The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

Disorientation is loss of the East. Ask any navigator: the east is what you sail by. Lose the east and you lose your bearings, your certainties, your knowledge of what is and what may be, perhaps even your life. Where was that star you followed to the manger? That's right. The east orients. That's the official version. The language says so, and you should never argue with the language.

But let's just suppose. What if the whole deal - orientation, knowing where you are, and so on - what if it's all a scam? What if all of it - home, kinship, the whole enchilada - is just the biggest, most truly global, and centuries-oldest piece of brainwashing? Suppose that it's only when you dare to let go that your real life begins? When you're whirling free of the mother ship, when you cut your ropes, slip your chain, step off the map, go absent without leave, scram, vamoose, whatever: suppose that it's then, and only then, that you're actually free to act! To lead the life nobody tells you how to live, or when, or why. In which nobody orders you to go forth or die for them, or for god, or comes to get you because you broke one of the rules, or because you're one of those people who are, for reasons which unfortunately you can't be given, simply not allowed. Suppose you've got to go through the feeling of being lost, into the chaos and beyond; you've got to accept the loneliness, the wild panic of losing your moorings, the vertiginous terror of the horizon spinning round and round like the edge of a coin tossed in the air.

You won't do it. Most of you won't do it. The world's head laundry is pretty good at washing brains: Don't jump off that cliff don't walk through that door don't step into that waterfall don't take that chance don't step across that line don't ruffle my sensitivities I'm warning you now don't make me mad you're doing it you are making me mad. You won't have a chance you haven't got a prayer you're finished you're history you're less than nothing, you're dead to me, dead to your whole family your nation your race, everything you ought to love more than life and listen to like your master's voice and follow blindly and bow down before and worship and obey; you're dead, you hear me, forget about it, you stupid bastard, I don't even know your name.

But just imagine you did it. You stepped off the edge of the earth, or through the fatal waterfall, and there it was: the magic valley at the end of the universe, the blessed kingdom of the air. Great music everywhere. You breathe the music, in and out, it's your element now. It feels better than "belonging" in your lungs.

- Salman Rushdie (The Ground Beneath Her Feet)

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Why do we let our fear control us? Why do we let it rule our lives? We are all strong. We can all step up to the challenge; rise to the occasion. So why do we rotate round the same spot while the world passes us by? Especially when we know we aren't even happy doing it. Fear. You've lost not because you couldn't do it, but because you didn't try. Your life is out there waiting for you; but instead, you let your fear sit at the steering wheel. Sitting on a couch and looking into the darkness - is that really better than the unknown? Do any of us really want to have to turn around at 44 and live the next 20 years in regret? Fear and regret - are they the only ones who have the license to drive?

This post is going out to a special friend. A friend who, I hope, will step off the edge of the earth and through the waterfall. Into the magic valley.

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Be true to your heart, and true to your conscience.

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