To be seen

Somehow – and don’t blame me – Scripture came up in a conversation tonight. In passing, mind you. The Bible is a weird thing and certainly has its flaws, but I’m not antagonistic enough to blow past the rather fundamental lessons of humanity contained within. (It’s the dogma and the farce that I won’t tolerate in my life.) I think if we all lived like Jesus Christ, the world would be a lot cooler. He was an alright cat.

Anyway, ever the prepared Boy Scout that I am, I did indeed have a verse to pass on in the discussion. Matthew 6:5. A refutation of all that is wrong with society in 2016. This is from the King James joint: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

Too many people do things and go places to be seen doing those things and going to those places. The very act of living a life has become a 24-hour show — not for anyone’s entertainment, really, which would be at least somewhat enjoyable, but for the very sake of having something to broadcast, something to shout into the void.

The ancient Greeks had a word for this: thymos. At its etymological root, the word means “spiritedness” or “a desire for recognition.” And that’s a very human trait. It’s in the core of our collective mind. But, in my opinion, the big lunkhead Internet came along and perverted that shit. I play my role, sure (follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and don’t forget to call every now and then), but I remain troubled by how socially mandatory it’s become to be seen engaging with this beautiful thing we call life. Troubled!

I have a mantra (many mantras), and it is this: Climb a mountain. Tell no one.

I try. I really do. And I appreciate the kind and tasteful friends of mine who do the same.


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