I’m beginning to understand more and more that our current day society – at least in America – has an obsession with knowing the end to everything.
I am of course not speaking just from observation of others but of my own journey as I am (or have been historically) one of the most impatient people I know.
There is beauty in the mystery that makes our life stories so rich with juicy twists and turns and wonderment. But unfortunately, because of our “instant society”, wonderment is an inconvenience and therefore the obsession with knowing the end result drives us to be common.
I am a huge fan of film and cinema and collect my viewings of each show and movie as an internal reflection of what’s going on in life, or my perception of my life versus others perceptions.
I’ve noticed the more artistic a film, theatrical performance or art piece is, the less patience people have for it. When I say artistic, I’m focusing on the obscure content that is usually riveting in its emotional visual impact but not necessarily following the formula of traditional story lines.
This Sunday I watch the finale of Girls and the premiere of the final season of The Leftovers. One I was hoping for a mystery to be solved, and the other I was so refreshed by the overwhelming obscurity.
I couldn’t quite tell you why I watched the show Girls from its beginning season until it’s end. To be quite honest, I was abhorred and utterly irritated by every single character and plot line. Every fiber of my morals told me to stop watching the show because of its incessant self-centered depiction of millennial’s in such a negative light. The mystery to me that kept me watching was to know if it was written that way intentionally to get us somewhere. In which case I would deem Lena Dunham a genius. So with every train wreck of an episode where a character would exhibit a blatant obscene amount of egocentric narcissistic oblivion of anything outside their own concerns, I was waiting for the lesson or reprieve to exhibit my hopes for true humanity. Unfortunately, the finale did not deliver that. There was no mystery to be solved. That’s just the way these people were. Waste of time on my part? No. Just a hard truth in knowing there are just people like that out there.
The Leftovers on the other hand did not disappoint in its first episode with absolute complete and total mystery as to where we were in the story and where we were going. The story line is of course beyond fiction if not science-fiction. But the reality is based in a sort of biblical mystery, although not quite the usual King James Bible mystery…which to me is not very mysterious at all. In fact, the Bible to me claims to know the beginning and end of everything which drives me fucking bananas. No, this mystery envelops the absolute indescribable phenomenon of humanity versus a cosmic divine plan that has seemingly no sacredness nor responsibility of revealing its nature or intention. Not only does this drive the characters to create their own explanations so that they can live sanely, but it drives us viewers in a frenzy because we want to solve the mystery. Now.
Personally, even though slightly unnerved, I enjoy not knowing everything. While my husband is yelling at the TV “What the fuck is going on in this show!? ” with clear irritation, I’m smiling and excited. I know that there are a ton of little hints and nuances to be caught that I might miss maybe with only one viewing of an episode. I know you need to slow down and watch it again to see all the signs.
An elder in my Native American community, Carl Big Heart, once said something so profound that my friend Stefan decided to make hats out of it. He said:
“It has to be a mystery otherwise it’s a lie.”
He was referring to the secular response to a religious belief system that claims to know the answers to everything. Do not get me wrong, there are some really beautiful, useful purposes to organized religions.They keep people tied to their roots in tradition. They give people a set of guidelines to live by such that the structure helps form a life they can manage. It creates a construct to raise children by. It lays out the concepts of “good” versus “evil” so that people have a basis to choose from. But in reality, all religions are man-made. Man took the mystery and gave it content so that others can understand it. Man also gave it his interpretation. No matter how old the religion, at some point a human being put pen to paper to give us what our understanding of what it is today.
Therefore the mystery of it is tainted with our need to understand it. Unfortunately, the negative results of this manifest in a right/wrong, you/me construct. It’s actually quite nonsensical if you think about it.
The beauty in the mystery is the discovery of our own experience versus only following what we’re told is true, which has an already written ending. With the unknown, the possibilities are limitless.
Those claiming to already know the ending of our human story are a part of the problem in what’s been going on with our country, our administration, and lack of success in our efforts to resist. The mystery keeps us unified as one group of people on one planet amidst many things unknown. The discovery of life may sometimes lead to chaos. But that’s how we learn and know what is true. It’s easier to believe and imagine a life and its possibilities when we’re not locked into a box of “the way it should be.” When there is an open space to delve and discover, and no judgement in that process… fear is healthy and a friendly part of the process rather than a debilitating weight that seems to block us.
So in going back to the beginning in the purpose of this writing. I’m learning more and more that the mystery is something to bewilder, play with and collaborate with. To know the end of your journey before you take the journey is just silly. I understand that my need to know gives me security and comfort. I always say if you give me the directions I can follow them. But what if the greater possibility is outside given directions, and more about what you discover when you follow your own internal compass. This is not what society would tell you, because how would it be able to sell anything to you if there were no rules or directions of what you need? How could they “know” they are in the club of success if they didn’t create what that looks like? How would they know they are on the “right side” of society if they didn’t create the rules of what that is or looks like? How could they know they are right with God if they didn’t make commandments, and caste systems to tell them so?
The thing is, life is passion, beauty, pain, chaos, conflict and many unknown things. It’s hard enough to be true to yourself while living by someone else’s rules. Your journey to your vocation, your purpose, and your truth, lies within the mystery of life. You cannot possibly know for sure what that is until you’ve lived it. So I invite you to erase the ending you’ve already written for yourself. Dive into life, swimming in the unknown waters. Discover what is awesome and what sucks. With every suck, develop a richer awesome. Have goals but be open to them not being the pinnacle potential to your greatness. Only you can live your journey and write your own rules. Stop being afraid of what others think or the rules they make because they are afraid of what they don’t know. Go discover and be sure for yourself, a co write every page day by day with a childlike awe and wonderment.