Life, Death, God, and Void
By: Francisco Dosal
I think high school for anyone is rough. I was in my senior year in high school and like any other teen I had a lot of question about life. Being Catholic and in the twenty-first century I began questioning if God even existence and was college something I desperately needed that I would consider leaving my family and leaving the state? It was all too much for me that I fell into a hole of confusion where I couldn’t sleep and barley ate, that was until I met Death.
I heard bones crackling and a knife being sharpened. My heart dropped. I opened my eyes and tried to get up. I looked over my shoulders and saw a figure standing by my door. He stood there watching me. I wanted to yell and ask who he was and what he wanted, but I couldn’t. I panicked as fear, confusion, and adrenaline rushed into my mind and body. I tossed and turned. It did not matter how much I struggled to set myself free, it was all in vein. I tried yelling but nothing came out my mouth. After an hour, I finally gave up. I looked over my shoulder and the figure was still standing there.
“You learn a lot faster than the rest,” said the figure. He had a funny voice. Is was not demonic or threatening. It was the voice of a man who had a sense of humor. “I’ma let you go now,” he said as he snapped his fingers. As soon as I felt freedom I jolted up to attack the intruder. But as I approached him I was quickly frozen by what I saw. He had on a black robe that floated freely around him like smog. I tried looking into his face but saw nothing. I stumbled and falling back I stared trying to make sense of it all.
“Who are you?” I asked in horror.
“Death’s the name and killings the game.” He glided over to a couch I had on the corner of my room. “Cool if I smoke in here bro?” A puff of smoke came from the couch as he sat down.
“Sure,” I faintly said. He raised his hand and out of thin air a cigar formed. His fingers were long and his skin was black as tar. Placing the cigar on what I believed was his lips, it lit. I hoped the cigar’s cherry would provide enough light to see his face. Inhaling slowly, the cigars sherry lit but his face remained in darkness.
“So kid how’s it going,” Death started.
“Fine,” I replied. He was ready to say something when he stopped and without saying a word vanished, all that was left a puff of gray smoke that surrounded my couch.
Since then, he continued seeing me. I would always wake and he would always lock me up, preventing my body from moving. He said he enjoyed seeing me struggle for life, he thought it was hilarious. He explained that he found it amusing watching a human being struggle for something that had no point. That death was part of life he would say. I remember telling him people were scared of death because no one knew what was after life.
“So what’s after death, Death?” I asked him once.
“Nothing,” he said gently. He spoke gentle and pleasant. The way he said it almost sounded like he was really trying to say peace.
Whenever Death came, we talked about my day and his day. He talked about how every other person begged him for more time. I mostly talked about life, constantly asking Death what it was all about. The best advice he ever told me was that it did not matter what humans did, whether good or bad everyone dies. To spend as much time with loved ones because one day, “he’ll be a knockn’.” I remember asking him if he ever gave anyone more time and before he could answer he vanished into thin air.
“The big guy. He makes all the decisions, I can’t do anything about it.” Death explained. It had been nearly a week since I had last seen him.
“God?” I asked. “He really exists?
“Yea, just like the number zero. Your smart, Is zero a number?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Than God exists,” he said lighting up one of his cigars. I looked at him confused. “The definition of a number is a quantity or amount. Zero is neither, yet it is considered a number.” Puffing on his cigar he blew out some smoke. Slowly, the smoke began forming into numbers. “Multiply three with nine and you get twenty-seven, if you dived twenty- seven by nine you go back to three. Now, if you did the same with zero you get something completely different. Three times zero is zero. So mathematically speaking dividing it by zero you should go back to three. Instead, you get zero. This destroyed math and its fundamental principles.”
He waved his hand around the smoke of numbers. Erasing them he started anew. “So multiplying three by nine and then dividing it will bring up back to three right? Right! So multiplying three by zero than dividing it will bring us back to three? Sadly not. There’s a lot of power in something that doesn’t exist don’t you think? Anyways my final point. So let’s say that three times zero divided by zero did get you back to three. Let’s say that happened to any number. What we come to find out is that zero equals three, twenty-three, one-thousand found hundred and fifty-three as well as eight-nine. Zero equals everything and anything.”
Basically what I’m trying to say is zero can be anything is wants to be. God is the same way, for some it’s a man sitting on a grand chair and for others it’s a lizard with a magical staff. That’s what’s amazing about being nothing. You exist even when you don’t and exist it whatever fashion others want you to exist. Look at all the different religions and names he has.”
He left me with more questions than answers. “So he does exist?”
“Yea kid he does,” he said puffing on his cigar.
“So why doesn’t he answer me, when I talk to him?”
“Because he doesn’t exist! Where were you when I was just explaining this?”
“I’m confused than why religion, why pray, why look towards him?”
“You’re talking religion, something he had no part of. You see, you have it all wrong. God exists as a concept. God is the idea of infinite possibilities. The hope in your heart.
Besides would you really want him talking to you, answering your prayers, and solving every crises? Think about it. If that happened every human being would stop communicating with each other and would grow apart. Having your prayers and crisis answers, pain would cease to exist. Pain brings people together. You know how many families I’ve brought together? The whole point of living is suffering so that you can find each other, God doesn’t want to interfere with human life.”
“So,” I started but before I could finished he vanished, once again all that was left was a smoke.
Five years passed and I never say Death again. I had done research about my episodes and came to discover it was called rarer recurrent isolated sleep paralysis (RISP). It explained my mid-night wakes and not being able to move. All possibly triggered by stress during my senior year in high school. I’d like to believe that it was RISP but it all seemed too real, especial our last conversation. To this day I still ponder on what he told me. He made sense and made things clearer and simpler, and that always a good thing. Because of him I’ve become more neutral in things. I do not pick sides in what is good or bad. I spend more time with my family by attended a near college. I quit attending church and praying. Although, I still believe God exists and is, in some way, watching over me. Just the same way I like to think Death is doing the same thing, watching over me until his next and final visit.
By: Francisco Dosal
“So how you been, how’s the realist estate life?” Susan asked as I stood in the living room waiting for Ben to appear.
“Good,” I simply answered. Walking towards the kitchen I started looking through their cabinets.
“You hungry,” she asked as Ben finally appeared.
“You won’t find any alcohol,” Ben explained. I rubbed my face in frustration.
“No, I’m not good,” I started. “I haven’t been in a long time. I quit my job. Did I tell you?”
“No. Why?” Ben asked.
“What am I doing? Why am I working? Why am I here? Why are we all here?”
“Because,” Ben started but I cut him off.
“I feel like,” I thought hard of what I wanted to say but nothing came together the way I wanted it. “I just need time to think. I came over to see if you’d let me borrow your shotgun. I think there’s a raccoon digging around my trash. You know I hate street animals.”
“In your state of mind, I don’t think you should be holding a gun,” Ben explained. Offended I stormed out.
It was a Sunday morning and I was not yet a religion man. Instead of church, I would sleep in and wake up near noon but during this morning, for some strange reason, I woke earlier. I woke expecting something or someone expecting me. I paced my house trying to understand these strange feelings. Something was missing. I could not figure it out. It was the same feeling that made me quit my job. I felt I was working for nothing and existing for no reason at all. For a while I felt like I was living with no purpose and so I began questioning what I did and why I did it.
Sitting in my study room I heard someone walking about my trash can outside. The raccoon I quickly thought. I looked outside the window expecting to see the creature but instead I saw two feet sticking out like antennas. Then the legs bent in and disappeared inside. I walked outside to confront the intruder and as I stepped out I could hear someone munching on my leftovers. I did not know what to say or do and so I waited for the hungry individual to present itself.
Finally, a head stuck out like a hedgehog in spring. She had thick dark brown hair and dark skin. Her upper lip was under her lower lip and her eyes suggested she was scared as she looked at me.
I did not know how to respond. I expected a male in his adolescence and instead I got a young girl who looked in her late teens. I simply asked. “Are you hungry?” and she shook her head. I asked again as I could hear her stomach growling. At a time when I had no idea what I was doing; all I knew was that I had a young girl possibly starving to death. Thinking back, I’m glad I invited her in because it would be her that saved me that day. “Come inside, cause I’m hungry.” I walked inside and left the door open for her to enter. She did not enter until I started cooking.
She did not say much. I guess she could not say anything with a mouth full. I asked her what her name was, she answered but I could not understand as food flew out of her mouth and into my kitchen table.
“Kitty,” she finally said swallowing.
She had on a pink backpack, I assumed than that she was a run away and noticing a bruise on her left shoulder, I assumed she came from an abusive household; only assumptions but who knew what her story actually was. I could not imagine why anyone would want to hit her. Watching her finish her plate I tried thinking of what to do. I wanted to call the police. I imagined them taking her back home. I figured I should get to know her before I made any impulsive decisions. Maybe if I got to know her situation I could make a clear decision or maybe she already had a plan and I would only be getting in the way. Or maybe she was not a run away at all.
“Are you a runaway?” I quickly asked. She raised her eyes in fear. Her upper lip hid under her lower lip. “That’s a yes isn’t it?” She nodded her head. “So where are you headed?”
“Nowhere,” she said softly.
“You shouldn’t be running around like this. There’s horrible people out there who will do nasty things. I mean God forbid you get raped or,” I stopped and saw her face go pale. “Not appropriate dinner conversation,” I thought.
That’s when I thought of Abigail. “Let me call a friend, maybe she can help.” I walked away to my study where I made a phone call. I explained the situation to Abby.
“I’m kinda busy at the moment. Let me call you back,” Abigail said quickly hanging up.
I returned to see Kitty making herself home. She had found herself asleep in my couch. I found it strange that she slept with her upper lip tucked in her lower lip but I had yet to see the strangest of all. I walked over to her and gently shook her shoulder. No response. I shook her shoulder again, she only turned over. That’s when I heard her snore, only it was not a snore. It was more like a cat purring. It was the strangest thing I had ever seen and heard. I sat down trying to think of what I could do. Nothing came to mind but one thing was for sure, I could not allow her to roam the streets anymore. She would stay inside my house until Abbey and I could come up with a solution.
I did not have a job at the time. So when Kitty woke Monday afternoon I had all the time in the world for her. She did not say much. I would ask questions and she would mostly like answer with a shrug or nod. I was getting nowhere and as the day was coming to an end I realized I had to throw in the towel. Giving up, I turned on the television and that’s when she sparked up like fireworks in July.
“Omg,” She yelled as soon as an image came on. “Don’t change it! Leave it!”
I dropped the remote as she nearly gave me a heart attack. Her attention was quickly drawn towards the television.
“You like this?” I asked not looking at what was on.
“Yea! I mean who doesn’t?!” she replied. “I’m so far back in episodes,” she stared at the television for a while. “I think this is. Omg! It is!”
“It is what?” I asked very confused. I began wondering if I should be just as concerned as she was. She did not respond. “Do you watch this back home?”
“No! Joseph don’t work. So he sold the television,” she said. “And mom don’t work either she’s always in her room sleeping.”
I was beginning to get somewhere. Than an announcement came on explaining a marathon. Kitty screamed, jumped up and down on the couch than looked at me.
“Can I please,” she said. I did not know how to respond. I did not care. She was not my child yet she made me feel like a father figure. Something I had never intended on being nor planed in the near future. “I promise to keep it down.”
“Sure,” I said faintly. She screeched and fell comfortably on the couch. She was young, innocent, and like any young girl she did not seem like a trouble maker. It seemed she was running away from a horrible life and in search of something not greater but something fair.
As she watched a reality T.V. show I guess she gained entire trust of me. She explained her situation back home. She was the middle child of five. She had a mother that only looked at her children as government checks. Her father had never lifted a school book nor any kind of tool. He did manage to lift a bottle of liquor and his hands on Kitty. She attended school but with horrible parents as role models, she could never unlock the potential within. But in my home surrounded by knowledge and the desire to learn, she quickly found an interest. I let her watch her marathon and as it ended she entered my study room.
She read or glanced through every book I had or what she called, “strange yet interesting books.” But she found a particular topic that she fell in love with. She loved reading about freedom. Freedom from the world. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from pain and suffering. I tried my best answering her questions and helping further her studying and fueling her desire for knowledge.
“When we die,” Kitty asked one dinner night. “What happens?”
“Well what do you think?”
“Hmmmm,” her eyes wondered. “I think we are finally free. I think in life we suffer so that we are longer scared of death. I think death becomes more embraceable knowing it honest and true freedom. What do you think?” she said very curious to what my answer was.
“I don’t know. I agree with what you say.” I stopped to think. “I think when we die we go to heaven,” I said. She burst out in laughter.
“I thought you were atheist.”
“I am,” I said confused to my own answer.
Kitty had been living with me for three weeks and in the process I returned to my job feeling fulfilled. I now had a purpose or felt that I did. Every day I worked I did so with meaning. I lived so that someone else could do the same.
Abby came over on a Tuesday night. She was in her formal attire. I think she had just left a courtroom. Placing her briefcase on my kitchen table, she looked at me tired. Falling in my arms, she looked at me tenderly. I enjoyed her visits. I felt she did so as well, because she could let go and allow herself to fall into someone’s arms.
“Why do we work ourselves to death with no end? What’s it all for?” I was ready to answer with the new revelation of mine. Than Kitty screamed. Abby jumped and heard her footsteps all around the house. Then she appeared and ran to me.
“He finally kissed her,” Kitty said than ran back to the living room.
“Who’s that?” Abby asked pulling away from me.
“That’s why I called you. She’s a runaway and I don’t know what to do.”
“Well you don’t let them in your house. You call the cops and let them deal with it. You don’t want problems with the law, remember.” Abby explained thoroughly but I only understood bits and pieces. She explained how Kitty had to leave. That I could end up in jail. In the end. Finally, she gave me the address of a shelter for runaway kids and teens.
“What’s for dinner?” Kitty yelled. “I want pizza,”
“I’ll order pizza for the three of us.”
It was awkward. No one said a word. Abby paid no attention to her. Kitty on the other hand, kept a close eye on her.
“So Abs. What do you do?”
“It’s Abigail,” she stated sharply. “And I’m a lawyer.”
“That’s cool, so can I ask you something,” Kitty said. Abigail only looked at her. “What is right from wrong?”
Abigail did not think about the question she quickly answered, “Whatever the government declares right from wrong.”
“So was killing Jesus Christ the right thing to do? What about segregation? Oh, and slavery?” My heart skipped a beat or two. I looked at Abigail. Her jaw opened, surprised at the young girls wit. If only she knew she spent more time in my study than I did. Then she turned towards Kitty and simply said with a smile on her face.
“I like you.” Abigail said smiling at her.
That night was blissful. Kitty would ask a question and Abigail would gladly answer her. I could only guess her feelings. I think she felt, as I did, that her life and life itself had meaning and that meaning was to pass down her knowledge to this young child. Abigail was talking about politics when she looked at me. That’s when I caught a glimpse of the future. A future where I was a father and Abigail a mother and I think she saw that same thing. The very idea never crossed our mind. We had been friends since childhood and even after splitting and going to different colleges we found ourselves inseparable by fate.
I could not sleep that night as I thought about how I was going to tell Kitty she had to leave. I did not want her to leave. I did not want to send her off to a shelter but Abigail was right. She could not stay here she needed to find a home, a proper home. Summer would soon be over and school would start once again. Thinking back, I wish things could have gone differently than how they did.
Kitty was in the living room giggling at whatever show was on when I got home from work. I walked over and sat next to her. “My whole life I been looking for something and I thought it was success.” I said as Kitty looked at me confused. “I thought that was the point of life, but after I graduated college and succeeded in everything I dreamed of I never really full filled myself as a human being. I felt like a human corpse. I felt factitious, because everything I had was factitious. The money, cars, house, and just everything.”
“What’s factitious,” she asked.
I wanted to say how she gave me purpose. That I saw her as my child. That she was the only thing that actually felt real and created real feelings but I could not.
“You can’t stay here anymore!” I said rudely. I was ready to explain my reasons and the shelter she could go to when Kitty quickly got up. Her face was red in anger. “Kitty!” I called after her. She grabbed her backpack and ran out the door.
I have a purpose in this world and I think it is everyone’s as well. I think we are here to love each other but mostly love what we create. Even though I did not create Kitty, I wish I had. All she wanted was to love and be loved in return the way every child desires.
That very day Abbigail walked inside without me knowing. She came inside yelling and hollering about legal work that I did not understand.
“Slow down,” I said.
“Let’s adopt her!” she said firmly. The void in my heart was filled again. The words shook to my very core. For the first time in my life I learned what it felt like to be happy. I jumped up and kissed Abby than ran to see Kitty but by then it was too late. She was gone and I had no idea where to search.
I had walked into the abandoned house. The house creaked, I thought it was ready to fall apart as I walked through the door and inside. I stood in an empty living room looking at all the renovation needed and that’s when I smelled it. I smelled copper. My heart sank into my stomach as a heard a child crying. I walked into a room, no one was inside but the smell of copper got stronger. Slowly I walked into the bathroom scared of what I might see.
The bathtub was halfway filled with blood and warm water. I remember her snow white knees sticking out like two little islands surrounded by a red sea. I cried. My lips did not shake and I did not scream in agony. Tears just escaped my eyes as if a pipe had broken loose inside my head. Her pale face was calm and for the first time she was in peace. It had been nearly a year since the last time I had seen her. I could only imagine the pain and suffering she had gone through but now she was free from it all.
I do not know if it was that day but I become religious. There had to be a God or something out there that made events occur so that everything came together perfectly. It seemed everything from my career to my personal life had led this event. As if I had been destined to be here looking down at this child and her newborn.
Me and Abbigail married and took the child as our own. We named her Athena. I do not really tell the story on how she came into our care because it sounds so bizarre and unreal, like something out a fiction story. I simply say she is ours although she resembles Kitty a lot and looks nothing like Abigail or me. She even purrs and tucks her upper lip under her lower one when she sleeps. A day has not gone by that I do not think of Kitty and wish everything could have ended differently. But we are all human beings trying our best to figure the chaos around us. And sometimes we figure it out when it is too late, but that’s life right?
“To Change the World”
By: Francisco Dosal
The streetlights of a 4-way intersection turned red. The large crowd of impatient pedestrians rushed to cross and someone walked into the middle of the road. No one noticed him until he pulled out a pistol and shot a warning shot into the air. A woman screamed and a baby started crying. The majority of the people ran in fear. Others crouched down as if to avoid the bullet. A nearby cop quickly pulled his own gun out and demanded the young man drop the weapon.
“I want world peace!” yelled the young man.
“Terrorist attack!” some yelled.
The young man then placed the pistol on the left side of his forehead and held his other hand on the right.
“I want world peace!” he said again. Then, one last time before he fired, he yelled, “to change the world!”
He was the first. At first, no one understood what had happened. The young man’s body lay on the city pavement, one hand holding the pistol and the other holding the bullet that ran through his skull. The event was so puzzling that is didn’t even make it to the evening news.
I remember the first young man who started it all. I was there when the first young man shot himself in the head. The blood made my stomach turn. I didn’t know what to make of it. The gun being fired and his declaration, “I want world peace,” played over and over in my head. I heard his words so many times that, for the first time, I, too, wanted world peace. For the first time, I cared.
It happened again.
The second one was different. He was a college student who was majoring in philosophy or literature. I can’t recall exactly, but the point is that he had a bright future ahead of him.
According to eyewitness and classmates, he had been eating what looked like hundred dollar bills. He walked into the city, shot a warning shot into the air, and, before anyone could react, yelled, “Education is to liberate the being but now it shackles the flesh and soul with debt.”
Everyone waited for him to pull the trigger. Instead, he pulled a string and exploded. Bloody hundred dollar bills flew everywhere. Some gently landed as others floated in the air for a while. It was quite a scene to have witnessed. Nobody grabbed a single bill, not even the homeless man who just minutes before had been begging for money.
“End racism! Am I not your brother? Am I not flesh and bone? I too feel!” yelled a young black male in a subway station as he pulled out a knife and began tearing flesh off his arm.
People screamed in horror. No one tried to stop him.
“End racism!” he yelled again as he pulled up his shorts and began cutting skin off his thigh.
He was under the influence of so much morphine that he could not feel the knife as it sliced through his skin like butter.
“Pollution, pollution, pollution!” yelled a girl.
She held a container tightly as she ran up and down a mall. After she gained everyone’s attention, she stopped and yelled, “This is what’s happening to mother earth!”
She drank whatever was inside the container she was carrying. She vomited some of the liquid back up, but managed to hold enough inside.
She took out a match and yelled, “What’s the difference between my body and Mother Earth?” Flames shot from her throat as soon as she placed the match to her lips.
Many more protests occurred. A week followed of constant protest, all yelling their desperate desire for world peace or an end to starvation and poverty, or anything suggesting a better future. Most simply shot themselves as they demanded whatever it was they were protesting about. Others committed poetic suicides. Their bodies acted as the canvas and the world their inspiration. They committed masterpieces, not mere suicides. Some were so unforgettable that you no longer saw the world as you once did. Death became a powerful tool, a tool that without hurting anyone or disrupting order caused a great awakening. So the revolution started.
Every revolution should revolt against the way its society revolutionizes. No longer can one revolt either peacefully or violently against these bodies of governments and corporations. They, like any other entity, physical or metaphorical, have adapted. They have become immune to both violent and peaceful fevers. So it came to this. The body’s own tissue and cells no longer desired to live within a narcissistic body, a body that has forgotten that is cannot exist without its working components.
The body cannot be that ignorant. Or, can it? These governments and corporations cannot simply enjoy depriving and inflicting pain on their very own cells and organs. Has killing your own working components become a pleasure? It had come to my attention through the deaths of many that this system is a narcissistic being. A rapist does not enjoy the pleasure of sex; he enjoys taking the power away from an individual. So goes this diseased entity in which we live.
In conclusion, I will not give this system the satisfaction it desires of raping me of my freedom and manipulating my life. The powers forces that exist have forgotten their role and yet we continue to serve loyally as the internal components. I will protest against banks and government. I will not blow up any bank or stand against a national army. Instead, I will protest in this new fashion. If you are to join me, do it artfully so that it sticks into the minds of others. Death does not scare me. Death is necessary in a revolution. Rather than sacrifice the life of others, why not mine? Is that not what a martyr is?
When a man kills another man, one man dies. When a man kills himself, he kills hundreds.
I Fell In Love Once and Once Was All I Needed
By: Francisco Dosal
He drove down to the lake like every other Sunday. No longer for a swim or to talk to the locals who, after Sunday mass, loved taking out the grill and drinking down some “cold ones.” Instead, he now drove his truck around the lake watching the sun slowly disappear until, after growing sick of driving in infinite circles, he stopped and lit a cigarettes as he stared at people grilling or at whoever was swimming in the lake. A smile would sneak its way in and he thought about jumping in the lake or joining the local grillers like he once did. But he caught himself and dismissed the ideas. He could not return to that lake. He had too many memories there. He felt as if he returned alone, he was accepting something but not knowing what that something was bothered him.
He remembered coming to the lake. Waving at everyone as they returned from Sunday mass. He could smell the charcoal as it traveled up his nostrils, it always made his stomach growl with hunger and after laying their blue blanket under the green summer grass a small mist would emerge. Their mouths would water as the aroma of BBQ travelled in every direction. They would always swim for a short time and would walk over to however invited them to eat. After eating they always left, and she would always forget her sandals somewhere near the lake. It was not until he was ready to pull in her street when she would remember.
“I fell in love once and once is all you need right?” he thought as the sun started to sink underneath the Earth.
His cigarette was near its end. Flicking it out into the pavement he lit another. Someone yelled in excitement as they cannon balled into the lake. He remembered jumping in that very same spot as he held her hand.
“I don’t’ want to move on,” he thought as he exhaled the smoke. “If I do. I will probably grow to love her as well but than what is the point of love? If I can grow to love anyone than love does not exist. Then I never loved her. Meaning it was a lie. Meaning love is a lie. Than what is love?” His mind raced with thoughts and ideas, hoping he could answer that question but nothing ever came to mind. He finished his second cigarette as a couple stepped out the lake. He did not know if it was disgust or jealousy but his stomach flipped up-side down.
He drove around for another lap than broke away from the infinite circle. Driving down the road, he could almost hear her giggling and the smell of her coconut conditioner, which he loved so much. He looked over and hoped his eyes would play a trick on him. He hoped he would see her for just a second. Sadly, he saw an empty spot in his truck. He sighed as his throat tightened up. He felt regret inside. He wished he was braver against love. He wished he would go back in time but he could not. He would have to redeem himself in some other way.
Entering the main road, he grew agitating and furious at his cowardly character. He was scared, scared because he knew that the love he had for her would now eventually disappear and he would date another and all this would be another memory. He now wanted to love once and only once.
It was all this useless thinking that had ruined his relationship and here it was again ruining him like it always did. His mind continued to race and without noticing, he was slowly pressing down on the gas and accelerating his speed.
The road was dark and misty but he could see the street that still belonged to her. He grew angrier because now he would be passing the street light that lit green.
“Babe, I forgot my sandals,” he heard a ghostly voice whisper. He was going 85mph when he made a sharp U-turn.
An ambulance showed up to a wrecked truck. It was so demolished they could not make out the exact year or model. Two men rushed to the scene. A body was found inside. He was faintly breathing but breathing nonetheless. Managing to pull the individual out without doing any harm they saw a bloody face and his torn shirt.
“No,” the body said painfully but neither of them could hear his weak voice.
He didn’t want to be taken anywhere because he felt that he was ready for whatever came after life. He had loved and been loved. What greater joy could this world give him. He faintly smiled knowing he would die side by side this love and not watch it faintly disappear and be replaced by regret, hate, and pain.. If only he understood this earlier. Understood that she was his first love and that letting her go because of fear was a horrible mistake.
“Liz,” he said. They heard him.
“Don’t worry well contact her now,” one if them said.
He awoke days later in a hospital bed to the familiar scent of coconut. Looking over he saw Liz sitting next to him.
At the age of twelve, I smoked my first cigarette, drank my first alcoholic beverage, and was associated with gang-affiliated individuals, an easy lifestyle. That same year my mother told me, “Las puertas pal dismadre siempre estan abiertas.” At the time I had no idea what she meant, “The doors to chaos are always open?” That same year my family and I crossed the border into The United States, the land of opportunity. The sentence played over and over as I walked endlessly through the desert.
As I lay on the ground one cold night, the wind no longer blew against me. It blew through me. The ground’s vibration no longer tickled my back. I now shook with the world. I found myself between life and death. One understands a lot more when ready to cross over towards death. Ironic, is it not? But I lived, and crossing into The United States I said I would create something out of noting. I no longer wanted to continue down my wicked path. In the land of opportunity I could creat myself in whatever fashion. I did not want to be the next rapper, singer, entrepreneur, or the next star. I would go to college, join the army, or just simply join the labor force.
That is what most young immigrants dream of. Sadly, in the end, it is nearly impossible. Politicians believe we are convicts transporting drugs for cartels. What better life would I have if I worked for a cartel? What is better than respect, money, and power? An honest life! So, rather than a dishonest and chaotic life, let us join an honest nation and contribute to society and become honest men through education, fraternity, and/or through the labor force. Yet again, we are stopped by schools we cannot attend because we lack the money and political support. We are not born citizens so we cannot join the military. All we can do is work and try to do the best we can to make something out of nothing while others claim their jobs were stolen.
Preventing young immigrants from further education and, despite the fact that we have loyalty to no other country, forbidding us from joining the military leaves us cornered, defenseless. Without the options or possibility of living an honest and better life, we are left but to live as criminals whether we want to or not. Working under a false SSN is a felony and driving without a license is a crime. The basic tools for living are luxuries to us. Every step we take is a crime as we are undocumented immigrants. Some will turn to crime because it does not judge them and gladly opens its doors with loving open arms. Others continue the struggle to justify their existence. I am not asking for immediate immigration reform, but when innocent eight-year-old children are crossing the border alone for a better life, something must be done. Pave the road ahead and guide them away from the wicked. Ignore young immigrants and those with horrible intentions will adopt them. The children come because they need help and dream of a brighter future. If young immigrants continue being ignored, or worse, attacked by politics, the doors to chaos will engulf them and they will turn to violence, chaos, and anarchy. We speak of peace and so here is our first step towards that vision.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love. The more I say it, the more it loses it’s value. Basic economics. Quality over quantity is always better. I think, a man should say it once (I’m no woman so I can not speak for them) and that’s when he realizes it. So, anyone can say “I love you,” but not everyone can turn love, a word, into action and into existence. And true love, in my opinion, cannot be found. Instead, it is something created as partners walk side by side, till the end. The irony, you won’t know if it was true love untill the end.
Nativism: Ideas Within
By: Francisco Dosal
An individual is taught how to communicate, how to calculate mathematical equations to predict outcomes, and through the practice of a religion is taught how to worship a higher being. But what if these very teachings of communication, mathematics, and the belief of a higher being are actually preexisting ideas that all human beings possess during birth without the need of any foreign influences? The philosophical theory nativism suggests that even without any form of teaching an individual is born with innate ideas. A definition for nativism is as followed: “the belief that the human brain is capable of spontaneous or innate ideas that are not derived from external sources” “nativism.” Nativism explains an individual’s mind is capable of producing subconscious thoughts and ideas without the influences of others, as opposed to empiricism that suggests all ideas, knowledge, and facts derive from external experience and foreign influences. Nativism suggests that ideas are within an individual from birth and claims that regardless of foreign influences or external experiences; an individual will produce innate ideas and gain knowledge. In Charles Seife, Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, he explains what sounds similar to nativism: “Not even knowledge can be created out of nothing, which means that all ideas- all philosophies, all notions, all future discoveries- already exist in people’s brains when they are born” (Seife 95). An individual cannot be taught to think, thinking for any human beings comes naturally, and although every human being is not born with the same ideas, all individuals do possess the innate idea to communicate, innately create a system to organize and group individuals and objects, and the idea of a higher being.
To this day much there is much speculation of how the human race obtained the ability to create a system to communicate. All human beings are born with the innate idea to communicate with one another. Oral languages, sign language, and body language are different patterns of the innate idea to communicate with another human being. The idea to establish or create a form of communication is innate for every human being. It is vital for survival. Therefore, regardless of an individual learning a proper language or not one will create a form of communication due to the innate idea. The human brain has a section in the left or right hemisphere, depending whether an individual is left or right handed, where communication data is stored. Having a proper station in the brain where communication data can be stored proves that the human brain has the potential, or rather a preexisting purpose, to create or learn a form of communication regardless of being exposed to external influences like English, body gestures, or the American Sign Language (ASL). Take for example: during the time a child is inside the womb of a mother; the child cannot be taught how to communicate before it is exposed to a form of communication. Although, the child cannot speak a language until it is out the womb and taught a form of communication; the child in fact communicates with the mother by using verbal noises and hand gestures. The child’s crying may be attempting to explain to the mother it is hungry or needs a diaper change. As for a hand gesture like opening and closing its fists indicates it wants to hold someone or something. The child is born with the innate idea to communicate in whatever fashion and the mother simply guesses what the child is trying to say. It is not till later the child is taught a proper language or a form of communication that properly explains it needs and wants. All individuals during their few months into the world have the innate idea to communicate with others. Regardless of being taught a form of communication an individual will create some form of communication. Just an individual regardless of being taught calculus could potentially learn it.
Without being taught, an individual’s mind innately arranges data and groups objects and individuals. This ability cannot be taught, it is simply done. An individual is not taught to group objects together, one’s mind does it on its own without noticing. In Charles Seife’s, The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, he explains that prehistoric human beings would count into groups such as binary and quinary groups. He explains, “From theses fragments, researchers discovered that Stone Age mathematics were a bit more rugged than modern ones. Instead of blackboards, they used wolves” (Seife 6). He continued to explain “Archaeologist Karl Absolom, sifting through Czechoslovakian dirt, uncovered a 30,000-year-old wolf bone with a series of notching carved into it” (Seife 6). It is not clear whether the carving indicated the days or the amount of kills the prehistoric man committed. But, it is clear that mathematics was and still is within an individual’s mind without the need of teaching. If one is asked, “what kind of car would you like to own?” The mind automatically precedes data that are relevant to the question, such as: types, models, and years of a specific kind of vehicle. The mind does not proceed with useless data, such as: kinds of desktop computers, locations, or what he/she is going to eat later on the day. This ability to group objects and individuals eventually evolves into mathematics. One may state that mathematics is not innate but is an ability taught from teacher to student in a mathematics class. If this was true, than who taught the first human being to add and subtract? The simplest form of math is when the mind arranges objects and individuals into categories adding individuals into categories or subtracting objects. As this system becomes more complex than just grouping two objects together; mathematics, geometry, and calculus arises from the simplest innate idea of grouping and processing data. Complexity starts with simplicity, one cannot start calculus without understand addition and subtraction and as a child and through adulthood, an individual will forever encounter numbers and learns that nature itself is governed by numbers. For example the golden ration is the blueprint for all of nature’s aesthetic creations. The idea of arranging information like a database cannot be taught; an individual does it every day without realizing it and when an individual encounters a question that logic and reason cannot answer; the innate idea of a higher being becomes the answer.
Christianity, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, and others have been established in attempts to rightfully worship a higher being and or beings. Some suggest that the word of mouth has brought the teachings of religion into today’s society, but who is responsible for the idea of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion? Who was the one to open their mouth first? As a child, and into adulthood, the wonders and beauty of the universe have encouraged an individual to ask himself, “Who is responsible for such creation?” The universe is not able to teach nor could it force an individual into worshiping a creator. And without any external influences, an individual naturally worships a higher being. In G. W. Leibniz, New Essay’s on Human Understanding, a character Theophilus debates with Philalethes that the human mind possesses the innate idea of a higher being; he explains, “God came in that way from a very old and very widespread word-of-mouth process; But it seems that nature has helped to bring men to it without anyone teaching them: the wonders of the universe have made them think of a higher power” (Leibniz 16). It seems to be the desire for an individual to worship a higher being for bringing forth the universes existence and even life itself. For example, some early civilizations, like the Egyptians, worshiped the sun as their higher being. As opposed to the darkness and cold conditions of the dark; the sun provided them and the rest of the world with a sense of security, warmth, and the possibility of life. Eventually the sun was made into stories and began to symbolize a higher being and even symbolized as hope. An individual is not taught the idea of hope although it is done naturally. Hope is a form of faith and faith is the belief and complete trust in someone or something. Whether it is the sun or another idea of higher being, the idea of a higher being is an uncontrolled ability, taught or not, and individual practices it. Whether one accepts or denies the idea, it is completely upon the individual.
An individual’s ability to communicate with another, the skill to establish a system of organizing data, and the idea to worship a higher being are in fact preexisting ideas inside the mind of an individual. Regardless of being exposed to foreign influences or external experiences an individual possess this knowledge. Some may state that nature teaches or experiences give the human mind the knowledge, but it is one’s personal interpretations of one’s nature and experiences that uncover inner knowledge. Without these and others basic innate ideas the possibilities of bringing forth future ideas become impossible to reach. By denying simplistic innate ideas one denies the stepping stone into complex thoughts and ideas. Complexity starts with simplicity just as the first stone eventually became the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China. One has the answers to the universe within without even knowing. All the knowledge is inside waiting to be uncovered, waiting to be hacked and released. Intelligence is within every human being.
Idea. Dictionary.com. Web. 29 January 2013.
Leibniz, G.W. New Essays on Human Understanding, trans. by Peter Remnant and Jonathan
Bennett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 74-88.
Nativism. Dictionary.com. Web. 29 January 2013.
Seife, Charles. Zero the Biography of a Dangerouse Idea. Penguin Group Inc. 2000.
Existentialism: Do You Exist?
By: Francisco Dosal
An existentialist is an individual who exists naturally and not through what religion and government considers right and civilized. It emphasizes an individual should not make decisions based from legislative institutions, governmental laws or religious’ beliefs. These forms of organizations have established what is morally and ethically correct. And in following their views we are granted freedom and promised a holy land for one’s cooperates. An existentialist does not live civil in accordance to any legislative institution for rewards. Instead, one is honest and living accordingly to their authentic institution. In hopes a more natural world would arise. Sadly, this remains a vision and dream as individuals continue to exist through the fundamentals of a foreign legislative institution. Living through the idea of what another thinks is an ideal life is, is not living at all. One’s calling will never be discovered. For example, one cannot discover one’s essence if the individual exists through the laws of a government and not the laws within. The moment an individual is exposed and influenced by any legislative institution, one becomes factitious rather than human. So break away! Live through what is within and live what is essential to the heart! But along the journey, as an existentialist, one must be responsible for the actions and the repercussions that follow after one’s genuine nature. A definition for existentialism is as followed, “opposed to rationalism and empiricism, that stresses the individual’s unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices,” “existentialism.” So why does one not commit more natural actions? Actions not based on a church’s or government’s morality? In the end, we fear responsibility and turn to a guide. A guide that one eventual fears by disregarding all that is within. And so, by vanquishing our ideals one is preventing the universe from evolving forward into whatever it is naturally meant to become. An existentialist believes that preventing an individual from committing natural actions, whether good or bad, prevents the universe from becoming its true natural state of being. One must not fear the actions their bones want to perform. One must not hold back the words the tongue desires to speak. One must not fear the essence within! For a life lived with fear is denying existence itself. Live the morals that guide you or take responsibility for an unnatural factitious world. Live what is righteous within and encourage others to do the same. For laws do not and should not create mankind’s ideal on what an ethical life is. Instead, mankind creates its own. And as an individual exists naturally throughout life, the law will also grow naturally. So mankind should not fear a factitious legislative institutions. Instead, one should guide it so that we may see a more natural growing society.
So, the question is: what is an unnatural legislative institution? As mankind first rose to its feet, naturally some sort of legislative institution was established to keep peace. Groups of individuals created simple laws in order to keep mankind safe from injustice. Sadly, these legislative institutions eventually become tainted by the forces of greed and control. So should civilizations create legislative institutions if in the end they are poisoned? In today’s society, mankind fears their legislative institution. An individual can look into any religious or into any form of government and will notice regulations of laws that command an individual on how to exist rationally in an irrational world. Christianity, Catholicism, Islamism, Judaism, and every other religious organization that has taken form in this world, has many purposes in our society. One, of course, is to guide an individual throughout life with what they declare is morally correct. These morals and ethics are not suggested to any individual. Instead, are rather implanted through fear, a tool proven powerful throughout history. Morals and ethics should not be forcefully bolted into an individual’s mind. An ethic is obtained as an individual experiences life and sees what ethics best fits their character. For example, one individual believes it is right to take food from others in order to provide for a family as opposed to an individual who works for food. Neither is wrong nor right. They simply have lived differently and as one should, live by what is believed necessary. Therefore, it is clear many have different views on what is ethically correct. A definition for ethics follows, “moral principles that governs a person’s behaviors” “Ethics.” So one is the ruler of conscience. An individual’s ethics are not to be forced unto life by another force. Ethics must be created by one’s personal law and like any law, some eventually must be re-written or abolished. Like the individual who stole for food no longer sees it ethical and now gained a job or the individual who worked for food may see it is easier to steal. Mankind would constantly be moving, learning, and adapting, if the fear of punishment would not interfere.
The fear of a higher being has kept an individual from properly existing in the universe. Fear, throughout human history, has kept society from naturally growing from what it is, into to what it could become. Fear itself keeps an individual from establishing individuality and authenticity. It keeps an individual from following their conscience. Sartre states, “As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become” (Sartre). An existentialist cannot exist in the liking of an unnatural institution. An individual must establish what they claims to be rational decisions, despite fear of punishment. Until then, an individual is not natural but rather spurious, making one a nonexistent being. To exist in this universe an individual acts upon ones natural instinct, never applying the laws of any government or religion into their lives. One simply acts. As Sartre explains in his speech, Existentialism is Humanism, “Man will only attain existence when he is what he purposes to be” (Sartre). An individual who lives and interacts through the perspective of legislative institutions does not have an honest conscience. Instead, the conscience mind that one carries within is the offspring of laws governed by greed and control. No longer does a society of conscience men create laws, but instead are now being molded by their very own creation. Man has indeed been created in the image of God. Sadly, a God created by unconscious men. An individual should abide to only one God. And that is the God that dwells within. In the end no law can be sacred but the laws one abides by. No institution should be created for it will be tainted as others drink from it. So live naturally and exist.
To exist in any universe one must interact others as they do the same. So the question is: what does it mean to exist in this world? A definition for existing follows, “Be found, especially in a particular place or situation” “Exist.” It means to be found in a society, found in a particular place in the world, and be present in a particular part in history. But how can anyone be found in a society, in a particular place in the world, or present in any part of history when individual’s existence resembles another? To exist, an individual must prove the presence of someone or something. In order to do so, the something or someone must be found in a particular place in the universe. If an individual was enforced to wear a mask produced by the legislative branch it lived by, no individual would ever be discovered. One would look just as similar to the rest. Most individuals in today’s society exist in the image of a legislative institution, disguising one true essence with that of a religious or governmental mask. Therefore, individuality does not exist and nor does mankind. An individual must exist without a mask, manufactured by a legislative institutions. And so an individual must take the mask off and proudly declare their existence. They keep an individual from finding one’s nature and pursuing one’s individuality and discovering one’s ethics of laws. Anyone or anything that exists naturally does not abide by the nature assigned to be considered right. Instead, they exist in whatever fashion and in whatever purpose they purpose. As Sartre explains in his lecture, Existentialism is Humanism, “Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself” (Sartre). An individual should not exist in a fashion that does not fit comfortable. There is no right way to live, there is no right law to live by, and there is no right legislative institution to base one’s ethics. There are only an individual’s instincts to act upon that allow one to live naturally, and then can an individual truly exist. A member of the existentialist movement, Friedrich Nietzsche says, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist” (Nietzsche). Nietzsche explained that there is no right and correct way to live. And it is true. The right way, the correct way, and the righteous way of living cannot be found. Therefore it does not exist. One moment in history legislative institution establish a law as righteous, yet years later it is declared horrific and unhuman. For example: In 1619 the first African was brought to America and enslaved by force. It was believes slavery was righteous and the only way America could grow economically. The greed for money and power cause the American government to create an unnatural law that declared slaves as property and nothing more. It was not until 1865 that the Thirteen Amendment declared slavery wrong and a horrific idea. One cannot exist by blindly accepting what a legislative institution considers is right and correct for they do not nor will ever know.
So live freely. Start by breath and walking in your own fashion. Grow confidence in your convictions just as others in the past did. Jesus Christ, Leonardo Da Vinci, John Lock, Albert Einstein, Marin Luther King, and others for example did not exist through what their institutions declared as the right and correct way to exist. Jesus Christ broke out and spoke his truth. Leonardo Da Vinci was the first to practice and document anatomy, knowing the practice was illegal. Through the belief of John Locke’s natural born rights; he influenced the American Revolution against Parliament. Albert Einstein broke away from traditional physics and gave birth to modern physics. Martin Luther King went against his government, demanded justice, and sought to bring forth a brighter future. All these individuals, and others, brought forth change through their nature and not through the nature of their legislative institution at the time. Human existence cannot advance forward without breaking the laws of expired and or manipulated legislative institutions. So break free and change the world by simply living in the fashion desired and whatever the outcome one must remember to take full responsibly of the repercussions that follow.
Existentialism finally explains that whatever the outcome is in the decision made from natural or unnatural being, one must now take full responsibility for one’s actions. Through existentialism, the individual is held responsible for their action, whether good, bad, genuine, or not, one must take full responsibility for its outcome. Whatever is caused due to the existence of the individuals, one is responsible. One must understand that the actions of an individual do not simply occur and vanish the moment one walks away from the scene. An individual must realize that existing in any way fashions mankind. So it is best to exist honest and natural. Just as John Locke’s fashion of natural born rights, fashioned mankind and influenced the American Revolution. He must take the responsibility that his beliefs caused the deaths of lives during the American Revolution.
Good, evil, right, and wrong are words and nothing more. The universe is neither good nor evil, it simply is. The universe simply is and so goes for a human being. Whatever an individual chooses to live by, one must live it passionately and take responsibility for its repercussion. Because, society does not change, and mankind does not simply adapt. It is the actions of an individual that causes society to become what it is.
Ethics. Dictionary.com. Web. 5 December 2012.
Exist. Dictionary.com. Web. 5 December 2012.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Brianyquites.com. Web. 5 December 2012.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism is Humanism. World Publishing Company. 1956. Print.
Transcendentalism: Who Are We?
By: Francisco Dosal
Transcendentalism is a spiritual philosophy that emphasizes the importance of an individual. It encourages an individual to uncover his/her true inner thoughts and beliefs; it emphasizes the importance of self-reliance and encourages one’s confidence in his/her own thoughts and convictions, rather than depending in social opinion. It suggests that social opinion corrupts one’s true spirit; murders individuality and poisons our nature. Transcendentalism guides an individual to separates his/her convictions from society to awaken a spiritual revelation within; a revelation of divine truth. Now, an individual does not have to go far to achieve separation from society, through simply living by his/her own convictions, maintaining self-reliance, and ignoring society opinions. An individual can achieve perfect solitude in the center of society. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in an essay, Self-Reliance, “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” (Emerson 17). Accepting what society defines as truth and righteous keeps an individual from questioning society and himself; blindly conforming into society only imprisons the mind and slowly kills individuality. As any artist begins to compose a piece of artwork, he/she must compose with freedom and originality. The artist must compose free from society’s opinions and compose whatever dwells within. Picasso and Dali disregarded reason, traditional artwork, and criticism. They composed in their own interests, fashions, and likings. They did not paint for society’s interest, they did not paint in the same fashion as others. If Picasso or Dali were influenced by some outside reason, traditional painting, and influenced by criticism, Picasso may have never created “Guernica” and Dali would have never created “The Persistence of Memory.” They did not blindly conform into composing what society defined as true art; they did not imprison themselves from their true natures and so they created actual original work. The individual, and in this case painter, should escape society and escape into the dark void that is his/her mind. Just as Picasso and Dali ventured away, so must be with all those searching for themselves. One must venture away from society’s truth and discover one’s true nature. Through transcendentalism an individual discovers his/her true nature, beliefs, and genius. But before one can discover who he/she really, one must as the question: Who am I?
It is human nature to question the world around us and to question ourselves; these questions eventually lead to the discovery of answers that define an individual. But society has painted us with its colors without permission and without ones knowledge. An individual who never questions and accepts the perspective of what cultural, government, and religion defines at right from wrong, rather than the personal perspective of his/her conscience, is an melting pot mixing the ingredients of many chefs. The influence of cultures, governments, and religions, manipulate the thoughts of an individual into self-corruption. Self-corruption causes an individual from questioning and simply accepting what is considered right from wrong and this action causes the individual from venturing into his/her own conscience mind and discovering his/her own truth. Society’s truth is simple; it is to keep an individual depending on society opinions and influences. It is to keep an individual from becoming self-dependent and to keep an individual from the questions, that even without a definite answer, sets them free. The questions that surfaces genuine morals and ethics. No culture, government, or religion institution should establish ethics; ethics are established through what the individual considers necessary. There is at least one law that does not fit to an individual’s fashion and so with or without intentions, laws are broken.
Humans unintentionally are law breaker. Humans are and will be flawed sinners. It is unlikely an individual’s true nature is in fact culturally, politically, or religiously based. But how would an individual actually know without questioning first? He/she must question him/her self first then establish his/her true nature afterword. They must not declare their true nature as a cultural, political or religious people and not provide the reason why. To simply declare to the world, “I am because I’ve always been and will always be,” is childish and immature. This individual had disregarded that to be human one must grow and continuously be enlightened. Without continuously questioning ourselves first, how can we declare our-selves the cultural man, the Politian, the religious man, or anything? True nature can only be discovered through questioning cultures, government, religions and most important our-selves. He/she who allows society to influence him/her self will never discover his/her true self. It is a habit that must be done and has been done by some of the world’s most influential minds.
Throughout history many great sinners and rebels have made a great change to society; ironically they are not called rebels today but philanthropists, heroes, and prophets. They gain these titles not due to conforming into what society claimed as right. And by doing so they had changed the world. For example, Leonardo Di Vinci ignored the church’s opinion in studying the human anatomy and continued his work, disregarding the consequences that would follow if he was caught. Leonardo followed what he believed was not right but followed his true nature, as a curious man. He continued his work and followed his curiosity by sketching a human’s heart, fetus, vascular system, and much more. He accepted his true nature and disregarded social opinion and by doing so he pushed society forward and made major contributions in the medical field. No longer is he known as a singer but as a philanthropist. So what are rebels? Parliament declared John Lock, George Washington, and Franking rebels; they are now declared heroes. They questioned Parliament and refused to accept what it stated as right and instead followed their true nature as free thinking men. Jesus Christ was crucified because he went against what religious men believed in. He taught what he genuinely believed was right. In Henry David Thoreau’s essay, Civil Disobedience, he questions society’s religion and government capability to judge an honest man from a wicked man, “Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?” (Thoreau 97). It seems society has not fully grasp a conscience mind to declare what is right from wrong. Therefore an individual has no one else to look but within; just as Leonardo De Vinci, John Lock, Washington, and Jesus Christ did. And in doing so only then can an individual actually experience true freedom.
An individual is constantly seeking ways to obtain a sense of freedom from the world and so an individual dwells into the unfamiliar world in search of knowledge and freedom; an individual, not only seeks physical freedom but a spiritually and mental freedom. Just as an individual imprisoned in a cell for life can no longer enjoy physical freedom, he/she can still experience a spiritual and or mental freedom. Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “so far as a man thinks, he is free” (Emerson 177). If the mind of an individual can venture from traditional thoughts and into outside thoughts; the individual discovers buried thoughts of treasure, undiscovered ideas and freedom. An individual with the capability to think is freer than he/she can truly understand. I once was young and was curious of what knowledge the world had to offer; I hungered for knowledge. I discovered and entered a world that I believed gave knowledge and hoped would also give me freedom. Society referred to these individuals as pot smokers. However, at the time, I referred to them as enlightened free spirits. So I entered there world, soon to be enlightened with teachings, I would soon teach to others. I entered this world just as Henry David Thoreau entered the woods: “see if I could learn what I had to teach, and not, when I come to die, discover that I had not lived” (Thoreau 8). I entered the world to see what it had to teach, hoping it would show me the true essentials of what is needed in life. I entered hoping it would free me from needless wants and empty desires. I hoped, in the end, I would discover higher knowledge and true freedom. Sadly, I gained no freedom; I was instead confused rather than free, I felt imprisoned, shackled to the substance, imprisoned in false enlightenment and given a temporary sensation of freedom. I left to see what other source could provide me with true enlightenment and permanent freedom. I left just as Henry David Thoreau left the woods. “I left the woods for as a good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one” (Thoreau 9). I did gain knowledge from their world but as a living soul I had to see what else was out there.
The soul must move and forever move for it is not a dead corpse. It must live and live with motion. An individual must venture off into the unexpected world and uncover knowledge. If an individual simply lived one lifestyle and viewed the world through one perspective, he/she must be a dead corpse. And like a dead corpse, the body will no longer move. One must move and see the sunrise from a sea, mountain, desert, rainforest, and everywhere in the middle. One should not grow comfort in standing still. Henry David Thoreau explains, “Perhaps if I had lived there much longer, I might live there forever” (Thoreau 9). I have escaped many things before I became comfortably trapped with many lifestyles and once more I venture into the world with freedom, learning from those willing to teach and from myself. In order for an individual to live a life worth teaching, he/she must have some knowledge worth listening to, right? Some wonder where is knowledge gained and how does one realize he/she has gained it? Knowledge is simply gained through living more than the one lifestyle. He/she must see to it that it is not spent living only in what he/she already knows. An individual must not only venture inside their minds, but he/she must also explore the world he/she is constantly walking. He/she must interact with life’s teaching and not fear mistakes or errors. One must acknowledgment their errors and mistakes and not allow them to hold them back from living a life of self-reliance. For the mistakes and errors in an individual, are the reason human beings mature and gain knowledge. So embrace errors as your teacher and not a part of history that needs to be erased. Embracing them, one is now more enlightened and this can only lead to being more self-reliant. But denying them, will one than begin to rely on others and so starts ones slow self-suicide. Emerson said, “The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency…..why drag about this corpse of your memory?” (Emerson 177). As human beings are known to naturally be flawed and make mistakes, an individual is also responsible so that he/she must learn from his/her mistakes. The individual must also see that he teaches his/her lessons to the world. And not fear being misunderstood.
Regardless of being misunderstood and declared wrong, an individual must rely in inner knowledge, original genius, and private opinion. A transcendentalist does not rely in government for guidance or in society’s opinions in personal affairs. Instead he/she relies on what they believe right. It is important in transcendentalism to believe in ones genius. Emerson gives an explanation of one’s opinion and genius, “Is it so bad to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood” (Emerson 20). Being wrong does not provide the universe with a useless opinion; an individual’s opinion, questions society’s constitution that lead to spiritual revelation. As this enlightenment spreads, society as a whole begins to change. Even the smallest possible sign of unconformity and resistance against what is considered right awakens society’s conscience. Even the smallest of rebellion and disobedience is a good start for society to move forward. Due to a shared perspective, it may spark an individual to look into a different perspective that may later cause an uprising. As Henry David Thoreau explains, “For it does not matter how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever” (Thoreau 99). Society cannot move forward without the individual sharing his/her private opinions and expressing every opinion that dwells in his/her heart. I have taken every opportunity to speak my truth, not fearing judgment or the possibility of being misunderstood. It I truly believe in it, I proudly will not change it. My private opinion is what allows me to escape from society and into freedom.
A transcendentalist, regardless of judgment, believes the truth that dwells within the heart is also righteous, not only for an individual, but for mankind. Therefore an individual must refuse allegiance to what he/she refers and believe to be the wrong doers, as well as refuse the smallest possible form of support to the improvement of what is believed wrong. I was asked a question once: How can one improve abandoning babies. The question specifically stated that I had to provide an improvement and not simply answer: babies should not be abandoned or anything of that matter. I simply could not support the idea and improve its fashion of abandoning babies. The question did in fact leave thinking and questioning my own convictions. I asked myself, do I lend myself to the wrong and answer it or ignore it. Henry David Thoreau explains one should not contribute to what the individual believes is wrong, he states, “What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn” (Thoreau 97). So in result, I decided not to answer the question, but I could not leave it unanswered and blank. So I responded by explaining why I could not answer it. I stated that abandoning babies is wrong and explained the wrong in abandoning them; I explained, by simply permitting as well as improving this action allow humans, specifically teenagers, to continue childish and irresponsible acts that allow the possibility of future careless sex. My answer was indeed right and the question was wrong through the eyes of a philanthropist. I would rather be convicted wrong than give up my convictions. But what is wrong from right? Emerson gives a good explanation on the subject that can enlighten the matter, “No law can be sacred to me but that of my capture. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it” (Emerson 14). The question went against all that I believe in being righteous and divine; I could not allow my answer to contribute to this machine of injustice human acts. The question went against my constitution; therefore, I answered it in my fashion and not in the fashion that fir the questionnaire. By refusing to answer with a relevant answer and instead expressing my beliefs, I felt a sense of freedom. The freedom of expressing inner thoughts, regardless of whether I am right or wrong. I would rather do everything wrong and feel freedom against my face than be right and feel shackled with what is wrong. Not every individual can be right but must also be wrong in any kinds of fashion. Just like every transcendentalist cannot entirely base his life perspective through transcendentalism.
Some may claim me non-transcendentalist in not answering the question and not being able to think beyond my boundary, as well as not exercising my freedom to think. I cannot support the idea of abandoning babies or any idea that I know is wrong. I have, as I have explained, an own opinion. How far does a transcendentalist go to obtain experience and enlightenment? Must I experience murder, treason, or anything of that fashion in order to obtain more knowledge and enlightenment? I cannot do everything right when in the perspective as a transcendentalist. My opinion may not always be accepted and considered right in the eyes of society or to other transcendentalist, but if I did everything as one, wouldn’t that defy the purpose of being a transcendentalist? The very purpose, states an individual must discover his/her true nature, never allowing to be influenced by society’s opinion, even transcendentalism itself. I must find my reason of my actions and possibly my definition of a transcendentalist, as Henry David Thoreau says, “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion” (Thoreau 117). I may even declare myself a non-transcendentalist, but does it truly matter if I do everything in my power to do right by transcendentalist’s fashion? Just as much as I have the power to do anything or everything right, I also have the power do everything wrong. As Henry David Thoreau explains that not every man can do everything right, he says, “A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is necessary that he should do something wrong” (Thoreau 98). Perhaps one day my opinion will change, and I will give an opinion in how to improve the action of abandoning babies, although until then, I gladly stand by my convictions and wait to be enlightened. Possibly, instead, I will enlighten myself and see how immature and ignorant I was, but until than I must defend what I believe today and for whatever new idea I believe tomorrow. I will re-write my work and my beliefs just as Henry David Thoreau did. Some claim he himself was not entirely a transcendentalist.
A transcendentalist sees to it that he is one with his neighbor and believes that the state should respect an individual if it was his very own. Transcendentalists believe that every man, is to be respected regardless of being misunderstood. It believes that if a system would become evil, it would be a peaceful revolution that would be taken into action, not a violent one. Just as Henry David Thoreau believed in simply civilized disobedience, he says, “All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government” (Thoreau 92). So would a transcendentalist, during the abolitionary movement, ally him/herself with James Brown, commit murderous crimes, and promote the idea? A transcendentalist is one with nature, one with himself, and one with solitude. Henry D. Thoreau ignored his beliefs during the abolitionary movement of peaceful revolt and approved, even promoted, John Brown’s violent methods. John Brown’s method were sadly violence and murder. This was his perspective and his ideal way to cease slavery from the United States. Although many recognize Henry David Thoreau for his essay, “Civil Disobedience,” a transcendentalist’s ideals of a peaceful revolution, he would himself support those who committed violent crimes, such as James Brown. Editor Joseph Wood Krutch explains, “to this day students of Thoreau differ widely as possible over the question whether his championship of John Brown was a betrayal of his principles…of his faith in nonviolent methods” (Krutch 18). Thoreau was an intelligent individual. Thoreau knew the difference between a violent and peaceful revolutionist. He had the capability to differentiate between them. John Brown, a violent rebel who would murder those who did not agree with his opinion was compared by Henry David Thoreau to Jesus Christ. Henry David Thoreau says, “Some 1800 years ago, Christ was crucifies; this morning, perchance, Captain Brown was hanged” (Thoreau 18). Any individual would know that Jesus Christ himself did not change the world with violence but instead in a peaceful fashion. Henry David Thoreau did not look entirely in the transcendentalist perspective, just as I did not look into the perspective that a child should be abandoned. So in conclusion, a transcendentalist must eventually peruse his/her own opinions and path, disregarding what is expected of him/her. Transcendentalism is but a tool used by an individual in his/her own liking and fashion. It is used to better understand and accept ones true nature and genius. A teaching in which encourages an individuals’ desired to gain knowledge and eventually peruses other affairs with a sense of self-reliance.
I have discovered transcendentalism and practiced the art of it in every perspective of life and in doing so. I have gained freedom, enlightenment, and truth. I have separated my convictions from institutions, separated private opinion from society, without fear of being misunderstood, and I now rely on myself. I am not in fear of being labeled wrong. I know within that I shall not lend myself to whatever goes against my constitution. I have spent my days in the solitude of my mind, never conforming to any lifestyles that society offers. And in the dark solitude of my mind, I have discovered a divine truth of freedom that now illuminates my world. I am happy with having discovered my truth of freedom, my true opinion, and my true nature. As Thoreau states, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth” (Thoreau 90). I want nothing more than the truth or rather my truth and the truth is, I am no transcendentalism, for becoming one, I believe, defies the very purpose of nonconformity and discovering his/her true self. I am no transcendentalist or anything else others may now me as for I am, in the end, Francisco Dosal.
Emerson, W. Ralph. The Spiritual Emerson. New York: Penguin Group, 2008. Print.
Thoreau, D. Henry. Walden and Other Writers. New York: Bantam Classic reissue, 2004. Print.
Krutch W. Joseph. Walden and Other Writers. New York: Bantam Classic reissue, 2004. Print.