Archive | October, 2011

Never sell your soul

16 Oct

[The following are some quick thoughts I had. I may modify and deepen this essay in some future moments.]

Never sell your soul. Our society is largely set-up to get you to relinquish your soul in order for you to get on with life; it’s a fine goal in a largely Christian society. Your soul, after all, leads you to trouble. It’s not something that gains you entry into that utopia many call Heaven. No, your soul gives you life. And life gets you in trouble with the status quo. Much better if you can give your soul up (actually, it’s much better if you don’t realize you have one at all) so you can follow the plain rules, stick to the manicured, well-thought paths. This is the prescription to Heaven.

The destruction of your soul begins immediately, but speeds up in school. Don’t be yourself; don’t break-dance down the hallway. Walk straight, in a line, don’t be free. Those in authority make you fall in line, and if you don’t, they’ll just tighten the crank on your personality. Once your personality has been molded your soul is left to shrivel, for you don’t know who you are anymore (but this is a good thing). Even your literacy learning in early childhood is all about learning what words sound like, following their phonetic patterns, and not focused on learning reading by writing. The tacit assumption here: learn what is being told to you. You are less than the text. The text, of course, is the authority. The text, of course, the one they really want you to get, is the Bible. And don’t talk back.

All through life us adults, as agents of soul change, already converted by those before us, try to mold beautiful individuals into conformists. Into people who are afraid to take chances and who will only mildly complain about spending their lives in front of a computer, on some unearthly floor, with bosses who are not actually smarter, but who are just able to conform better than the rest for that particular duty. Most duties, of course, are meaningless.

Bureaucracy is developed to keep us in the mindless. To keep us from being mindful. Bureaucracy is a way to keep the most mindless feeling satiated. Same with socks. Socks keep us busy with things that are of ultimately not important. I’m not making this up. The story goes that modern socks were developed by the King of England to keep the peasants occupied with making them, matching them, and cleaning them. Or maybe I’m making this up.

At any rate, our society doesn’t much value the soul as something to cultivate, to embrace, to nourish with the food of a quality life, and thought, and those quiet moments to remind yourself that you are alive. And for all you know, this is your one and only chance to experience the world. But you’re not allowed these thoughts because they disrupt your job on the 80th floor, in some cubicle, where not even the gods dwell.

I started this poorly organized essay with the line, Never sell your soul. But that’s not possible. The real thing is to never lose your soul. At times, sadly, you may have to detach yourself from it briefly, in order to get to a better place (ironic but true), but this is much preferred than to have to lose it completely. For once you lose your soul, you’ve lost the one thing that’s worth living for, and that is the ability to soulfully experience life, which is the only reason we’re on this earth.

Or maybe it’s not.