Don’t expect more (if any) of this sort of thing in columnistwithaviewcom, but I felt there were so many valuable lessons to be learned from these stories that I decided to publish them. Occasionally, it is good to step outside the box.
These 12 short stories are all very good lessons, and really made us think twice about the daily happenings in our lives as we deal with others!
Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.”
Today, I asked my mentor - a very successful business man in his 70s- what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said, “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.
Today, after my 72 hour shift at the fire station, a woman ran up to me at the grocery store and gave me a hug. When I tensed up, she realized I didn’t recognize her. She let go with tears of joy in her eyes, the most sincere smile and said, “On 9-11-2001, you carried me out of the World Trade Center.”
Today, after I watched my dog get run over by a car, I sat on the side of the road holding him and crying. And just before he died, he licked the tears off my face.
Today at 7AM, I woke up feeling ill, but decided I needed the money, so I went into work. At 3 p.m. I got laid off. On my drive home I got a flat tire. When I went into the trunk for the spare, it was flat too. A man in a BMW pulled over, gave me a ride, we chatted, and then he offered me a job. I start tomorrow.
Today, as my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said, “I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often.”
Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.
Today, in the cutest voice, my 8-year-old daughter asked me to start recycling. I chuckled and asked, “Why?” She replied, “So you can help me save the planet.” I chuckled again and asked, “And why do you want to save the planet?” “Because that’s where I keep all my stuff,” she said.
Today, when I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again.
Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he said, “I hope you feel better soon.”
Today, I was feeling down because the results of a biopsy came back malignant. When I got home, I opened an e-mail that said, “Thinking of you today. If you need me, I’m a phone call away.” It was from a high school friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years.
Today, I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn’t eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The first thing the man said was, “We can share it.
My work reflects the confusion of existence and the inescapable truth that we are born alone, live alone, and die alone.
The events that I have witnessed during my sojourn on earth convince me that the things that should be, rarely are, and the things that shouldn’t be, usually are.
Reality is a dream conceived by madmen who wish to convince us that they (and only they) know the truth, and if we would follow their lead meaning will fill our desolate lives. Dreams are reality only to the dreamer and reflect the insecurity of being isolated from the source of this magnificent creation.
Our situation upon birth stretches the awareness of our true nature to the breaking point, we fear death and the unknown. If the unknown were known, I fear we could not carry on with this charade called life. People chase after the illusion (the not real). The real can only be defined by what one takes with them at the moment of death. The illusion is always left behind for the living to fight over.
The normal human being exists in his head! Yes, he lives inside his head. The arms, legs, torso, all other body parts are vital and necessary, but they are not the human being. No, the human being lives inside his head, more specifically, inside his brain, an extended solipsism.
He has a multitude of sensors feeding information into this brain. Sight being the most important and hearing second. He also has sensors for taste, touch, smell, temperature and balance–perhaps more. He receives inputs from these senses into his brain to create a conscious awareness of himself. He is also somewhat aware of where he is in space and time. The brain additionally experiences internally-generated states. These states are the emotions, feelings of pleasure, grief, sorry, shame, fear, embarrassment, etc. These emotions, like a pervading fog, sometimes encompass the entire brain and subdue and override all other inputs.
Of course, the body has nerves which sense pain. Serious threats, even minor bodily irritations are conveyed to the brain as pain and can command complete attention. The brain responds to all pains, yet itself is insensitive to pain.
The basic question, however, is…what is consciousness?
In my view, consciousness is the state the brain is in when it is receiving inputs from all its sensors (no pain), is fully cognizant of the sum of these inputs, is synchronizing and recording them in short-term memory, and comparing them with long-term memory. It is simultaneously contemplating future physical and mental actions and may be considering their consequences. In this state, within the confines of his hereditary and cultural biases, and coherent with his emotional state, he directs his thoughts and actions, creates his character and becomes who he is! IN THIS STATE, HE IS CONSCIOUS! He becomes himself!
Unfortunately, at the time when a child’s brain is becoming conscious–is developing and acquiring its impressions of reality–it may be deliberately, if ignorantly, infused with mythology. This mythology is presented as truth. It is called RELIGION. Religions, created entirely by man, fabricate elaborate fantasies to generate baseless hopes and instill fear. Theology or mythology, masquerading as truth, may grow and mature in the brain along with knowledge, and it will remain highly persuasive throughout the person’s life.
This embedded spirituality, embellished and authenticated by other people through external rites, rituals, dogma and music, may become a dominating factor in his existence. He may then devote much of his life to worshiping and emulating imaginary gods–or escaping devils! This does not insure he will lead a “bad” life, but it strongly influences all of his activities and thoughts. In extreme cases it may lead to acts of great human self-sacrifice or conversely in the horrendous killing of others.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
The problem is that the majority of the peoples of this world do not do much thinking and have most of their head filled with mythology!
[David C. Williams is a retired engineer. He is ninety-two years old and lives in Kentucky. He writes on philosophy, religion, and other thought-provoking subjects. In this article, he tackles consciousness and religion’s impact upon it.]