Aspiration & Inertia
The Closing of a Circle
Aspiration & Inertia was initially a blog I’d created nearly ten years ago, a website meant to be “a collection of various musings ranging from the philosophical to the facetious,” a reason to “put epiphany onto paper.” You know, “lingering brain farts,” as I had described my own thoughts on the About page a decade ago. I’ve always liked that name, Aspiration & Inertia, which is part of the reason I’ve decided to summon it back into existence.
The other reason? Because I’m at a point in life where again I feel that tug-of-war between hope and inertness threatening to unravel me, and I have the notion a great many of you out there are feeling the same way. But ten years ago I was lost—barefoot—trying to figure out what mudholes were worth jumping in and getting my feet dirty, trying to figure out what shoes, or waders, I could wear with some pride.
Now the tug-of-war between aspiration and inertia is different. I am no longer lost, quite the opposite. I know exactly where I’m at—exactly where I stand—and it’s the polarization of every single social and political issue (two topics slightly different but nowadays largely one and the same) that has me reeling, has me waking up every morning with a sigh wondering what, if anything, has any true worth anymore as we lurch toward a future seemingly obstructed by a boundless wall of disdain where one giant sign hangs that reads: DEAD END.
Almost every single mainstream news organization ties words into tight, cryptic knots in almost every single article it publishes, peddling ideology and bias over anything resembling real truth. “Their truth,” as the objective-adverse may define it, a phrase that occasionally causes my teeth to grit. It’s something resembling 1984 in 2021, where “journalists,” pundits, and politicians are more determined to justify their every thought and demonize dissenting opinions, creating heretics they deem barely worthy of participating in society, than they are to build bridges that unite differing thought processes which can complement one another.
This failure of leadership is an open wound that bleeds down over all of society, encouraging every institution and individual to follow suit, to mimic the mind-numbing rhetoric mindlessly, to construct bubbles—safe spaces—filled only with those who have sworn themselves over to the hive. The moment someone in his or her own chosen bubble realizes independence, they’re eaten alive. So much for “safe spaces” when “danger zones” is just as apt terminology.
This has made it nearly impossible to communicate with many of our neighbors, our family, our friends. There is a distrust in the air, an unwillingness to speak our minds for fear of either offense or ostracism. And when we are brave enough to allow our minds to spill, there’s no guarantee the gray matter receiving the syllables can relate, thanks to the abyss of digital distractions and sources of information that we all have access to. There are important matters to discuss, paramount societal issues that people either don’t know about, don’t care about, or don’t agree about. There are discussions which we must have but can’t. There are relationships that need mending. There is a world that needs saving.
So when faced with a mix of indifferent beings and indelible beliefs every which way we turn, how do we decide which way to move forward? This is where I currently sit, the spot I’m currently glued; this is the question that has me static, pulled at either end by aspiration and inertia. This is the question that has me confronting every sunrise with a sigh.
Perhaps moving forward requires our own individual answers, and perhaps our various solutions will bring us together somewhere down the line. All I know is the answer for me seems to be to write.
I have no doubt that some of what I’ve stated above is a bit vague. I could elaborate more, could go into specifics, but I’ll be doing that with future posts that are more catered to particular topics. For now I’d like to end with my original Aspiration & Inertia article, to revive and celebrate the me I was a decade past. It’s interesting, putting external form to your internal self and then reexperiencing it at a later date. It just might be the best way to get to know yourself, the closest you can actually get to meeting yourself. Though I must admit, it’s always strange and a bit nerve-wracking to read words you’ve written long ago, back when you were not the you you are now. For me, there’s always a sense of dread, a fear I said something incorrectly or idiotically, like disappointment waiting to be unpacked and accepted—a mirror of a more immature version of myself that I can’t look away from.
There’s an important lesson there. If you can find the strength within to embrace yourself, warts and all, you can find it within yourself to embrace the entire world.
Aspiration & Inertia (The Original)
“Buy me a trip to the moon,
So I can laugh at my mistakes.
You see, I can see the end from here.
From this perspective, it looks kind of silly.
Satellites and astronauts
Tell me there are greater things ahead.” – In Flames
Aspiration and inertia are two intersecting ideas that affect a great many of us. It’s while attempting to aspire, to reach for the stars, that we’re saddled by inertness, an inability to set ourselves in motion. The factors by which we’re in this stasis could be doubt, depression, simply a lack of time, or a host of other reasons. As we age, those reasons change. Aspirations fade with the combusting gases of those stars we’re soaring toward and inertia becomes a source of gravity, a black hole pulling us down. The desire is to get inertia on our side. That is, to get the ball rolling toward our goals and to maintain velocity until we’re at the fringe of the universe.
The balance between aspiration and inertia is mere contentment, where most end up. It’s a compromise, a sacrifice of full potential. It’s prelude to certain deathbed regret, a place of confusion and bitterness. It’s no place to idle for too long. The only thing we can do is escape the equilibrium of aspiration and inertia before it rips us in two. Hopefully we can meet on the other side, fully intact.
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