The Search for " IT"
What are you searching for?
Talk about IT:
For most us, our lives can be a blur of “this happened, that happened.”
"We are here
to find something.
Something known as . . . "IT".
We have errands to run; we’re going here for dinner; we’re going there to meet friends; we need to do all these dozens of things for our job . . .
. . . and so on, and so on. Driven by our needs and wants, we go from one day, on year, one moment to the next, stumbling from experience to experience, oscillating randomly between pain and boredom, confusion and certainty, joy and misery, day after day, night after night.
In this state, when it comes to “The Big Questions” – “why are we here, where did we come from, where are we going, how should we spend our lives?” – the answer is essentially this: “We aren't quite sure how we got here, we don’t know where we came from or where we’re going, and we don't really know what we're supposed to do now that we’re here.” We’re too busy dealing with this immediate crisis (as we’ve been busy dealing with all the hundreds of other previous crisis) to really stop and think about much of anything at all. Essentially, this state is being tossed around by life, like a bit of paper blowing in the wind, tossed into the air absently by a drunken bum who peeled it off a bottle of wine . . .
"Life is just
one damned thing after another."
- Elbert Hubbard
Occasionally, usually from frustration, inspiration, confusion or pain, we’ll snap out of this “blur of experiences” mode - at least momentarily - and try to graduate up to the next level.
Maybe we read that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” and we don’t want to be part of “the mass.” Perhaps we’re inspired by a self-help author or motivational speaker to really write down our goals and look at them every day. Perhaps we just wake up one day with a little extra boost of self-knowledge, and realize that we’re basically sleepwalking through life, stumbling around without purpose or direction, and we want – if it’s possible – to make things better. Or at least to be awake while we’re stumbling around.
"Hey . . . I think I found my contact lens!"
Whatever the reason, we decide to take a direction. We have a goal. We become “proactive.” We take control of our lives. No more stumbling around like blind men groping in the dark, no more victims of circumstances begging for luck or blind chance or whatever to shine down on us. We become captains of our own ships, masters of our own souls, bosses of our own little cubicles of life.
Previously, for all practical purposes, we had no real “goals.” We did have lots of activities, of course, but in terms of real goals – well, they changed instantly, moment-to-moment. Typically they assumed the basic form of the survival/sex/status instincts: We're hungry – food is the goal. We’re horny – sex is the goal. We’re tired – sleep is “IT”. We fall in love – the other person is “IT”. We’re hungry again – food is “IT”. “IT” is there, but it, and for all practical purposes, is buried beneath the haze and flurry of being lost in the immediate moment.
But now we’ve moved on to the next stage - now we have a goal, a direction, a purpose. Our goal is to make, say, a certain amount of money. Our goal is to marry. Our goal is reach the top of the career chain. Our goal is to get rich. To lose weight. Our goal, “IT”, is to buy a house. “IT” is to have kids . . .. . . become famous . . . get a divorce . . . get to heaven . . . find God . . . find food . . . find sex . . . food . . . sex . . .
And whatever that goal/”IT” is, it holds a magic, irresistible promise for us: if we reach it, when we accomplish that goal . . . it will be everything we’ve been looking for. It will be everything we’ve been promised. Or, it will be most of what we’ve been promised. At the very least, it will be worth the struggle it took to achieve it.
And so, we often spend years and years, working towards our goals and dreams . . . chasing “IT”.
"We're always getting ready to live,
but never living."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
And sometimes, for similar reasons . . . we get tired of this stage also, and want to move on.
Sometimes our desire to move on comes because of failure: whatever our goal
"I know IT's in here somewhere . . . "
was, we didn’t reach it, and now it’s too late, and so now we have to find a way to live without it. Sometimes, it can also happen because of success: we reach our goal – and discover what we thought was “IT” – and found out that . . . well, it wasn’t everything we had hoped for. It wasn’t “IT”.
And sometimes we can just have a hard time coming up with a worthy goal for ourselves in the first place. “What is your ultimate, final, most secret dream? What is your deepest, deepest fantasy? What do you really, really, really want, more than anything else you can even imagine?” And the answer is, basically . . . “I don’t know.” Whatever we come up with just really doesn’t seem that great. Other folks have gotten it (fame, money, whatever) and they don’t seem to be that happy. And even, possibly, I have experienced it, and wound up asking . . . "is this all there is?".
And here we find ourselves in a unique position: we’re searching for “IT” – like everyone else is – but unlike everyone else,
1) we are not so lost in the blur and haze of day-to-day experience that we can’t think clearly about where we’re heading, or why; and
2) we are not so obsessed with some single tangible goal (get rich, get married, have kids, etc) that we can’t imagine doing anything else, or consider the possibility that what we’re searching for might not be worth the struggle.
On the surface, nearly everyone fits into category one (lost in the blur) or two (obsessed with some goal).
Underneath the surface, a lot of these folks actually fit into category three. If you ask someone, after all, “will getting rich make you ultimately, permanently happy? Do you really think that getting famous/getting married/getting laid again, will be “IT”? Their answers: “No.”
And here is where things start to get interesting.
To folks in category One (lost in the blur), LiveReal just won’t make too much
Oh boy! This is IT!!
sense. They’re too busy scrambling around in the day-to-day drama of experience to waste time talking and thinking about abstract, intellectual, nonexistent ghosts. There are much more important things to do, like finding something to eat, drink, or have sex with, and it’s a lot more fun to do just about anything else.
To folks in category Two (obsessed with a goal), LiveReal probably won’t make too much sense either. Or really, they’re just too frantically busy and heavily invested in climbing the tree to stop and ask “am I climbing the right tree?”
So to folks in category number Three – those rare folks who are neither lost in the blur or obsessed with some specific promise of happiness – the world can be a pretty lonely place.
For many reasons – not the least of which is the rarity and consequential loneliness associated with it - this stage Three involves various dangers. One of the most prevalent is the danger of slipping into nihilism, where everything is a big, stupid, meaningless sham – “No goals are worth striving for, no dream or fantasy ever delivers what it’s promised, and everybody is on a mad, insane quest for the engrossing illusions and essentially the nonexistent. Nothing is really worth it . . . so therefore, I might as might as well smoke pot/kill myself/give up on all this hard thinking and put my head in the sand.” Another danger is to use this type of reasoning to attack any and all forms of deep thought, while living life in Stage number Two. Yet another danger is wasting one's time and energy complaining about all the irritating folks in categories one and two. And so on.
If one has successfully navigated past stage one, two, and the pitfalls of stage three . . . well, they are a rare individual, and hopefully, can find some measure of peace (or at least, a short break from insanity) here at LiveReal.
Oh, boy - that sure wasn't IT . . .
The Category Number Three, in our view, is an entirely different approach to stages one and two. Whereas those in stage two are striving for specific, tangible goals (money, sex, whatever) and those in stage one think that “IT” is whatever drama they are lost in in the moment . . . those in this stage realize that nothing really tangible is going to be “IT”, and at the same time, it’s impossible not to do something with ourselves. And whatever that “something” is, it has to be something that is inspiring, that somehow makes it all worthwhile, that makes it worth getting out of bed in the mornings.
- and all that said, there is always the possibility that, even if "IT" isn't too easy to find, that still, somewhere, somehow . . . it still exists.
- and even, it seems much, much more likely for "IT" to really exist - however absent it might seem - than for it not to.
The solution this entails is, for the first time, to truly become a “Seeker.”
Becoming a real “Seeker” involves more-or-less quitting most of the other games of life, and playing what some call “The Master Game.”
In Stage Two, areas that are never fully delved into are those of religion, psychology, and philosophy – or most often, that of spirituality and the “IT” that all religions. Christianity and Judaism promise salvation and heaven; Buddhism promises nirvana; Hinduism promises union with the Atman; Islam, Taoism, and every major religion each promises its own version of escape and relief from the rat race. Essentially, each religion promises that, if you follow the rules and do things right, you’ll experience “IT”.
(Side note: of course, one of the many catches is that often, heaven – “IT” – can only be experienced after you die.
However, many disagree with this. “Heaven,” or “IT”, many say, can (and must) be experienced here, now, while we’re alive. Some even say that if we don’t find it here, in this life, how do we expect to find it in the next one? Others say a similar thing in a different way: whether or not we ever experience “IT” depends on what we do in this life. Either way, what we’re doing here, now, really matters a lot.)
Now, the true nihilist doesn’t believe even in heaven, or nirvana, or any God that is relevant to much of anything in daily life, or any of the Promised Lands. In this case, there are several alternative variations of the Master Game – including the fact that we have to do something. As Simone Weil said:
"It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in, God. He only has to refuse his ultimate love to everything that is not God. This refusal does not presuppose any belief. It is enough to recognize what is obvious to any mind: that all the goods of this world, past, present, and future, real or imaginary, are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire that perpetually burns within us for an infinite and perfect good."
"Boy, I sure wish
I coulda found LiveReal sooner.
It could have save me so much time . . ."
After all, we have to do something – and smoking as much pot as possible and/or killing oneself really isn’t, we all pretty much know, The Answer. So in this sense, The Master Game might take different variations according to what appeals to the individual most: maybe one just wants to stop fooling and deluding oneself as much as possible. Maybe one just wants to become as truly intelligent as possible. Maybe one wants to discover what his or her true “purpose” is in this life, and what they’re supposed to do with their mornings and afternoons. Maybe one wants to discover true freedom from the rat-race, or self-mastery, or true happiness . . . or whatever along these lines is really appealing.
And here we embark on “The Search for “IT” in all its full-fledged glory – looking into whatever we encounter, digging through whatever religions/philosophies/systems who might have something to offer, plumbing the depths of whatever experience we might encounter that seems to have any clue to what IT’s really all about.
This quest might often resemble stages one or two at various times – it may seem to be seeking a specific goal (even if that goal is “enlightenment”) or it may seem to look exactly the same as being lost in the haze of life. But this individual has a different motivation: to discover the truth about What Is Really Going On . . . to uncover the Real Score about what gives rise to “IT”, what gives rise to our longing for “IT” and our separation from “IT”, and even possibly to what gives rise to this whole search itself.
Of course, this is what all of us are really doing already, although it takes many forms. This quest might involve searching through relationships (probably the most popular form of the search for IT). It might involve searching through psychology or any number of various therapies (which all promise their own versions of IT for a few bucks-per-hour) or even pills. It might take the form of the search for God, or Love, or happiness, or faith, or intimacy, or morality, or understanding why we're here, why life is utter hell, or why we suffer. It might take the form of trying meditation or investigating various spiritual giants – those who claim, in a way, that they have found what we’re all searching for, they’ve found IT. We may well find that, in our quest for “IT”, we take a journey to see the Wizard of Oz – and like Dorothy, we realize that we never really left Kansas after all.
- and some other smart folks
agree with us on this . . .
Whatever form your journey takes . . . we feel that it can often be enhanced and enriched to an infinite degree when there are other folks who have a few core things in common, who speak the same language as you, who are generally on the same page. And especially, when certain products (like the LiveReal Products) can save years of digging in the wrong fields.
In this sense, we hope that LiveReal can help and comfort you some on your search.
So join in, join up, and Peace to the Wanderer.
The Folks at LiveReal