23 Aug The World As It Really Is
IMAGINE: IT’S YOUR first time going through a normal day of being a human being. You’re not from this planet — but you’ve been placed in a human body and feel what humans feel, experience what they experience, and see what they see.
You can discern what’s taking place, but the meaning has been stripped. How would everything seem? It’s a dark and cloudy day. The sky extends in waves of grey, further and further until the details of the clouds lose their edges which the eye can no longer perceive. You might feel a drop of rain on the tip of your nose, causing you to stop, dazed, wondering what had happened.
You look up and feel the rain fall from the sky, and perhaps a tear would form in your eye, and you wonder why.
What is this miracle? The same water that falls from some unknown place up above rises from the depths of your being. It’s released in pure emotion as if it’s being drawn out of you. Damn, it feels good to cry. We can’t make it happen, for it’s an energy that’s evoked.
Maybe you’d smile at this foreign occurrence, believing that you possess the same capacity as the earth to produce the gift of rain. You believe you’re just as beautiful as that grey and somber sky.
You walk past people on the street — people who look like you, walk like you, talk like you, at least in a sense; they talk with their mouths, with their hands, with their eyes. You might not know what to say, so you smile. As big as you can.
It comes naturally and without suppression, for you let your need to communicate flow freely. You want to interact, talk with these other creatures; and you may, for you’ve been given the gift of speech. A joyful hello! comes from an an unexplainable source within you, and the other human smiles back. Their eyes change, their face shifts — something in them comes alive, ignites, as it does in you.
The rain falls harder; you put your arms out by your sides and embrace this gift, for it makes the earth smell sweet and strange, it makes the streets glisten and the colors of the buildings darken. Your senses are unequivocally alive; they simply want something to latch onto, a sight, a sound, something to perpetuate this moment of awakening.
You see people through the dampened window of a coffee shop; they’re talking and exuding warmth. You can feel it through the walls.
As you look up into the waning light of the sky, you close your eyes, overwhelmed with joy, bliss, and peace.
Your eyes open. You’re in bed, and the sun is barely perceptible beyond the cloak of the curtain. You’re back in your body; the creak in your limbs that’s been there for years is noticeable. Confusion creeps into your being as the thoughts bombard your consciousness. What did I just feel? You wonder. It felt so real… because it is.
At what point does the incomprehensible become trivial? Life — this incredible gift of being — becomes routine as our days, each a chord in the song of our lives, blend into one low hum. There’s a part of each of us that longs for the same thing, a release from the confines of our self.
Within these confines, each day is trivial, instead of miraculous. Every painful moment drags us down instead of making us dig deeper. Perhaps we feel we can’t share in the beauty of being alive, because to truly appreciate what’s happening here would seem abnormal. We want to fit in, blend in, and act as if we don’t feel hurt, broken, weak. But we do — we all do in some capacity.
There is something all of us experience which is the same for all human beings, but which nevertheless is seldom conveyed apart from in the private sphere,
writes Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard in Book Six of his My Struggle series.
All of us encounter difficulties at some point in our lives… These things are not represented, and seem not to exist, or else to exist only as a burden that each of us must bear on our own.
The My Struggle series by Karl Ove Knausgaard changed my life, specifically this quote which to me was the essence of the entire series. There’s nothing that makes Karl Ove Knausgaard particularly exceptional. There’s no reason he should have written a six-part 3,600 page series — but he did — he writes about everyday life in such a compelling way, I couldn’t put the books down.
He summarized this notion and his style of writing, but more so his way of seeing the world, in an interview with PBS. Autumn is the first of a four-book-series that parallels the seasons. While My Struggle is acutely introspective, he writes to his unborn daughter to describe the temporal details of the world in this series.
I wanted to write about the simple pleasures of life,
Knausgaard says in an interview with PBS back in 2017 around the launch of Autumn.
I want her to see the complexity of the world and that everything is somehow valuable. When I would sit in front of something and wanted to write about it, for instance, a toothbrush, there’s not much to say about it. But then you start to write, and something happens, things open up, and you see it’s loaded with meaning.
Knausgaard truly made me believe I could be a writer, if only to try and capture that daily endeavor to see every little thing we do as miraculous. Without a doubt, I get caught up in the trivialities of every day life just as much as anybody. But then, when I feel a drop of rain or I hear a bird chirping before the sun rises in the morning, it hits me.
We are all a part of something mysterious, beautiful and real. We are all undergoing the human experience where every single day is an opportunity to explore the world and who we are as people.
Life isn’t always simple, but it can be simplified. What would happen if we shifted our perspective to see the day through a brand new set of eyes? What would happen if we shared what’s on our mind, if we let it out — the pain, the joy, the fears, the music in our souls.
We might see the world for what it truly is.