ONE


by Ska Ti Li


Did you ever hear the story of the two college debaters who ended up working in the same call center? True story. One was a sociology major, the other one got an economics degree. One of them railed against capitalism for years, end up sipping calls and kissing the asses of CEOs. The other one, who had posters of Ayn Rand, ended up one step below the sociologist on the headset ladder.


In between shifts, they would recall the great debates they had in school. It was a constant battle over defining the history of Western Civilization, the institution of slavery, the virtues and vices of the American Founding Fathers, and of course, whether was the savior of the free world or the seed planter of the eventual downfall of America.


Oh yeah…on and on they go. The debate that never resolves. The callers who keep calling with problems that never get resolved. Day after day, the monotony of the grind of post-enlightenment, the ball and chain of a paycheck, one to the next. The tongue grows fatigue and the ankles are sore and swollen.


Is it finally time to 'grow up', grow a house, grow a marriage, grow some kids, and become teachers of the grind? Aren 't there other paths to consider? Do all paths have to lead to the same destination, where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness leads to its opposite?


The greatest gift of life, the winner of the natural lottery, receives a lifetime supply of space and time. Those who are fortunate to have their fortunes freed from their enslaved fingers. So few can just choose the simple life without a little help from life 's grind roughing them up a bit first.


The path of salvation might begin with the best temp employment agent available today, Craigslist. The first items are the hardest to sell. That treasure you cried over for days and days was vastly overpriced the first time you posted it on Craigslist. But you were among the chosen. You received the revelation that you must sell immediately. The new price is so ridiculously low, that your email and voice mail starts filling up. Instead of days, you get used to selling items within a matters of minutes and hours.


Each item out the door represents more freedom. Each visit widens the senses. The smell of greed from each Craigslist victim passing through the door. You 've become the drug pusher who keeps the zombies hooked on their fix. And these zombies will buy things that you never even posted. They see something in your living room and will offer their soul for an extra fix on the side. The most loyal slave is one who enslaves themselves!


Then the Craigslist Gods reveal that it's almost time. You're very close to becoming a nomad with only a set of walls holding you back. A backpack, a few cans of food, some gadget that allows you to brush your teeth, shave your mug and scratch your butt. Clothes are disposable, if not optional. But a good pair of shoes, a tent, a blanket and a few comp books. The final list of perfection proves to be eternally elusive, but there is pure joy in whittling down the list of essential items. You know that you 've arrived at an exclusive, exalted realm. So few reach this milestone. The point at which your whole philosophy and life experiences can be seen from within a bucket or sack. All of which can be tossed into smallest of bins or simply given to a kind stranger. This is the climax, the peak of simplicity!!


The last shreds of modern existence fades into the night. A burning candle that will burn for several hours. Even though it is unusually warm outside, any movement in the wind brings a chilling shudder. Your teeth begin to rattle as you settle in on the hilltop right outside of town. But then comes the sound of a pulse. One. Two. Three. Four. Wait!!! Was the last number three or was it four? Start Over. One …two…three….one….two….one….one….one….the sound of one….the sound of one hand clapping.


The mind reaches the beginning. The beginning of time, of space, of existence. All of the accumulative information. You were not just an individual, but also the entire universe. But at the very last second, a distant voice tells you that you must return to the world of sanity or forever be lost! Too late. Sanity is a social construct. So is reality. The present moment is all that is left.


But why are you hearing a pulse? Are you dying? Or are you truly living for the first time? Now that you 've touched the source of all existence, you are sent back into the world of 'sanity'. of slavery. But you now have a gift.


You see the universe as it truly is for the first time. Poetry, numbers, rhythm, music, sound, noise, vibration, color. Your essence becomes the essence of those around you. Numbers no longer exist as abstract concepts on a spreadsheet but as a constant reminder of the beauty that exists all around you.


Patterns, geometry, numbers as archetypes. The world has just begun and all senses are engaged!

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