One would think the words are self-evident. Perhaps even rhetorical and obvious. Yet the more I encounter life, the more I recognize how few of us know where, who or even why we are. Somewhere through life we became unteathered from that which we we want to be. We adopt causes thinking they will give us purpose only to be disappointed when we find that they are not solutions but enigmas in their own right. How is it that we have drifted so far from the core of our existence that we have become strangers in time merely passing through the cosmos of eternity.
Once upon a time "I AM" had meaning and substance. God knew what it meant when he spoke to Moses from the burning bush declaring, "I AM THAT WHICH I AM." He was the everything, the totality of existence. There at the beginning, the middle and the end. There was no doubt in his omnipotent mind of his purpose or his existence. And for the longest time mankind was satisfied that it could be nurtured by its relationship with the Almighty and be certain of its own purpose and existence. But following the Renaissance, the reassurance of purpose and fulfillment became lost in a changing world of science and exploration. That which had grounded us to our past was no longer capable of securing us in the future. Doubts arose and soon people felt lost in the propensity for dynamic change. A new edict was required and thankfully Descartes gave man the ring upon which to grasp and find safe harbour. "I THINK THEREFORE I AM" and once again mankind had something to believe in, a value system upon which to ground his morality. He had himself, the limitless boundaries of his own mind and he reveled in the greatness that man could aspire to.
How long could mankind believe in itself? Not long before the doubts arose once more. With science the ability to destroy and obliterate became increasingly simplistic and soon that same principle which Descartes espoused to the glorification of mankind was now threatening its very survival. The more man thought, the more powerful became his engines of destruction. The Great Wars came and now more than ever mankind pondered his place and purpose in the universe. Science was a false god, feeding the wants and desires but failing to nourish the individual's need to know, 'Why'.
When all appeared lost, there came a single spark of enlightenment from an inconspicuous voice nestled between the two great wars. He represesnted the courage, the youth and vitality of the best of those nations that fought against the tyrrany of the oppressors. He rode the seas, daring the elements and braving the storms of heaven and earth. And though his voice was soft he spoke those immortalize words that Moses first heard from the Creator himself. "I YAM WHAT I YAM". So said Popeye the Sailor Man. Was that truly the best we had to offer?
There is a moral to this story, a purpose and reason that I have told it. More and more I hear people saying what's wrong with this world. It's all going to hell. The predictions of earth's destruction in 2012 (Soon to be a realeased movie by the way starring John Cusak) are met more with a sense of elation than fear. Not that I believe the world will end in 2012 but you would still think people would still be thinking "What if" and "What can we do about it?" What else should I expect or they expect when after three thousand years we've taken God's words and placed them in a mouth of a caricature of irresponsible violence. Popeye really wasn't the poster boy for self-restraint and rational thought. We have left ourselves with nothing to uphold. Our value system has been flushed, our leaders would appear to be in competition to whom can lie, cheat and steal the best, and our youth see video games as reality. Our jobs have become our existence, our families are dysfunctional, our marriages don't last as long as our affairs, and our murder statistics are the only numbers that are constantly improving over time. If the downward spiral is to be stopped, if the dissolution of society is to be thwarted then it is the responsibility of each one of us to provide the subject and verb that precedes "Therefore I Am." In my case I guess it would be "I WRITE THEREFORE I AM." And through my writing I hope that I can reach and change one life at a time. Or perhaps it's my scientific endeavours and I'd say, "I FIND CURES THEREFORE I AM." Either one is a justification of my existence. Perhaps its time for all of us to stand before that burning bush and make our own pronouncement.