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Stream of consciousness on how thought & emotion are like the animal kingdom

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

and whether existence has any meaning

I swear, she thought, I waste so much time studying and observing my own thoughts like zoo animals that I forget entirely I am not one of them – that I am the gatekeeper to this kingdom of creatures, all of whom I must accept as a part of my nature and treat humanely. I mean, the life of a shark is not inherently worth less than that of a rabbit simply because one lurks in the shadowy depths capable of attack and the other has fur and basks in sunshine, is it?

She could allow them to exist peacefully in their natural habitats, rather than locked away in cages and tanks, and see them as rightful habitants of her inner world with whom she coexists. They mustn’t run her kingdom, yet neither should they be oppressed in it. Accepting them did not mean she had to go sticking her hands in bear caves or rustling beehives, but she also didn’t have to go burning down forests. All of them—every piece of her—had been given the gift of existence just like she had – so what made her more entitled to it than them?

Her kingdom was nothing without their color, diversity, various habitats, incredibly fascinating mysteries to discover, the beauty of their wilderness and the freedom in how they simply were what they were. The way they embodied their nature and reminded her she could embody the various states of her own. It was how she tended to this inner world, adapted to its seasons and cycles, and wielded her power to decide her place in it relative to all else that seemed important.

She thought of her biology. Wondered if the inner workings of the human mind and body simply mirrored nature and all life in it. If she was part of a massive puzzle whose bigger picture was encrypted in its smallest foundational piece encoded into the cellular structure of all living organisms, including her.

Then she thought of our world. Of all the pain and suffering. The starvation, destruction, polluted oceans and skies, dying animals and habitats. And she thought of all her own pain and suffering, and that of humanity. And wondered, if we really were reflections of one another, did our inner nature mirror that of the world or the world that of our inner nature?

The classic “chicken or the egg” question. Except, she hypothesized, did we not have the ability to uncover the answer in this case? If we transformed the relationships we had to our inner worlds, would we not see whether our surrounding world reflected that transformation back to us? If so (or if not), well then wouldn't we know which comes first? It seemed worth the try, she thought.

She had no idea her place in the existential puzzle. However, since no puzzle can be complete if it is missing any one piece – wouldn’t that mean hers, and yours, and everyone’s counted somehow? In what way they counted, she had no idea. But logically, didn’t they have to? Did it even matter all? Of course not, was her conclusion. Nothing really mattered after all, did it? If we along with every trace of us were to disappear off the face of the planet – would anything we had done or thought or said, or why we did or thought or said those things, matter? Why should it now?

She could not answer any of these questions, nor did she seek to. Her mind had spent enough time navigating existential philosophical labyrinths and dissecting rationalizations for a lifetime – she did not think it was for her anymore, not really. In fact, she had grown exhausted from attempting to answer much of anything from her mind at all these days. It had failed her, tricked her, destroyed her too many times.

That left her heart, which answered simply:

Of course it matters. The meaning we give life is what we have to live for, and what we live for gives life meaning. If nothing matters, what is there to make life worth living? So we make it matter by allowing who and what matters, to matter deeply. Despite the risk of losing what matters, for that is better than never having known just how much it would. How else would we ever get through life without dying inside of boredom, emptiness, and despair?

That is how she had felt, at least, when she had lost sight of meaning in her life. Maybe she knew nothing and never would know anything for sure. Maybe all she knew, and all she could ever know for sure, is how she felt. And what she felt was that she wanted it to matter. That she wanted to allow it to matter so she could feel like it did, in fact, matter.

Maybe, because deep down all she wanted was to feel like she mattered.

Didn’t we all?

An example of how nature and human beings might possibly mirror each other in various ways. This one is anatomical. Observe how trees look just like, and basically are, giant pulmonary systems. Funny to think we all have mini trees inside of us and live in a world of giant lungs.

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