Grumpy hopes you are not bored with all of this. But, a very wise writer once told him you must write with your “BLISS”. Right now his bliss is waxing philosophical. Reading Jim Holt’s, WHY THE WORLD EXISTS might just have something to do with it.
THE GRUMPY GURU: ARE YOU AN “INNIE” OR AN “OUTIE”?
We’re not talking about belly buttons here. We’re talking about humanity but, more about that later.
It is this massive mess of synapses and grey matter that has given the human melon a distinct advantage over all other life forms on this planet. For the purpose of this essay, Grumpy calls this “total dominance” top-of-the-food-chain world domination.
And, when you combine this brainy dominance with fingers and hands that can manipulate even the smallest piece of brick and bract, the problems of humanity multiply exponentially.
Busy brains combined with busy hands spell bountiful trouble.
Let’s examine a brief history of braininess in relation to this lethal combination.
In the beginning humans began to dominate this world because they could outthink their rivals. After eons of hunting and gathering on this Eden we call Earth, big brains helped discover that it was a lot less work to grow (plants) and raise (domesticate animals) for your own food. Now a family or group could supply itself in a less dangerous arms-length operation of on-site agriculture. And, if you grew too much or raised too many animals, you could trade with others for things they had in abundance that you needed.
GROG: How much for cow?
ORK: Two sheep, one block cheese, three bags of potatoes.
GROG: I go three sheep. You got change for that?
ORK: That’s deal. So … I owe you a bag of onions and … a skin of wine and … three tomatoes. Right?
GROG: Uuuugh, Uuuugh!
ORK: Me go to the barn to rustle up your change.
Trading, barter and commerce revolved around stuff that you produced which were all the result of, and valued by your labour.
At this instant, those busy brains went to work and before long cool tools were invented. After all, you had to find ways to keep those hands busy and engaged and, of course, productivity in agriculture demanded that. These tools made life (work) easier and more prolific.
Take Grog for example. He invented a very cool rake that was better than every other rake ever invented. Everyone wanted Grog’s rake. Grog could hardly keep up with the demand. Indeed, he had less time for farming and he had to hire on helpers to make more rakes.
However, Grog also discovered he didn’t need to farm any longer because he could trade rakes for everything he needed. He was an entrepreneur – an industrialist.
But, in reality, you only need so many sheep, or cheese blocks or potatoes. Hence, currency was introduced to hold the value of those commodities in the form of paper note or medal coin. Our friend Grog could put these monies away in a safe place to be used on a “rainy day”.
For example, one paper KABUNGA might equal a bag of potatoes. Grog can salt away a couple of KABUNGAS for next year’s potatoes and trade those rakes for other purposes. Actually his KABUNGAS can be applied to anything he needs; a win-win for the smiling Grog.
If Grog can put away enough notes to cover his necessities, then those surplus notes are available for his “discretionary spending” – the purchase of Grog’s fun stuff!
And oh how humanity has created fun stuff.
So, in short, Grumpy says, our big brains begat stuff to keep the hands busy, productive, efficient and sometimes entertained. The more stuff there was to trade the more people who got to move from agriculture labour to industrial prosperity and richness. Putting currency away as the booty of one’s labour did make life so much easier. People could buy really “good stuff”. Now WE all have loads of good stuff! Just take a look around your house, or your car, your purse or your pocket.
That’s how the Human Dream was born and soon “keep up with the Jones’s” became its prevailing mantra!
Use our noodles to capacity.
Make good stuff and prosper.
Bring in the coin in bushel basket loads.
Buy more good stuff!
Decry, look what I have Mr. and Mrs. Jones!
LAUGH YOUR ASS OFF BREAK:
If you’d like to view comedian George Carlin’s take on stuff – just click the link below. (Warning strong language)
Or, as comedian Lewis Black would proclaim, “If you want to boost the economy just come up with a great big thing”. We are all into purchasing the next great big thing, aren’t we?
View that video here. (Warning strong language)
So, here lies the problem, as Grumpy sees it.
Fast forward to the present and consider this brain–hands connection/conundrum. Our big brains keep coming up with ideas (stuff) to make our hands and brains busy, productive and our psyche on the face of it – content. We are a production/consumption society and therefore it takes all of our focus and effort to feed that beast. It also takes a whole whack of brain power.
Really it’s all about the “me” as when the Beatles sang their lament “I, me, me, my”, isn’t it. This is the time of the “I” – phone, POD, PAD and every micro mini nano electronic unit under the sun. This is the “I” generation.
Q: How do you tell if someone has the new iPhone 5?
A: Don’t worry, they’ll let you know.
After that that very same person just might tell you “Do not touch MY iPhone. It’s not an usPhone, it’s not a wePhone, it’s not an ourPhone – it’s an iPhone.”
Our lives become distinguished from others by what we have – not by who we are. Our identity is defined by what we own and what we hold in our hands. The house, the car, the big screen TV, the electronics and the toys become the icons of existence. We are “OUTIES” of the first degree because most of what defines us exists outside of ourselves as extensions of our being, our self and our soul.
Too often we strive for the bigger, faster, better, and the coolest new stuff and forget about self-improvement and the development of our “inner-being”.
We used to tell our kids, “It’s what’s inside that counts” when it comes to judging people. That statement today might only apply to CPU’s, Memory, processing speed and nano- electronics – the internal workings of OUR STUFF and OUR TOYS!
This is self-aggrandizement of the crudest form. And just managing and taking care of all this stuff, distracts us from our own spiritual, psychological and biological needs. We spend too much time focused on all this stuff and work our asses off to create more “discretionary dollars” so that we can get more of the same.
The result is that all of this brain power and consumption has made us forget that THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE – NOT THINGS!
So consider this.
DEEP THOUGHT FROM GRUMPY
Isn’t it time to turn yourself inward, drop those “things” that are technological extensions of your being, and take care of the “inner’ you?
Mita Bhan says it this way, “All of us possess an inner reservoir of positive energy, some call it inner fire, some call it inner light, but to me it’s like a deep well of goodness. And like all reservoirs, it needs to be cleansed regularly and maintained if we are to make a difference.”
Serge Prengel adds, “Bring SELF into the process. Don’t let WORK and FAMILY be the only voices when you plan. In practical terms, ask yourself: “What am I doing for myself today? this week? this month? this year?”
Grumpy would add, “Don’t let your stuff be the strongest voice either!”
So how do you feed the inner you?
Listen; whether it is through religion, philosophy, meditation or new age transformation, it is the process that is most important –the journey, as it were. And, the bottom line is that you need to, “JUST DO IT!”
Everyone needs to turn off the “OUTIES” and look “inward”. That focus will give you balance and strength when you’re striving to meet the requirements of Grumpy’s first DEEP THOUGHT – that of LAUGHING YOUR ASS OFF at every opportunity.
The poet Rumi wrote this nearly 800 years ago:
You are the soul and medicine for what wounds the soul.”
Author, Rob White described it this way in a Huffington Post article; the shoes being the metaphor for that which influences your thinking – you’re very being – the inner “you”.
Learn to walk in your own shoes, however humble those shoes might be. When you do that, you begin to discover the truth about your authentic self, one footstep at a time.
When walking in shoes that others have designed, appreciate the cobbler, but don’t value the shoes too highly. They are not your creation, and they are not who you are. Your identity lies in what you bring to the world, not in how you interpret the things that others have created.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the dust of anybody else’s footprints. Have confidence that you are here to leave your own footprints on the sands.
So, in review, here are the Grumpy Guru’s first two Laws for self-development and contentment.
- LAUGH YOUR ASS OFF: Put humour into your life. Seek out happiness on the “Road Not Taken”. Dance as if no one is watching. Don’t attend any “PITY PARTIES”. Decide to be happy.
- BECOME AN INNIE RATHER THAN AN OUTIE: Stop focusing on the outer trappings of your identity. Remember if some calamity takes all of you “STUFF” away, you still are left with “YOU”. So, take time for the inner you; the spiritual you –reflect, meditate, search, question and wonder. Define yourself; don’t let your “OUTIES” define you! Seek out these answers in the silent spaces of your mind. This is what the real GURUS call MINDFULLNESS. Use that big brain of yours for personal growth and development. Decide to be mindful.
Just for fun take this happiness quiz to see how the inner you stacks up in terms of Grumpy’s first two DEEP THOUGHTS. Maybe the results will convince you that the spiritual/inner “you” needs some fine tuning. (see below for link)