From Spark to Post
7 March 2019, Alameda, California, Starbucks at Safeway.
I woke at 5:57. That’s what the TicWatch on my wrist said. (Thanks Daniel, for more cast off gear!)
In my moment of waking, I realized that all I had was a spark. Or maybe that all I was was a spark. Is there a difference?
A spark is a bit of consciousness. It’s a tiny bit in a vast ocean, or sea, or universe, or giant metaphorical space of unconsciousness.
Something—call it me, call it a spark—was conscious.
Everything else was un.
What the spark could do
Not much. But enough.
The spark could decide.
It had one decision before it, one choice to make. The decision was: to be, or not to be. In the beginning and forever, that’s the one decision.
To be was to remain conscious. Not to be was to fall back into the vast unconscious that was everything else in the universe and from which it had emerged.
The spark decided to be.
Maybe that sounds dramatic. Maybe that sounds trite. But that’s the way it was.
To be, or not to be.
What I wanted
I wanted a different experience.
I’d like to have awakened fully energized, full of purpose.
I’d like to have awakened and leaped out of bed and into my day.
I’d like to have known when I opened my eyes who I was and what I was and why I was there.
I would have liked to have awakened knowing I had the energy that I would need to carry out the plans that I wished that I had, and did not.
But that didn’t happen.
None of that happened.
Just a spark. And a decision in front of it.
I’ve lived most of my life with obligations: stuff that I’ve had to do
If I’d had obligations this morning—a business trip to go on, people expecting me to show up at a meeting—it might have been different.
But I had no obligations.
No one was expecting anything of me. If anyone had been expecting something, I was unconscious of who they might have been and what they might have expected.
No one, as far as I knew, was expecting me to get up at the fast approaching 5:00 AM. Except me.
Just a spark.
With one decision.
What would it decide?
This morning that spark decided to be. It chose not to let itself go out. Then it decided to expand consciousness. It decided to become more than just a spark. Maybe a tiny flame of consciousness instead of just a spark.
Those were the first in a chain of decisions: to get up, to jump in a cold shower. To stay there and wake up more. To dress and go to Starbucks to write.
Those decisions led to now: this body sitting in this place (Starbucks at Safeway with no fucking Internet) watching this pen (a Precise V5 rollerball) write these words (or at least the ones in the draft) that will get posted so that some other sparks— including a spark that becomes a future me—might read them.
And to now: editing this prior to posting it.
This spark is unconscious of most of the world around it. And most of the world around it is unconscious—not just of the spark—but of everything.
Here’s a Starbucks coffee container. I’m conscious of you, container. Are you conscious? Of anything? If so, how are you doing?
What is it like to be a coffee container?
What is it like to be another person?Or a bat
I can look at another person, and I can imagine what it’s like to be them. I can watch someone sitting there, raising their hand, scratching their head. I’ve raised my own hand and scratched my own head. I can imagine that I’m them and imagine that what it’s like for them is a lot like what it’s like for me.
But what is it like to be a coffee container? It’s standing there, doing nothing. I’ve done that too. It’s not much, but it’s something.
Maybe I can know what it’s like to be a Starbucks Venti Latte coffee container.
I take doing my job seriously.
When I was raising my kids, I sometimes loved them because they were cute and loveable. But sometimes they were awful and unloveable. Still, I loved them. Because it was my job.
I do my job.
My job at 5:57 was waking up. I did it.
My job was then to make the decisions that would lead to writing this. I did my job.
My job is creating, and I’m doing it.
I created a writer.
A writer has a job: it’s to write. To write this draft. He did it.
The writer will become an editor and a blogger, and if everyone does their job, the draft will become a blog post.
Ideas are alive
Ideas are alive.
The ideas that have appeared so far want to be written.
They want to be posted.
They want to be read.
They want to change minds.
They are sparks, too. So they tell me.
Who am I to ignore them?
I ignore them at my peril.
When I don’t write, I think I get sick.
Those ideas are means to my ends: I want to write things, and they are things that I can write. So they serve my purposes.
To them, I am a means to their ends. They want to exist and survive. They need me to do it.
For every idea, death is just around the corner.
Only the best and the strongest survive.
Sometimes worst is best, but let’s ignore that paradox for the moment.
If I don’t post this these ideas will likely die in this notebook. Because who reads my notebook? Nobody. Not even me.
So off we go to the computer. Into the world. Another post written. Another idea lives.
All because of a spark.