(Non)sensical Rant as an Ode to the Human Condition

Submitted into Contest #240 in response to: Craft a story where a character finds themselves swept away by the wind, either physically or metaphorically.... view prompt

42 comments

Creative Nonfiction

There is no difference between us and nature, no end between time and space, and we understand reality to be nothing more than a magic show.

He held up a mug and asked if the mug was really a mug. Though it had been many days of objective questioning—Is this a pen or an arrow? Is this knife a weapon or a tool? Is this fish rotten or a delicacy?—this was the beginning, when the allegorical scene began to realign, and we all got swept away in the paradox of understanding that there's no such thing as reality if reality is defined as the state of things as they actually exist, because nothing exists the same for both you and me. This is the moment we abandoned the definition of objective understanding and accepted that everything we intellectually process is influenced by our own perception.

I do not like you because you are loud. You do not like me because I am quiet. Are we both unlikeable?

You hug me because you need human connection and show joy and love through touch. I cringe away because I don't like to be touched and find your physical affections to be a tad dramatic. 

Can we accept our preferences while acknowledging they are fleeting?

The wind blows, a gale force formed by the heat of the sun on the Earth's surface, energy causing air to rise, a reaction of pressure: cause and effect. I feel that wind on my skin—but the wind moves beneath my skin, too. My blood ebbs and flows, my nerves synapse and fire. Wind is defined as the natural movement of air of any velocity; thus, wind is movement. Is rain wind, as it is only defined by its movement, or is it otherwise a stale puddle at our feet?

If wind is nothing more than movement, but we cannot always see it, and we cannot always feel it or hear it or smell it or taste it, does it exist? If it exists, then why do we deny that which exists but cannot see or hear or feel?

Does time exist? There is no end or beginning—time, as we understand it, is a construct. If we age at one rate during a calendar year (what even is a year?) but travel beyond the Earth's gravitational force and our aging process slows, do we still process the passage of time the same way? Is one calendar year on Earth the same if we travel to Mars (or beyond)? 

If time is neverending, then impermanence is inevitable. And yet, as humans, we avoid impermanence and change because aging, sickness, and death can be painful.

Still, we have to find a balance between our experience of change and the misconception of control because there is no other option. It’s like fighting nature, but how can we fight nature if there is no difference between us?

Every day, I watch humans search desperately for good health. I scroll past articles of fads and quick fixes, pills, and tips and tricks that promise happiness and longevity. 

It is unlikely that humans, culturally and as a whole, will abandon the promise of ease when they discover one small pill and one expensive gadget doesn't fill the hole in our chest. It doesn't provide good health or loving kindness or community. Our phone doesn't substitute or replicate the experience of the human condition; it worsens it.

We avoid change within our bodies because even though it is inevitable, it still takes time to pass, and if it is too difficult, we'd much rather take a pill or use an expensive gadget to ease the burden. We don't use our inner intellect and mindful intelligence to process that which can be named; therefore, we pass each day more deeply entrenched in painful ignorance. 

If a man who holds a piece of paper declaring himself the authority on your health tells you to take a pill, is it because he believes that is the best option to cure your pain and rid you of disease? Do you take it? Does he care that you found this pill through an ad on television, and together, you decided this was the best path forward, even if the side effects listed are in some ways more harmful than your initial complaint? Does that doctor, with an education declaring himself so, know that preventative medicine, to take a walk and to eat well and manage your daily habits thoughtfully, though it may not work as fast as swallowing a pill, may offer a lifetime of not just good health but true wellness?

If he knows this—because he has that piece of paper declaring himself qualified enough to guide you through your human condition—and he's too overworked by an overwhelmingly depleted healthcare system, will he carve the time out of his already busy day to tell you there could be another way, even if that other way will take more time and not be as easy as swallowing a pill?

Balance within the cosmos and the Law of Energy state that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. That which we give will be taken away, a karmic action and reaction, cause and effect. There is no difference between us and nature, no end between time and space, and we understand reality to be nothing more than a magic show. 

We can say, as Shakespeare did, "Why, then, 'tis none to you, for there is nothing, either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison," and ruminate this existential crisis, overthinking and contemplating everything around us as a way to help us accept reality as nothing more than a created concept, giving us the illusion that we have control over our environment, ourselves and each other. When we look around and see that the world is on fire and that the winds are raging—both literally and metaphorically—we get swept away in the consequence of it all until, thinking we can make a change, when, in fact, it's all already burned to the ground around us.

Until we've shrunk so far into ourselves that we forgot to ask the skillful question, not the existential one. We can instead ruminate on the fable of the poisoned arrow: I've been struck, and I must know these answers: Who poisoned me? Why did they do it, and how? Why me, what have I done to deserve this poisoned arrow? And while I lie there dying, contemplating and asking questions about this poisoned arrow buried deep in my gut, I forgot to simply ask someone to pull it out and help me.

March 01, 2024 22:23

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42 comments

Mary Bendickson
22:34 Mar 02, 2024

Me thinks you think deep. Great depth of thinking. Great questions. Great expectations. Thanks for liking my flood story. Thanks for liking my 'When Will We Ever Learn '. And 'Living on Easy Street '.

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Hazel Ide
01:24 Mar 03, 2024

Thanks for the read and the comments Mary!

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Mary Bendickson
03:49 Mar 03, 2024

And thanks for liking my 'Blessings Tree'. And 'Alyce's Restaurant'.

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Hazel Ide
04:01 Mar 03, 2024

At first, I couldn’t tell if there was any relation to the Arlo Guthrie song (Alice’s Restaurant). What a twist if it were a sexy version of a Vietnam war protest song!

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Mary Bendickson
04:39 Mar 03, 2024

Not a direct relationship. I had to spell Alice differently so to not infringe but thought the similarity would be attention getting. I did include the familiar line " You can have anything you want at Alyce's Restaurant, except Alyce."

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Hazel Ide
04:40 Mar 03, 2024

Excellent, Mary!

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Daniel Rogers
00:19 May 22, 2024

I'm glad I'm a shallow thinker. lol. Much of it was over my head, but the writing was top-notch.

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Hazel Ide
17:30 May 22, 2024

Thanks very much Daniel. It was a bit of a rant.

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Kathryn Kahn
15:11 Apr 05, 2024

This is very well-written. It also sounds like the kind of thing I think about when I'm wide awake at 3 a.m. ;-) I suppose it's a very human tendency to think about existential questions, and the internet has made it very easy to focus on details that may or may not be true. Wonderful rumination piece.

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Hazel Ide
03:06 Apr 06, 2024

Well I definitely wrote it wide awake at 3 am haha! Thanks very much for your comments Kathryn!

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Ananya Voss
16:45 Mar 13, 2024

We can say, as Shakespeare did, "Why, then, 'tis none to you, for there is nothing, either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison," and ruminate this existential crisis, overthinking and contemplating everything around us as a way to help us accept reality as nothing more than a created concept, giving us the illusion that we have control over our environment, ourselves and each other. " Interesting. The inverse may also be suggested - our thoughts shape and create our reality, and in this way we do have control over our...

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Hazel Ide
18:52 Mar 13, 2024

Yes absolutely! I think that's the point, that either view is acceptable because each view is our own. I think the suggestion that we have no control over our environment lends more to the understanding that it's all an illusion anyway. We don't really have control over our sense perception, thoughts, memories, consciousness, and bodily functions; if we had any control, we'd never get sick, or we'd never feel pain or discomfort (or have negative thoughts), but I agree, it can therefore create a type of prison if we're not careful. Again,...

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Helen A Smith
14:32 Mar 13, 2024

You raise some interesting questions. It’s so much easier to take the short cut and get a quick fix than look at long-term ways of living life in a meaningful and hopefully healthy way. In my opinion, it would be great to amalgamate the best of traditional medicine and complementary therapy rather than have set ideas and simply throw pills at people. They often seem to have unwanted sugar effects that aren’t always fully considered. It’s like one step forward and two steps back. The only way forward is for humans to work together and help o...

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Hazel Ide
15:58 Mar 13, 2024

Great comments, thank you Helen. I agree completely. I work in health care, and though I know some incredible practitioners who are really committed to patient care, I still treat a lot of people who come to me from their PCPs that just get pills thrown at them for things that are so easily fixable with a little effort. It's so frustrating. But I also appreciate their hands are tied because of our terrible healthcare system, which has been held ransom by insurance companies. It's a whole thing. Sorry, tangent on top of tangent. Anyway. Cheers.

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Kailani B.
22:08 Mar 11, 2024

Very interesting. It reminds me of this snippet I read from St. Augustine's Confessions in which he talks about time and what it is. Thanks for sharing!

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Hazel Ide
23:50 Mar 11, 2024

Thank you Kailani! It's an interesting topic, I'm familiar with the book; I think it's part of an online library; Ill check it out. Thank you!

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Asia Windeyer
01:22 Mar 06, 2024

This is tremendous, so existential and genuinely clever. I love it!

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Hazel Ide
03:31 Mar 06, 2024

Thanks very much Asia!

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Alexis Araneta
13:03 Mar 02, 2024

Interesting concept, Hazel. I love the philosophical tone of this. Great job !

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Hazel Ide
20:31 Mar 02, 2024

Thank you Stella!

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Ken Cartisano
18:12 Apr 22, 2024

Your story, Hazel, was thought provoking, but vaguely inconclusive. I feel like I’m in a quandary here. If I disagree with your argument, I prove your point. If I agree, I approve of your conclusions. So I’ll give you my thoughts on your provocative screed. Is one (single) calendar year when we’re 5-years-old the same as when we’re 85? Some people resist change, some people embrace it. Fighting nature is an exercise in futility, one that many of us seem compelled to pursue, for various misguided reasons. You wrote: We don't use our inne...

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Hazel Ide
22:42 Apr 22, 2024

Hi Ken, as always, I greatly enjoy your thoughtful and delightful comments. I'll point out the title as part of my reply: "Non-sensical rant..." Though to some it makes sense to others it doesn't, then a paragraph later, we've switched positions. Such is life and discourse. The truth is, I work in health care and was also writing through the lens of Buddhist philosophy, so this line, "We don't use our inner intellect..." was referring specifically to the five aggregates, and the concept of non-self. That's a whole thing that I probably shou...

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Ken Cartisano
02:44 Apr 24, 2024

Hazel, as far as I’m concerned, everyone who works in the health care profession is a saint. It is the most important service one human being can provide to another. Surely there is no reason for you to apologize to me. Every product or service in this country includes money in the equation, sometimes it’s the biggest factor. Especially where medicines are concerned. On the research level, those people are pretty wonderful too, but most drug companies are required by law to be profitable. (Some would say they overdo it.) In short, your ‘ann...

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Hazel Ide
13:13 Apr 24, 2024

Well it sounds like you’re tapping into a core Buddhist belief of non harming - I had an actual moment of rejoice for the wasp and I too would have wavered because getting stung by them sucks, so it’s pretty great you saved it :)

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03:40 Mar 13, 2024

Deep story. Def strikes a chord as my feeds these days are just packed with "7 ways to.." "5 foods to eat.." etc miracle cures to live forever. The book Sapiens really explains how humans makes stories ("money" "leaders" "goals" "experts" "values" etc) to give us something to believe in and make our reality easier to accept.

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Hazel Ide
13:55 Mar 13, 2024

I work in healthcare, it’s one of my greatest frustrations. I don’t see it ever changing. I've heard of the book, I’ll go check it out, thanks for the rec!

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Aly Jester
18:38 Mar 12, 2024

Wow, such a thought provoking piece. Well done. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more from you.

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Hazel Ide
22:51 Mar 12, 2024

Thank you Aly!!

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David McCahan
15:32 Mar 12, 2024

Well, I won't be sleeping tonight pondering this brilliantly written ode. Wonderfully done!

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Hazel Ide
22:51 Mar 12, 2024

Who needs sleep Thank you for reading David, cheers

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10:38 Mar 12, 2024

Love the deep dive and insights. Thanks for sharing your talent with the world.

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Hazel Ide
22:50 Mar 12, 2024

Thank you very much Stephanie!

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Darvico Ulmeli
12:19 Mar 11, 2024

That was beautifully presented. I asked my self that questions all the times. Not anymore. Since I got married and become the father don't have time to question world around me. My world are my kids and I am terrified about they well-being in this world. Your story pull something from me that I cover with dust so many years ago. Thank you for that.

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Hazel Ide
15:26 Mar 11, 2024

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I know exactly what you mean—like the parable at the end. It's one thing to contemplate the existential, but if we spend too much time with it, we forget what's around us, the important things.

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Martha Kowalski
19:04 Mar 10, 2024

Very thoughtful to use the wind as a vehicle to muse about other intangible (but real!) things, nicely done

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Hazel Ide
20:17 Mar 10, 2024

Thank you Martha! It's fun to play with the prompts in a backward way sometimes. Cheers!

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Kristi Gott
02:05 Mar 10, 2024

I love all the philosophical angles, thought provoking concepts, allegorical references and metaphors about the wind. This is very unique and original. Well done! So cool.

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Hazel Ide
02:43 Mar 10, 2024

Thanks very much Kristi! Sometimes it’s fun to shake up the format.

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Claire Trbovic
17:27 Mar 09, 2024

Loved this Hazel, the end para was wonderful. You could pick almost any one of the questions posed and create a much bigger story from it, very inspiring :)

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Hazel Ide
18:56 Mar 09, 2024

Thank you, Claire! I love that parable, too, it's very meaningful to me. And yes, each question could be its own story, hence the title, haha. I was in a weird mood when I was writing last week.

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Mike Panasitti
22:56 Mar 06, 2024

Not entirely nonsensical, not an intolerable rant. I'd like to see these statements come from characters in impractical situations, but the concluding lines are great as they stand: Don't allow me to ruminate and endanger myself in so doing, just giving me an effin' hand already! A lesson in pragmatism. Thanks for sharing.

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Hazel Ide
14:08 Mar 07, 2024

Thanks for the read Mike. You’re right, it’s not nonsensical, that was kind of the point though. I’m glad the lesson is pragmatism is what stood out though.

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