The second I hear the word better my mind began to spin. Better than what? By whose standard? Better for who? Toward what goal?
The words better and progress are often toward a nebulous telos. Paired with an aspirational sort of language that promises, and here’s the word again, a better tomorrow. Again, better than what? Today? What’s wrong with today?
And that’s when I arrived quickly at realizing the better tomorrow, the uncertain goal of the future of betternness is used to win people on an idea about an ideal way of living. These sort of standards of living which come predesigned to suit the desires that became yours through decades of social influence. And that’s actually all fine. Part of life.
The interesting part for me then went into finding my own values, based on what’s good for living, instead of based on what’s good for my head. My mind gets all kinds of excited impulses floating through there, feel good happy chemicals, but they are temporary. The “all better” promise has always turned out to be a temporary band-aid for whatever sort of suffering I had been encountering at the time such a “better” plan was enacted. My telos…was to fix something I thought was wrong with my life.
And it gets pretty loopy there. Loopy as in closed circuit. I tried to outthink and outsmart that kind of language and line of thought, before long, I returned to the thinking I began practicing…oh right around the time I had no idea I was doing anything like that at all. Running the risk of promoting infantalization, there is something from childhood I see a great value in-that is a connection to nature.
Yes, I get it…nature is entertainment for a lot of folks. But for me, it is my only connection to what is real-what is real being my human experience, my values and my concrete goals. Goals that aren’t based on what anyone had told me what I ought to be doing yet. Goals that are pretty common to any human being. To live, be healthy, love, be loved, see neat things, meet cool folks.
The neat part about focusing on language and thinking outside of the “better” or progress model, is that I sink right into feeling connected to nature pretty fast. And when connected to such a sense…well, my body sort of directs itself with where it needs to go to feel good and away from things that feel bad. Things are more intuitive and less stressful. And when there’s less stress, everything works better. And I can sniff out myths and fantasies which people run around believing all day, that I myself had went around believing, and sort of giggle at how serious such ideas seemed, and how beautiful today actually is.