Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trajectories and Scenes

Life presents itself as a series of moments grouped together by a collection of underlying similarities. Much like 'scenes' in a movie, our lives go from one set of these circumstances, to another. In each scene, the world passes us by as we fall into routine. In each scene, we fall into our being.

It is not the major scenes that are of interest, but rather the between times, as we move from one to another that hold the most significance. Within a scene we are frozen to our will, unable to recast ourselves, but between them we have those rare moments in life where we can change, where we can exert our free will. It is our choices in between that dictate our successes and failures.

For within a scene, we are more locked into ourselves than not. It is as if we were shot out of a canon and are on a defined trajectory headed deep into somewhere. Going nowhere fast. Initially we are given some options, but once out of the tube, the stage is set. Locked in. We, and our nature have committed ourselves to a specific course through life; a nearly unchangeable course for the length of the scene, however long that may be. We can't change, we can't veer, and all we can do is hold on and hope that a new scene change is headed our way sooner rather than later.

There are some who can change mid-scene, but they are a rare and peculiar breed,  often marginalized because of their lack of conformity. For the rest of us, we're born, go to grade school, high school, move out and possibly go to university, get our first real job, our first real love, our first long time work, then later our first bout of restlessness, and so on. Each new shift, forming at least one significant scene, each new trajectory either changing our course or following lockstep from the path of the last one. Quickly we become trapped in our lives, trapped in our habits, often missing the very moments that were set there to allow us to escape. To break the mold, to change our trajectory.

But it is not just individuals that pass through scenes and follow trajectories. Groups of all shapes and sizes are bound by the same cruel mechanics as well. From friends, to companies, to entire countries, collective beings get caught within their routine, only to follow an inevitable course in some fixed direction for as long as the scene refuses to change. The stage gets set, and the players get played.

If you understand how we are tied to our fates, it is easier to see and sense why the world moves in the way it does; why people move in the way they do. Even knowing the worse, most people are helpless to change their course, and are rarely in control of their own scenes. Most groups can't be any better, whether or not they know that their trajectory leads them into something undesirable. Once things are set in motion, once it gets going, it becomes all but impossible to change. And if the consequences are inevitable, the only way to avoid them is to force some type of dramatic scene change into the equation. Little changes, wishful thinking, these cannot alter the trajectory. If the scene remains the same, the path is bound to its course. What should happen, will happen. Where the trajectory leads is where life will take one. Breaking that is what separates the great from the rest of the pack.

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