Life, Love, and What Those Are

Are poets philosophers?

I think yes on a very basic level.  Because one of the things we represent is emotion, and that is a dearly coveted yet singularly representative aspect of the human condition.  How can we be so imbued within its grasp and not wonder of its – or our – origins?

We often come to believe that our own emotions are universal, as though all people experience the same emotions in exactly the same way.  But I have lived long enough to know that this idea is simply not true.  In fact I would say that people experience emotions in such vastly different ways so as to become as dissimilar as fingerprints, with each occupant in life being completely unique within his or her own view. 

Eyesight is a good way to explain the differences of how we view things, I think.  Many people believe that some animals can only see in black and white.  Dogs, for example, are thought by some to only see in black and white.  Science can prove this theory by identifying the type of “rods and cones” in the animal’s retina.  If only black and white cones are present then it can be assumed the animal can only see the world in black and white.

Science is also able to detect if our retinas have rods and cones that can detect color.  In fact they have indeed established that.  But they can not tell us what color you see when you look at the sky.  Sure, we all call that color “blue.”  We are taught from birth that when we look up at the sky we see a color and that color is called “blue.”  But the word “blue” is only a definition of that color.  It is not the color itself.  The color itself can only be absorbed though our eyes.  And our eyes do not have language to describe it. 

When one person looks up in the sky he sees “blue,” and another might look into the sky and see what the first person believes is “green.”  They both call it “blue,” because they were taught that definition of sky color.  So when they communicate and use the word “blue” they think they are talking about the same color.  But in reality they may not talking about the same color.  There is no way that I can be certain that my “blue” is not someone else’s “red.”

Language is a social function enabling us to describe those things we sense, whether through the five physical senses or emotion.  But the senses themselves, as well as emotion, are entirely individual – not social at all.  They are wholly owned and experienced only by the viewer himself.  But they can be translated into social language by the use of words, to enable us to share the things and emotions we sense.  But I hold in all cases that the sharing of these things are in every instance degraded by the verbal translation.

So spoken or written emotion, in my opinion, is never identical between two different persons.  Yes, they both experience an emotion when a friend or family member dies, and they can commiserate with language and learn to call that emotion “sadness” between themselves.  And although they can both agree that “sadness” is what they each feel, I hold the emotion within each  of them is not exactly identical to the others, and that each will deal with that event, death, or loss, entirely uniquely.  The word “sadness” might be a good marker for the feelings, but there is a tremendous amount of wiggle room in it.

I mention all of this because of my own philosophy of life.  Although it is almost identical to the written or spoken versions from everyone else, there are certain intricacies in it that are not similar to any one else’s view.

Yes, I believe in God.  I think He created us for a reason.  I think He didn’t really explain to us what that reason is.  So I am left to ponder that, or philosophize, on what that reason might be. 

Here are the facts:

1.  We are each present here. (Through birth)
2.  We do not know if we asked to be present here. (Or to be born.)
3.  We are facing decisions in life, exactly like a quiz.
4.  But instead of filling in little circles with a #2 pencil, our answers to the quiz are in the form of actions.
5.  If we pass the exam we can go on to Heaven, where eternity becomes pleasurable.  (Father doesn’t whip your ass for bringing home bad marks because you brought home good marks)
6.  If we don’t pass the test then we spend eternity gnashing our teeth and burning in a lake of fire. (Dad whips our ass for bringing home bad marks)
Although I am making light of these things, these are my actual beliefs.

Obviously, we are being tested.  I mean we were put here in this life specifically to be tested.  I think that much is really clear.  So in my opinion the answer to the philosophy of life can only be found in the answer to this question:  Why are we being tested?

So indeed why?  Why are we being tested?  God didn’t give us a reason why.  Personally, I think it is because we all fucked up pretty bad in another life, or another existence somewhere, and so we were all sent here to repent for what we did. 

So really, life is Purgatory. 

Period.  Really, that’s my philosophy.  Yes, I know life is filled with so many other things.  Loving relationships with friends and family, for instance, can certainly make life wonderful.  Or being able to dream and then structure one’s life in a way to attain those goals and desires, whether professionally or spiritually, can certainly be fulfilling also.

But all too often I believe that we fall into these routines where we lose sight of the fact of the real reason we are here.  It’s as though we are wearing blinders created by our daily routines and things we do to normalize our lives like getting the kids ready to put on the bus, or brushing our teeth and showering before work, keeping gas in the car so we can get to work, keeping the nose to the grindstone so we can continue supporting our family, and buying toothpaste, and gas, so that we can continue supporting our family, and buying toothpaste, and gas, an on and on ad-infinitum……

I think our lives can become so filled with the truly mundane – and so much so – that we lose sight of the real reason we are here:  Which is simply to learn how to love.  That’s why God put us here.  To love one another because obviously at some point in our past life – (lives) – we failed to do that. 

Anyway, that’s my philosophy.  And just so you know, I already love you.  Not because I have to, and not because God asks me too.  But because I can.  I always start everything I do and every relationship with that in mind and go from there.  I don’t know what color you see as “love,” but that’s what I see. 


About johnallenrichter

I am an aspiring Poet and adorer of life, a conqueror of nothing. However I am a champion curator of truth and friendship and hold both of those things most dearly to my heart. Welcome to my mind's eye. I hope you will enjoy what you may find and please know that you have a friend here. View all posts by johnallenrichter

2 responses to “Life, Love, and What Those Are

  • Mark Kerstetter

    Two things (apart from the supreme importance of love) I’ll take away from this essay:

    1) “people experience emotions in such vastly different ways so as to become as dissimilar as fingerprints”

    2) “I hold in all cases that the sharing of these things are in every instance degraded by the verbal translation.”

    These two things endlessly problematize the writing of poems, which are much more than the mere expression of the poet’s emotions yet cannot hope to ever attain the truly universal. But love must be present in everything we do (including writing poems).

  • Pat Hatt

    Hmmm so 7 billion people screwed up along the way, not including aliens and such, and we all have to deal with this hell? Interesting indeed. I must have pissed someone off big time in a previous life if that is the case. Maybe this life is payback because we didn’t go along with the bad, the big bad got mad and hijacked whatever and sent all here, as he/she/it watches with delight. So many ways to go, always interesting to think about.

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