Friday, February 3, 2012

Bubble Pop -- Writer's Poke #362




Students like classes that don’t have finals; everyday people, however, like to believe in something final. I suppose that makes sense. No one wants to wake up in the morning, not knowing what’s right and what’s wrong for that day. We like consistency, and some of us will fight for our version of what is right, if for no other reason than for the sake of consistency.


New ideas aren’t always welcome. Pressure to conform is strong. Even when alternatives exist, most of us don’t pay much attention to them. We live in our own bubble reality. That bubble can be family, culture, philosophy, religion, etc. What does it take to pop the bubble of perception? Generally, something dramatic, or traumatic.

In shows like Jericho and Lost, people are thrust into new worlds, and not surprisingly, perhaps, they try to maintain continuity between the world they “knew” and the world they now occupy. At least in Lost, the only way for the characters to triumph is to submit. The desire to return to the old ways is strong, but over time the survivors learn that they can never return.

Acquiring new knowledge is like that. When you learn something new, you should become something new yourself. Knowledge isn’t something separate from the knower, and the ultimate test is not taken with pen and paper. The ultimate test is your willingness to let new knowledge drive you forward in your life. Otherwise, you risk standing still, trapped in your bubble.

Joseph Campbell writes that people need to keep the power of myth’s story, but they need to discard the literalness people have generally attached to myths. What is he driving at, and do you agree with him?

“The world’s a bubble.” – St. Augustine

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