Inherent in men and woman is desire. Desire for freedom, joy, peace, rest, hope, love and war. We desire challenge, we desire life, overcoming and for some of us even death. What I find hard is how my desires war with what the world around me has on offer. I desire green and yet live in grey. I desire space and yet live amidst millions. I desire simplicity and yet am soaked in digital advertising. I desire freedom and yet must conform to 8:00 - 18:00 of my standards days work….Stuff, how have capitalism, narcissism and consumerism so entrenched themselves into the fabric of our world that we are almost powerless to follow our most simple human desires but be satisfied with cramming them into the fifteen days of leave that we receive each year?
I know I am not alone in these yearnings, the world is literally vibrating with the agony of a confused billions who are being forced to bend for too long in the wrong direction. I woke up this morning surrounded by the gloom of a rainy Monday morning soaked in these questions, my practical mind already churning through options - Option 1, sell everything, renovate the panel van and opt out. Option 2, become a game ranger or farmer. Option 3, give in to the status quo despite the drowning feeling it creates daily. Option 4, carry on blindly seeking an alternative, rest and holistic prosperity within the walls of consumerism. In all honesty there is really only one options for me out of that lot. I would be bored and unfulfilled living in a panel van or the bush, I would die of purposelessness amidst the status quo and I crave the war and even the death of finding an alternative - but flipping heck, sometimes it’s hard…
I have had a feeling growing on me for a while. An uneasy scratching in the deepest part of my mind. An annoying worm wriggling in the depth of my subconscious begging for attention… I don’t think Tomfoolery can exist in our modern world. And that makes sense right? How can you marry work and fun in a ruthlessly capitalistic, materialistic society? See, money matters more to us than people, time and even our own sanity. And, if we take a good-long-look in the mirror the reason for that is simple - fear.
Fear is really in the driving seat of all of our modern world. If we are honest, it is the thought of not having enough money to pay our rent, car installments, kids school fees or put food on the table that drives us so desperately crazy that everyday we attack our ‘hamster wheels’ like people possessed. We throw ourselves at our daily task without a second’s thought of what it will cost us in the long run. Give everything we have, leaving nothing behind, in genuine faith that the value exchange between work and money is the best way to bring peace to our maniac minds crippled by the idea of poverty. This fear is like a virus. We try cure it but it replicates and changes, springing up somewhere else, mutating every time we look at our neighbor's house, TV advertising (irony abounds, I know) or the latest billboard. We fear if we stop for just one second this faceless monster will catch up with us like a thief and rob us of every ounce of security we have, leaving us with our worst nightmare: stripped of power in a world where stuff matters most. I know this fear. Heck I sell this fear…! I wake up with it every morning.
Stuff (possessions that is) doesn't really matter to me too much (that’s probably because I have lots comparative to most people in our country) but money does. I need it. I fear about where our next job will come from. How we will pay salaries. What happens if nothing happens? It takes me an hour of praying to calm myself down and centre myself before I get to work and yet within seconds of walking through the door I’ve thrown every intention of not slaving for the man or money over my shoulders and charged headlong into the mindless queue of millions chasing a carrot we will never be able to catch. How the stuff do we fall for this same trick day in and day out?
I have a problem though- two problems actually. I have a lowish capacity (I tire easily) and a really, really low tolerance for anything pointless (this includes filling in forms, traffic lights and killing myself slowly by working). Because of these two problems I am getting more and more tired of running the hamster wheel of a pointless life. I can’t cope with the idea of making money just for money’s sake. I am so tired in fact I am almost ready to let ‘poverty’ sweep over me as long as I don’t have to be a slave anymore to my own fear. I have heard that Buddhist monks used Kung Fu as a way to centre themselves.
They freed their minds from their own internal ‘kak’ by making themselves so tired they didn't have to listen to themselves talk anymore just so they could be at peace with the world around them for a few seconds of breathless perfection. I think I am in a similar place and here is what I think I’ve learnt in my moments of breathlessness: yes, I don't think that Tomfoolery can exist in our world. I think it is a fallacy, a utopia that cannot be because the framework and structure of our society is so utterly bent beyond repair that it is impossible to lcive in our world without being affected by it.
But, I still believe in Tomfoolery and, the more I learn the closer I am to thinking that it is an actual place. But it’s a place confined to the four walls of my mind and soul- it’s an Eden within me, an understanding, a philosophy that is counter to our modern worldview but contained within a peace that is not dependant on what I have but Whose I am. I have never been someone who can keep a diary, I think I just approach things from too much of a bird's eye view. I did however have one diary when I was in standard seven, a bright yellow Moleskin, which in the front cover I wrote a verse from the Bible:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Flipping heck. If I could have listened to the verse I would have a whole lot more hair and a whole lot less grey in it. I think Tomfoolery might be as simple as that verse. It might be just not being scared, just not being afraid anymore. Working, sure, but not because the ‘boogie monster’ of ‘no money’ is at my back brandishing his whip of ‘not enough’, ‘running out’, ‘debt’ and ‘going broke’. I think Tomfoolery might be freedom through knowledge. Inner peace through revelation. Working hard but at peace with whatever happens. Being satisfied and not crippled with what might never be and understanding that God is good and working on my behalf to ensure my best.
Yes. I think that might be Tomfoolery.