Tabula Rasa

July 8th, 2011

baby1Big eyes blink up at the world. She doesn’t recognize what anything around her is, the sound of the tram thumping over the rails, the flashing lights whirring by the windows, expressionless, she looks on, she blinks on. She can’t ask questions. Many pains cross her mother’s face, I can see her strain, her concern, the sun streaked skin, wrinkles streak across the thin skin of her face,  and I wonder what she’s seen. Certainly, her worries are ones I’ve yet to experience in life. The baby doesn’t know what she is looking at. She is content with the world, her quiet world flashes by her eyes safely from the bosom of her mother. She does not associate most things she sees with a meaning, a concern, a worry, a happiness, because they mean nothing to her.  She is curled up in his mother’s lap, secure.

Her mother looks at the things around her and sees things that could happen, things that have happened, she associates the sights that she see’s with events. She eyes the people entering the tram, she questions things in her head quietly, she analyzes. The older we get, the more we associate everything that happens with something else, something that has happened in the past. As Patch Adams called it, it’s the “but” syndrome.

This “but” syndrome coddles fears, expectations, and worries. I look at this baby, and try to remember what it was like to not think about anything. To not know what anything was. My brain stretches back to moments of being a kid when I would play outside in the summer, bare, dirty feet running around on 100+ degree sidewalk, and not caring. I don’t even remember it as being hot where I grew up. I remember thinking in second grade that I could never cross an ocean, that the world was too big and that I’d be afraid to see it. I’ve always clearly remembered when we would study maps in elementary school, and we studied dinosaurs, and learned stories about Nelly Bly and faraway places. Babies don’t know what they are, they don’t know they are human, black, white, boy, girl… these words mean nothing to them. They are words and descriptions that develop as they grow and the world around makes its impression.

I often hear that we should retain our childish innocence.  I was envious of that baby; able to curl up in a lap, simply consoled when upset. Sometimes life just gets so hectic that I too, want be enveloped in the security of someone else. I spend my entire life going, on my own, thinking, pondering, worrying. I also spend my entire day laughing, smiling, talking, and loving.  From the moment I wake up in the morning, I have to make decisions. That baby doesn’t make decisions, she just is.  The more I see, the more I worry. The more news I read, the more I can imagine going wrong. Oftentimes my brain concocts obscene accidents as I see all the possibilities in a situation that could happen.

Patch Adams described this “but” syndrome as the reason for why we all manage to back out of situations, and don’t reach our potentials, instead of just loving and moving forward, we fall back into this, “but I had a bad experience.” We are creatures too influenced by the things that happen around us, and are run by the things the society tells we. We are run by our media, pictures, and what our governments want us to believe.  I see all these poor people, drones, bopping along in their world, not questioning anything around them. They repeat what they see, and adapt mannerisms of what their friends do. We want to be what we see in magazines, what some editor decided was hip, and trendy, and sexy. We are consumers, followers, molders.

We look for excuses, for ways out, but who goes the extra mile for anything today, instead of doing it all half-ass?image1

I enjoy my 10-15 minutes a day on trains or buses because they are the one time of day where I don’t have to be doing anything. I don’t even have to think.  It’s the most carefree time of day, and not even troubled by the thoughts that plague us before we go to sleep.

Today is your day, what will you do with it?

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