I have two jobs.
One of my jobs is to assemble sandwich parts. I cut them and take the required instructions from the customer as to toppings, veggies, and such, then it's wrap, and redirect to the cashier, where the sandwich's manufacture is compensated for in credit. I also happen to belong to an infamous chain (hint:bagels) where the customer has only a thin plastic window between themselves and the guy with the apron, who puts the thing together before their eyes. I do this. I've grown familiar with a certain kind of stupified look in their eyes as I add lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Like they think there's some kind of magic going on. Like I'm specially accredited, or licenced to make sandwiches. I began to realize this: when they do get their meal, they have no sense of either the fact that work went into making it, or the convergence of conditions required to produce it. They return to their cars none the wiser. It's something that came out of a hole in the wall.
My second job is as a computer repairman. People come into the store with all kinds of problems. Some of them are real. There's the classic lightning surge problems. People who want to upgrade to the newest thing. And people with terrible problems they don't know how to solve. Everyone who comes in has reached a point in their own computer repair where they're scared and confused enough to call an expert. But, once again, the customer tries to make your magic work at the expediture of his credit. Most often all we do is find the broken piece and replace it at full charge. But that's exactly what they wanted. Smoke and mirrors.
I've determined that our consumer culture is behind this attitude I observe in a lot of people. Nobody cares how a sandwich is made, or a computer is fixed. As long as money goes in and services come out, we're happy. Everything is running smoothly. I find these patterns of being able to tune out certain things typical of us, as modern humans. I remember doing it at one time. Before taking on the respective positions, I ordered sandwiches and sent computers through the magic box to be fixed. It seemed natural. Of course, there's nothing wrong with either the administration of these services or the people who request them. But I've found a bug in the mentality of these exchanges.
Imagine at the earliest stages of your life, you learn one thing, and only one thing. It has no words. It's your awareness of what you know, your first shred of meta-cognitive thinking. What follows? If I'm aware that I think, how do I think? We necessarily develop our operating system, the way we position ourselves in relation to the world, and handle situations therein.
I'm saying: most of us, early on, are taught about one thing. Another presence. The outside world. This outside world is the fact that provides the basis for our earliest intelligence. Because we do need something to grab on to. Because this world is incomprehensible to us, at that stage, our minds are foreign. So our understanding of the dynamic world is reduced to the kinds of things that can be quantified in inputs and outputs. We are convinced of one, all-encompassing piece of knowledge, and that we have no chance of understanding it.
This kind of mentality saddens me deeply. I have lived without it, and continue to.
We don't find this mechanization inevitably. There is an alternative. It is what you've been convinced you know nothing about. It's a comprehensive understanding of the world, built into your mind. It can't be quantified. It can't be written down. You can't name it, or find a word for it. But niether can it be stopped from being there. It provides you with a way, and it is the way you operate, even if you're wrapped up in the machine. Because nothing can stop it. You don't exhibit it by understanding, or trying to understand, but by existing. Being alive, in every sense. And then comes a personal law that will hold you until you are ready to die.
I don't mean for the logic in this node to be complete, or for it to be subject to doubt. It is failed if only for the reason that it's an essay. An attempt. Many of the words were found in the book by Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence, as well as my friend Alexis. I've had many conversations with her that've helped me turn these ideas into words. It's like those people who approach you with a bumper sticker about preventing domestic abuse--most times they've been through enough to know. I've gotten out of the mess, but, more importantly, I can remember being there. I think it deserves a story of its own.