Monday, August 27, 2007

In A World That Celebrates Nothingness...

I am finally rousing myself from watching a Western gunfight lol on TV to write this snippet of my life over the past week.

Today I spent the day at my new job - teaching at a Christian High School. I love it. Teaching is my thing - to motivate and inspire the young to go conquer the world.You know, I so enjoy living. I wish everyone would just celebrate life, embrace the moment of time they have been given on earth, and just fill the time with valuable experiences.

I know lots of you enjoy your life - with your active outdoors, natural living. Last night was the last performance for this drama, stage play that I was acting in, which we now have on home DVD. I got home at 12 p.m. All day today I was so sleepy. But a cup of coffee took care of that eventually.
But the Theatre Festival was quite an experience. This is where about 40 up and coming actors, musicians and other artistic performers performed at an amateur theatre festival downtown Toronto. They all recently graduated from Film, Acting and Theatre schools, and wanted to showcase their gifts. I found the experience amazing and something else. The talent was so refreshing to see.
Most people live boring, mundane lives doing nothing at all with their natural human potential. These were people reaching deep into themselves to touch stars way above their heads.But you know what I found? All the performances were of the hip young generation of 2007. And the plays and music and dance all portrayed how the hip urban young live and think today. What I observed is that people today live for nothing - like the Seinfeld show. We all find meaning and purpose in nothing at all.
Like the play I acted in. It was of four friends who each has their career and goal in life. Three guys and a girl. They were all going away to separate pursuits and decided to meet for a farewell goodbye. Where else would four young friends meet in Toronto for a meaningful farewell? A coffee shop, of course - Tim Hortons. And they sit and reminisce about their relationships.
One was going off to do his doctorate, the other to work in Bermuda - "a place of pink sand and clear water, unlike Lake Ontario", the other (the girl) getting married to a guy she did not really love, and me, a preacher going to travel the country to find God and marry people freelance. Mind you, the girl had at one point or another dated each of the guys. Free sex and the folly of love.These four friends tell each other outlandish, nonsensical stories - one of discovering a mystical (and mythical) toilet when he was drunk, the girl about some sludge monster that scientists had concocted and that now lived in Lake Ontario feeding on the polluted water, the other about little gnomes carrying out world conspiracy, and me about marry a Star Wars geek and a Star Trek nerd. Imagine. This is what passes for conversation, meaningful talk, among the young, educated urban elite.
All the other performances reinforced this theme of nonsensical living - pointless, meaningless, purposeless passion in the everyday pursuit of nothing.This excursion into threatrical fantasy that mirrored the drama of life followed my two days at a church camp just outside Cookstown, near to Barrie on Highway 400, north of Toronto.For two days I was without cell phone (cause there was no signal), without internet and without any of the modern comforts we so take for granted - including a comforter, sheet for the bed, or even a decent bed, or a private shower. Pure rugged living.
With 70 other people on the campground. I heard a fantasy 'Jesus' preached and urged on those who want to experience "blessings". A wierd and whacky world. These people brought their families and loaded up in a school bus (some drove their own car) fetching brown cardboard boxes of Toronto-bought groceries. They cooked and played games, including tug-o-war between parents, and then the kids against each other, separated into teams labelled red, green and yellow.
They ate, sang, listened to the Jesus fantasy, and then departed for their real life back at the job on Monday to pay the bills for a house they hardly spend time in, cause they are working round the clock to pay off the mortgage and the car. And the kids spend all day at school and then troop off to the babysitter.I left the camp early - on Friday night around 1 a.m. and drove through heavy rain and a dark night to find the highway to Toronto. I came home and slept like a baby.
Saturday I got up and off I went to pick up a blind guy to take him to a summer BBQ at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center, for disabled people. At this event, where I was all day, about 50 people socialised - some who are in wheelchairs, others who are deaf and dumb and yet others who are blind or lame in some way. Fascinating crowd. And these people sing and dance and play their own games for prizes, and give their own speeches calling for rights for the disabled.Man. My life is fascinating.
This experience of rubbing shoulders with all these fringe communities that make up our society is quite a revelation to me. I go in to each playing a role, but mostly using my writer's instinct and Journalist's observation skill to observe. And I learn so much about life, and people and our world.Like Wednesday last week. I met up with a bunch of second-generation Canadians, people in their 20's and 30's born here and educated at the best univiersities in Canada. We gathered at this guy's apartment downtown Toronto (he works as an engineer at a high paying job).
We ordered pizza and non-alcoholic beer and squeezed in on his sofa and couch to watch six hours of re-runs of the YTV animated cartoon classic, Reboot. All the while his cat kept flirting with his legs under the coffee table.I had never seen this show before. But boy was it a fascinating experience.
The show is so deep and revealing of this generation's culture. I learned a lot about our world. The show is filled with references to pop culture and the politics that drives the world system. But it is also filled with spiritual refereneces. That show surely is a commentary on our world - it even refers to the spiritual myths we live by.Yeah, so this world we live in is amazing and amazing and amazing… and the adventures continue …

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Copyright Shaun Michael Samaroo 2007 –
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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Those Desires That Drive US

by Shaun Michael Samaroo
Why do people do the things they do? Why do you make the choices you make? Desires. Desires fuel the most powerful driving force that propels people towards their action. Our desires move us like engines move machines.
Under the commanding hand of our desires, we become like robots, unable to exercise our free will. Desires burn in our beings like flames that bring us the pleasure of warmth on a cold dark night.
Just like a baby lying unprotected in a wintercold brickroom, people live in this world as lost souls - looking for a harbour to find shelter from the storms of this daily existence. And we find solace in satisfying our desires. We feel a sense of belonging if we give in to these cravings, our desires.
Our desires form the innermost, deepest force that defines how we live.
How do desires take root in us? See, as a person, I am like a tree that bears certain fruits. These fruits comprise my thoughts, my words, my actions. My fruits affect the people around me, the way I shape my space, my environment. So my innermost desires become important because I play a significant role in the lives of others - family, friends, my community. If my desires dictate how I live and influence others, then these inner forces deep within me become of utmost importance.
Contemporary education emphasises the development and deliberate shaping of brain-power. Neuro-training embraces a huge global social-engineering service that pervades the mass media and education industry. The global education system and world pop culture play key roles in shaping the neural behaviour of people.
All this is done through language. And we cannot discount the deep impact language has on us. Language more than anything shapes our desires.
Out of our dependency on language we develop our connotations and presuppositions. Connotation is the name given to the real impact that words have on us. Words develop in us certain emotional responses in our sub-conscious selves. The average human being lives emotionally, under the influence of these connotation values of words.
Deeper than connotation, people respond to life based on their presuppositions.
Presupposition is the unconscious assumptions I make about the world around me. A large part of my connotation value system and my presupposition value system - those values deep in my brain-mapping that cause me to react in a particular way - come from my experiences, the impact of my world on my physical and soul senses. I react and respond by reflex action to my world. And what causes my reflex response or reaction? My desires.
It is these connotation and presupposition values that shape my desires. If a person can be compared to a massive tree with flowing green branches bearing all kinds of fruit, then the roots would be those desires. And the nurturing of those desires, the watering and feeding and sunlight fuelling the growth of those desires, would be the connotation and presupposition value system.
The fruits of my life burst out of this wellspring of desires that churn almost uncontrolled in my soul.
So it becomes necessary to first of all recognize that these values fuel certain desires in me. Then I can do either of two things: I can work to change the connotation and presupposition values in me that fuel these desires, or I can channel the existing desires into ways that would bear fruits that are wholesome, good and enjoyable to everyone who comes into contact with me.
If the desires in me bear bad fruit, then I need to change where I am planted. I cannot remain planted in a ground that feeds me those bad values.
So my external environment becomes important to my internal health. If I am in the wrong space, bombarded with wrong language, then I am feeding my brain and my soul wrong values, and these shape my desires. And when my desires take control of me, I am a lost soul, drifting out at sea with no map or compass. Though I know that I am lost, and I want to find a safe harbour, I nevertheless drift into dark ugly storms. Yet the desire to be lost in the raging excitement of the storm pumps my blood with adrenalin, and I gleefully embrace this destructive force.
This is what desires do to us: push us on into the anticipation of pleasure. Desires fuel in us the raging flame of warm pleasure, flooding our groins with warm blood, our heart bursting with excitement and our brain numb from the rush.
How prone is this generation to such an existence, constant in its quest for 'highs'. People seek pleasure, highs, surging excitement - an electric lifestyle.
Desires command us to live for fantasy wants. We want to know the pleasure of satisfaction. That in itself, we presuppose, is a worthy end to our experiences.But, really, man should live for his needs. Then life on this earth would be peaceful, rich, rewarding, joyous and worthwhile. Our needs, according to the great economist Adam Smith, are simple: food, water, shelter, air to breathe, development of the mind and a little entertaining (to paraphrase the great man).
The ideas that people pick up from their peers influence their mindsets, their worldviews and their presuppositions. These ideas form the building blocks of our desires. So it seems to me that our desires can be re-designed and re-created and re-shaped and re-formed.
How do we re-design our desires? Suppose I was born in the wrong society, with the wrong ideas, with people who influence me by depositing in me wrong desires, can I jump out of this prison? I believe I can.
We can re-design our desires through the renewal of our minds, by filling our thoughts with noble, right and good, wholesome thoughts. But who decides the quality of thoughts? What's my measuring rod for what is good, noble and wholesome? I believe that I need to examine history and decide what has proven itself good and wholesome over time.
In my case, I did this examination and decided that the Judeo-Christian historical lifestyle has proven to be the most noble, good and wholesome life any human being can live today.
Many other religions aspire to this task of re-shaping mass desire, by changing individual desire, one at a time. But I do not think that doctrine, or religious dogma, or blind obedience to tradition and ritual can fill a person with right desires. Instead, desires may become extreme and dangerous.
So I have learned to question my own desires, to analyse why I do the things I do. And I have realized that now all I want is to live in a quiet little place in a humble home with my loving family and pass my days reading and writing under a soft breeze in the warm sun with lots of trees around. This, I believe, is God's desire for us when He created our race. Me living like this would see my life, that big green tree, become fruitful and not barren, become a living shade for those seeking shelter, become a hand of comfort and a voice of joyous words to the people of my world.
Full copyright Shaun Michael Samaroo 2006