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Lost, Studied, Devised

by Joshua Farley


As I wandered out my backdoor with a freshly-baked apple pie at my disposal I began to grow confused, weary of the world deforming around me, of the splashes of color spurred through the never-ending vortex of space and time. The haziness of the environment drew upon my inner forces, rendering my organs aware of the fragile and delicate nature of all things, tangible and intangible, stimulating the limits of my very mind. Upon the realization of my condition, as well as the consistent and dynamic alterations of the reality surrounding my being, I felt my eyes amplify for the first time. It was a novel experience, one that cannot properly be reproduced or recollected on paper, but I will attempt to recount it to the greatest detail as my mind permits. In spite of the perceptive feeling and endless flow of matter clouding my psyche at the time of my initial condition, I remained utterly and generously calm.

I consumed another puff of my smoldering cigarette, forcing the smoke into my empty lungs and breathing out the matter inadvertently manipulated by the symbiotic mechanisms of my body, leaving the particles forever divorced and wisped off into the wind to lead the life of loneliness and perplexity that ingrains each and every one of us. I inhaled the remaining crumbs of Grandma’s delicious, subtly-baked, apple pie, and proceeded to delve deeper into the wasteland of my vision.

I approached a lonely swingset bearing two poles, yet seemingly abandoned by the swings that once complemented its functions. To be honest, it was a desolating image. The swingset cried out to me, begging for any form of companionship to pull it from its state of misery. My mind was so disfigured. I offered aid to the saddened object, but it was to no avail. You see, we do not speak from the same tongue. We, two delicate creatures somehow fathomed by the unknown processes of the ever-expanding universe, lacked the capacities necessary to form an amiable bond. Nevertheless, seeing the once-in-a-lifetime situation as aprovechable, through some correspondence of functions devised in my psychological state, I threw out my hands to support the decaying state of the long-forgotten swingset, placing one hand firmly and steadily on each pole. To my shock, it reached back to me in a tranquil manner, and this tranquility lasted for what seemed a lifetime. Though the swingset could not effectively communicate with me on grounds of the linguistic barrier distancing our mutual interests, it succeeded in conveying to me that which it most desired. From that point on the swingset never again cried out, for it had discovered the humanistic path to everlasting companionship.

The ground I stood upon was firm, so I proceeded.

Upon departing from my casual encounter with the abandoned swingset, I carried onward in my quest to discover the meaning of my surroundings. Everything has an inherent purpose, be it trivial or intellectual, and some would even argue that nothing happens by chance while others on the other side of the discussion claim that everything is just random chaos and “happening by chance” is the foundation of the universe itself. My encounter and subsequent success in appeasing this delicate creature, which rendered a great sense of confidence and altruism in me, could not possibly have been based on chance alone given my condition at the time. In any other situation, perhaps it could be attributed to random, external factors, but not this one. The free will and independence I experienced in making such an altruistic decision was the greatest joy of all, for how can one derive pleasure or significance from an act if all things were already predestined to occur since the start of our universe? Predestination is a manmade construct aimed at solving one of the many riddles of the universe. This idea radiates from the all-knowing omniscient powers that, despite their massive support, have yet to make themselves visible to humanity and refuse to prove their existence. Could it be that their existence is random and occurred by chance over four billion years ago, or were these powers predestined to show humanity ignorance and a false sense of reality?

Nobody can justifiably find themselves in the position to dismiss the ideas of predestination so often proposed by the higher powers of our society. In contrast, the evidence attesting to these conceptual foundations is but a fleeting investigation into a grander, more expansive theory that may one day encompass the daily rituals in which we find ourselves repeating. The age-old problem with such concepts is that they are impossible to prove. Why should we be forced to lead a life of faith in a power that does not even attempt to make its authority visible to us? Are we all damned for eternity because of our lack of understanding in the trivial nature of this basic idea? I may argue that these eternal entities are no greater than myself, for I can make myself known to the masses and expand my authority as my will desires. There is so much to do, so much to fix in this decaying sphere, and yet this invisible force reckons that our worldly problems do not fancy its interests sufficiently. Deliver me to whatever path you please when my life comes to an end, but just know that I refuse to take part in your congregation on the basis of the ignorance, greed, and demanding hostility of your loyal subjects who continue to follow blindly in your footsteps.

No matter what one may decide for themselves or attempt to impose on others, human beings are driven not by reason, not by rationality or arithmetical approximations to their actions, but rather by the uninhibited impulse of free will and independence. Digressing on this, we can agree that actions range between the classifications of beneficial, neutral, and malignant. Nevertheless, the individual’s ultimate realization by means of free will may result in a better understanding of the universe as a whole, to which degree some may argue that mankind’s intentions should never be restricted as to prevent these potential realizations. From the petty crimes to the wars to the breakthrough discoveries that bombard our media on a daily basis, a sharper observation will reveal that these elements play a much larger role in the development and evolution of our society than previously fathomed, and will determine how the timeline of the world plays out. As such, one can conclude with absolute certainty that the state of humanity constantly finds itself in a sort of limbo, leveraging between pure rationality by means of infinite knowledge and chaotic irrationality by means of free will. There is no easy solution as to which is the preferable situation, that is up to you to decide for yourself as I am not here to change your views, but rather to amplify your eyes and stimulate your mind.

As much as I would be obliged to build further upon this digression, my train of thought was detained and consequently severed upon transcendently passing by an ancient shed bordering the feral woods to my left. Now in a state of decay, the shed screamed in agony as I geared my way past it. I responded to its cries by providing advice and resolutions but, once again, it was to no avail, for we do not speak from the same tongue. The shed’s cries grew increasingly piercing until an unbearable, untamable whisper crashed through my brain and flipped my perspective upside-down… or inside-out; I can’t remember. The pain and agony of the seemingly belligerent shed sufficed to bring me to an understanding of the situation to which my unstable mind has conducted me. The caved-in, dry-rotted roofing was delivering immense bouts of pain to the poor shed, although the cries and screeches pronounced from it may be the manifestation of a more profound disposition. In spite of the delusions and ravings of my waking mindstate, I proceeded to acquire a densely watered-down tarp from inside the shed, which surprisingly dealt the shed even more pain and agony. Upon exiting the shed, I could see that the face of the edifice was somberly lamenting. Invisible tears were rolling down its time-stained wooden panels, and this established a unique sense of solitude deep within my soul. I quickly covered the roof as to prevent further infestation of the abandoned shed’s privacy, for privacy is all he really desired, and nothing more. The shed nodded at my assistance and agreeably reached out to me. From that point on the shed never again screamed in agony, for it had discovered the humanistic path to everlasting manipulation.

What is the use in expressing pain and agony through such a destructive, irrelevant manner? Though we feel physical and mentally debilitating pain, we must realize that this pain exists solely within us and is of nobody else’s disposition. Suffering is innate to human beings, and as such must remain as innate a factor as our own well-being. However, as was the case with the lonely swingset, this shed was no human being by our precise definition. Given this context, it suffices to say that this object, although devised by man and constructed by man, exhibited no remarkable similarities to man himself. One may remark that these tangible objects could not possibly express sentimental human emotions, no matter the circumstances, and who would dare denote man an object? In this case, how is it that the shed manifested uniquely human emotions and characteristics despite its inferior status? The humble swingset, having been shown the path to companionship, and the forsaken shed, having been shown the path to manipulation, possessed traits unheard of in materialistic objects.

Human traits are unique in that they can be expressed and carried out in such a way as to gain whatever it is the individual most desires, be it for better or for worse, by any means necessary. Despite the sentimental value or financial asset that a materialistic object may represent to us, it will always remain as such: a materialistic object. These inherent traits cannot formally be taught, they are practiced and developed upon throughout our entire lifetimes, and the generations yet to come, with the aim of contributing to humanity’s collective desires, necessities, and overall progress. Perhaps it would be insightful to analyze the nature of these traits and determine with certain accuracy whether or not they are unique to human beings and if they can be acquired by other organisms, be them animate or inanimate.

The employment of these traits may prove charitable to mankind, while simultaneously exacerbating aspects of mankind considered less significant. All this considered, it must be pointed out that it is impossible to draw a line between significant aspects that are worth making sacrifices for and those which do not receive sufficient significance and, consequently, lay dormant in the realization of their full potential. Take, for example, the idea of revenge. This element, clearly observable in all conscious organisms, stands firmly in this discussion concerning significance. On one end, revenge is often seen as a requisite for justice and a means of obtaining self-gratitude for a previous wrongdoing by another detestable entity by means of free will and careful planning. On the other hand, revenge is, at its essence, pointless and ritualistic when taking into consideration predestination. If everything is predetermined, then it’s fair to say that everything we do is fundamentally without meaning, that we are but hamsters darting through an endless tunnel or panicking in an impossible labyrinth. The ritualistic man acts not on his desires and free will, but rather on societal expectations and perceived entitlement on his part. Taking away man’s free will, by means of the application of predestination, renders everything we do right and rational. This, I tell you, is a conceptual sin of humanity. Significance in any form exists solely when man is given independence to determine his own actions, and only then can his revenge be justified.


Read the exciting conclusion to Lost, Studied, Devised in this month’s issue – on sale now!


Copyright © 2018. Lost, Studied, Devised by Joshua Farley


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