An old word, appropriately unrecognized by spell check, which means to withdraw from human concerns and the problems of humanity; to place oneself outside the world and its problems. Or, more relevant to this post, to stay the hell off of Facebook.
I’ve been making an effort to reduce the amount of time I spend with social media. I found that the constant stream of mis-, dis-, and non-information which flows through it to have a corrosive effect on my psyche. Eroding away at the good and wholesome and creative bits exposing and emphasizing the angry, the frustrated and the unhappy.
I’ve a compulsion, it seems, to attempt to correct the inaccuracies which I encounter online, and I’ve recently come to realize that despite how much people claim to want the truth of matters, in many respects offering said truth is unwelcome; even in the most benign of forms. Such efforts end up leading to phrases like, “Why are you so literal?” and “Some people like to be entertained.” All of which creates a feedback loop of frustration for me. First a frustration that people have chosen to believe and propagate misinformation, then additional frustration when it’s revealed to me that they prefer the fantasy over the (in many cases) really, really cool reality.
A phenomenon which strains my brain.
Colliding with such an impenetrable wall of willful ignorance a couple dozen times a day for months on end pushed said strain into breaking territory to the point where when I wasn’t actively arguing with someone on the internet, I was thinking about arguments I was going to have when I got back to the internet. It was a sad state of affairs which I’m a little ashamed to admit to publicly.
It’s just that…
Fantasy is a thing you resort to when the truth is dull. It’s a fictional spice on an otherwise bland reality. But things like the naturally occurring nuclear reactor at Oklo, or the Atlas V rocket launch, or the ruins at Gobekli Tepe are all really cool true stories. You don’t need aliens, or conspiracies, or lizard men or whatever to make them interesting. That actually makes them boring.
I’ll never understand the people who want to credit aliens with every interesting thing on this planet. Isn’t assuming that everything which seems out of place is caused by the exact same phenomenon (aliens) just super dull? What a boring, homogenous global world view you have there. Or the belief that the world is secretly controlled by a vast global conspiracy with (for some reason) nefarious goals… When the answer to every question is “Illuminati,” doesn’t that just get old?
Our planet, our cultures, our accomplishments, our people… They’re all incredibly cool if you actually look at them and not get distracted by whatever random bullshit you saw in a meme.
That’s how this whole thing started, after all; with memes. I’d see some meme online and think, “This issue must be more than two-sentences-complex.” And I’d hit the Googles. Then I’d locate the truth which the meme was typically bending, warping, or otherwise misrepresenting and attempt to clarify it to whomever posted the meme; because why wouldn’t you want the truth? And then the cycle begins…
But enough about that.
Now that I’m unchained from my memetic shackles, what have I been up to? Probably the biggest change is that I’ve been getting outside more often. Going hiking. Getting back to my roots. It’s one of those things I’ve been talking about doing ever since I moved to Hawaii over a decade ago; getting up in the hills and seeing the nature, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it.
In the last five weeks, I’ve hiked four separate trails which I’d never been on before. The wife and I making a very real effort to try to get dirt on our shoes at least once a week (interrupted briefly by visiting family).
I’ve talked before about how Hawaii is almost mystical. About how you get a sense of the mundane and the magical living side by side. Nowhere, I think, is this felt more strongly than when you go hiking here.
When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, if you wanted to go camping or hiking, you’d drive up into the mountains and there would be this slow fade of civilization being slowly overtaken by wilderness. Not here. Not in Hawaii. Hawaii is a land of hard borders. Adjacent kingdoms; one giving way to the next immediately and without compromise. The ocean hits the beach, the beach hits the city, the city hits the jungle, the jungle hits the mountains, the mountains hit the sky. There’s no fading, no blending.
When you go hiking here, in some cases you will literally stand with two feet in separate worlds; the change is that abrupt. Six feet into the jungle and the city you were in a moment ago is miles away. It’s jarring.
Anyway, point is, it’s been good. It’s been healing. Getting into the wilderness has helped me clear my head. I’m going to be writing more about that (and other things) in the very near future; might even start a separate trail blog. Haven’t decided yet.