I believe in something I call the validity of the retrograde perspective. It states that there is a second, opposite way to view any action. For instance, we think we walk forward, but perhaps our energy really pulls space a little while we stay still. This opposite view may seem utterly counter-intuitive and ridiculous, but in some instances it was the prevailing view of our civilization. For a very long time no one thought the Earth was moving — we can’t feel its motion, even though it accelerates at certain points in its orbit. I am told there is no reason why we ought to feel the Earth move, but I think it speaks to the validity of both perspectives, that the Earth is moving, and that the Earth is pulling space.
I stayed still and pulled the future back
at the speed of light
to let its moments stroke
past my brain as the present time.
I believe in contradiction. I believe that the Everything and the Nothing exist simultaneously, and that their particular intersection according to my perspective creates the illusion of Something.
I believe that we are all one, and all separate, simultaneously.
But, so what?
What if reality was merely what she saw,
and the distant trees were really that small?
There is a moral consequence. It has to do with good and the absence of good, which one might call evil. For goodness has long been equated with selflessness, and the one who gives up everything she has is good, even though a society made up of such good people who have all given up all their belongings makes no sense. No, I believe that true morality is when selfishness and selflessness exist simultaneously. Only when one is allowed to be selfish is one freed to be selfless.
I don’t mean that one ought to take care of themselves first. I don’t mean that one ought to be selfish in one moment and selfless the next. But truly simultaneously selfish and selfless.
I read a few philosophy papers about the nature of doing a good act (helping someone whose car had broken down, for instance). There is a whole philosophical argument about whether we can know that someone is acting selflessly or not, since doing a good act will bring her some joy and that is a selfish thing. The fact that we cannot even separate selflessness from selfishness tells me that popular ideas of what is good are wrong.
And we know they are wrong. If we really thought in our hearts that giving up all we have is good, and that not caring for ourselves is good, and that utterly obliterating our ego is good, it would be instinctual to do so. We would want to do it so deeply we would not have to struggle. If we really thought we were all one, we would be nearly incapable of denying someone else joy.
Our private inner world gives us overpowering evidence that selfishness is important, and that we are as separate as we are one.
So I believe we should be, simultaneously, as fabulous as queens and as humble as servants.
May I be the servant-queen.