you’re wasting your life” they’re wrong, or at least they’ve mislabeled something. There’s no essence to waste in your physical life; your biology is inconsequential on its own, an autonomous process that carries on largely whether you like it or not. Of course, the mind always maintains the power to grab the reins and truncate physical life, but this is seldom done.

The material processes of life are in themselves devoid of meaning; they’re just a consequence of the vaster will of the universe enacting itself. What’s the point of a volcano erupting? It’s just pressure, forces enacted through time, an equation already in perfect balance being executed. And sure, these phenomena are beautiful when we look into them with detail and a mind to uncover the axioms which make them go—but so is everything. The currents of the ocean, the behavior of bugs, the wind—all little physics experiments, puzzles which reward you when you find the similarity.

But this is not the life you’ve been accused of wasting. You waste life staring endlessly at screens, inhabiting a compromised malaise, enduring needless pain, and repeatedly  surrendering the chance to capture something that would make you enjoy yourself. Your physical life is hardly yours to waste; mostly a lifetime of misery and neglect will shave a scant twenty years off the total timeline. Things will go on without your consent, an emissary of the galactic mind.

Better said is that you waste your experience within the framework of life: accepting misery, ignoring truth, settling for less. And along with the squandering of your subjective experience comes the forfeiture of any sense of fate or purpose, mission, duty or meaning, which might just be called the things that make you feel good, after all. Awareness cannot revel in the abolition of the physical laws which engendered it; but it can take perverse enjoyment in watching, with a small sliver of itself, the fact that it’s been mostly turned off.

Wasting your experience is a valid criticism. I don’t want to argue against the philosophical meaning of existence. We’re a teenager that’s been given a fast car by a generous uncle. Why not have some fun?

What’s the opposite of wasting your life? As for me, I’m dumb. The things which make me feel alive tend to be aligned with the biological programming that’s already there. For some it’s an intricate dance, a sublime awareness, a soft harmonious humming. I like being reminded that I’m in a car.

Intensity, speed, stimulation. The things I like rev the engine and provide a tangible link to my physicality. Here’s why I was given this; this is what it’s for. I crave powerful feeling because then I can intuit the points at which I was riveted into my body, feel the scaffold the universe has built out of my matter as the chassis is tested, girders stressed but holding.

There’s no excuse for a lack of participation. It’s hard to get on the horse each and every day, but it’s critical. If awareness is a gift, granted by the delicate machinations of the universe, then this is what you waste. The opportunity to do something with it, the ability to choose—the chance to do something you love within the medium of life, which you may never have again.

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3 Responses to Wasting Your Life

  1. Sara Kaiser says:

    In this post it seems like there is some reduction of “life” into automatic processes, which is a relatively new perspective. Traditionally, people have experienced fundamental connection with life and nature, sensing that what is there is much more than some automation. Science seems determined to strip away the playfulness, creativity, and aliveness of “life,” interestingly, and we are taught that any suggestion that there might be more to it would be superstitious or anthropomorphic. I agreed with this for a long long time but have only recently started to accept that things like volcanic eruptions or the colors of butterfly wings are more than our cut and dry explanations of them. I worry that the insistence on things just unfolding according to code strips away the very real magic of a more beautiful and cohesive reality. I wonder what you think about that?

    • jejunejesuit says:

      I think that’s absolutely valid! I think there is a lot of intrinsic value in natural processes, but also in this poem I made the artistic choice to divisively split human perception from nature in order to highlight our individual experience. 🙂

      Great comment!

      • Sara Kaiser says:

        But is our perception of individuality not an illusion resulting from a lifetime of conditioning? Are we not intricately interwoven with the beings and minds around us, whether we acknowledge it or not?

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