A 4-D Lifestyle – Initial Thoughts
In the past few days I have come to understand something a little bit more clearly.
The enjoyment of music is the same If not greater for the lonely barefoot man with nothing else than for the man who has everything else. For the first, the most beautiful things of the world are his. They are his because they are free. They are his because no one can take them from him. Even a deaf person can still hear the music of his or her soul. A blind person can still see through his or her imagination. While it is stretching the scientific in some respects, the truth is that life’s greatest blessings do not depend on our ability to achieve them. They are offered free. In fact, it is not so much the objects of enjoyment as much as it is the simple ability to enjoy that drives so many people into slavery. They serve their precious possessions and their lenders with what remains of their passion for life and find that even the most promising artifacts do not provide the enjoyment they once appeared to offer. No. It is not wealth, but the ability to enjoy wealth that is prized. It is not music, but the enjoyment of its creative expression that we crave. It is why so many constantly look for a stronger beat or something new. It is that sorry state of existence in which what is new will only entertain the first time it is encountered. It is living in a 3D world when you crave a 4D world.
A 4D world is open and available to anyone who will look to find it. It requires one to slow down, dig deep, sit quietly, and see with more than just his or her five senses. For unlike simple sound vibrations that can be understood by the ear or the nervous system, music can only be experienced by the soul. It is the most obvious aspect of the 4D world in which we live. It is only from a place where everything is reduced to its most basic value that a person is able to find his or her own key to accessing this additional dimension to life that is craved by all, experienced by some, and known mostly to children.
The 4th dimension is that magic of Christmas that children carry in their hearts. It is the sudden realization that fairy tales are real. It is the boyish desire to always be Peter Pan. These examples will seem ridiculous to the person who does not understand the 4th dimension, but knows something is missing from his or her 3D world. This person, however will understand why Christmas is such a difficult time of the year, why fairy tales never come true, and why it is better to grow up quickly. This last mindset is not natural. It is trained. It is taught by those who believe that their dream is out there somewhere and that there is a way to reach that dream. Often the dream dangled before the tantalized eyes of the innocent youngster sparkles like gold and looks like a dollar sign.
It is that beautiful and evil desire for wealth. Stretching only slightly, one could say that it is the American dream. This dream replaces the desire for life with the desire for money. It promises that money will buy life and tries to cover up the fact that time is the only priceless commodity. In pursuit of the happiness offered by the dream, most people sacrifice every bit of happiness that the dream could afford. The dream is illusive because it never offers gratification for those who achieve its end. The ones who have excelled at accumulating wealth can often be heard lamenting the fact that they have sold their souls in order to buy it.
Some people find a happy compromise called work-life balance in which most of their life is spent chasing a shape-shifter, but some of their life is spent trying to forget about the chase. These people leave their pursuit of wealth to certain hours of the day, and their pursuit of life to whatever remains. Unfortunately, as wealth increases, so does the amount of time they need to spend caring for their new-found treasures. They dream of the day when they will have enough wealth to take the time to enjoy the objects of enjoyment their wealth has forced them to acquire. In the fast-food society these people require, objects of enjoyment promise a microwavable experience of pleasure: ready in five minutes. But happiness takes work. Satisfaction takes time, and ready-to-consume enjoyment can never be anything more than superficial.
No one who lives in this tragic life-cycle has the time to pause and reflect on whether or not their goal is worth the price. It is assumed that they will reach their objective. They will be financially free. They will never worry about money again. They will enjoy life – someday.
To avoid the accusation that this essay advocates instant gratification instead of delayed gratification, I must state clearly that choosing to live in the 4th dimension requires just as much patience, effort, and input as avoiding it altogether. The purpose of this argument is to showcase the stupidity of choosing wealth as an objective when happiness is the real goal. Happiness is not free, but money is not the currency of its exchange. It is an American right to pursue happiness, but it is an American failure to equate happiness with wealth. In fact as many studies on happiness and wealth will show, the two seem almost inversely related.
On the day that I graduated, I received a Bible along with my diploma. When I opened this book it fell open to page 596, which says the following:
There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them – Ecclesiastes 6:1,2
In short, the wise king Solomon, concluded in these verses that wealth does not equal happiness. People can spend their whole lives chasing after wealth and never get to enjoy what it can buy. Sometimes their kids do, but they usually try to buy happiness with their parent’s money. Since money is not the currency of happiness, they still do not find what they are looking for and turn to hollow physical highs like sex, drunkenness, and highs from drug use. Even these are short lived. They satisfy in part, but take more away from the person than they give. Even one of the most beautiful aspects of life, sex, becomes extraordinarily frustrating and even unsatisfying when it is disconnected from the 4th dimension. It becomes a technique, a physical action, and a temporary thrill. As with music, drugs, and life itself, the only thing that now holds any sense of interest is what is new. It is a vicious trap because the pursuit of what is new costs money. So the children find themselves replacing clothes, sexual partners, drugs, friends, and jobs. To afford this lifestyle, they begin to repeat the same cycle as their parents hoping their kids will somehow turn out different.
The more perceptive recognize the hopelessness of this pattern and may attempt to end it by taking their lives. Not to be criticized for their suicidal thoughts, these people understand no alternative method to achieve a life worth living and actually have the courage to try to change it. They are the ones who live in reality in all its painful meaninglessness. Unfortunately, simply telling them that it is a common human problem will not fix anything. If that is the case, the whole world should be destroyed. Serial killers and rapists emerge trying to find some way to soothe the insane desire for meaning and purpose that cannot be found within the confines of social boundaries. The artist attempts to paint the picture that accurately reflects the human misery, but even he or she cannot offer a solution to this problem. Religions offer an anecdote in many respects as they identify the natural human longing and offer certain actions and ideas to fill the gaping hole of desire.
Those who come the closest to enjoying life are actually those who let themselves be completely consumed by an idea or cause that serves as a backdrop to everything they do. They become champions of change that people will rally around – partly because of the ‘newness’ or unusual nature of such a person, and partly because they hope to be part of something greater than themselves. The champions have passion, they have fire, and they are motivated to act. Because they seem to have seen a glimmer of hope, people rally around hoping they too will find a purpose for their lives.
The desire for happiness can be filled by being part of something greater. Working with a team to accomplish a goal is one way in which a person can access the 4th dimension of life. The inter-personal relationships, the common cause, and the excitement of possibility provide welcome relief. Together, people can produce amazing results. But sooner or later, the project is implemented by the corporation, the basketball trophy sits in the bedroom and individual is left floating around like a free electron looking for some new molecule to take part in forming.
This is the question asked by every college graduate: where do I fit? It is the source of major life transitions and the cause of huge concern for people in every stage of life. Who will my friends be in high school? What college will I go to? Which job will I take? All of these questions are one. Where do I fit in to the bigger picture? How do I give meaning and value to my life?
For those with a particularly obvious talent or skill, the answer may seem apparent. However, most people struggle their whole lives to find the answer. One of the reasons for this perpetual struggle is sad reality that most people have never heard of the 4D lifestyle. They don’t realize that they are surrounded by invitations to be part of something greater. They are pointed toward instant gratification, toward transient clusters of ‘something greater’ that last awhile and then vanish. Some may even find that their ‘something greater’ is also something evil. Those who supported Adolf Hitler’s government and found their sense of purpose through its dominion were betrayed by their opportunity. On a smaller scale, employees do not receive recognition for their part in a team project. To cope with the possibility of betrayal or the inadequacy of belonging to a certain group, people often join multiple groups hoping that they can piece-meal the happiness they are looking for.
As technology advances, people find ever-new ways to identify with various groups and causes, but the increased interaction leads to decreased commitment and ultimately decreased identification with the successes and failures of that group. This shields a person in many ways from failure, but it also removes the sense of gratification from accessing the 4th dimension.
To simply present the idea of the 4th dimension, one could consider looking at a house from the outside. Expanding in 3 dimensions, a person could infinitely explore the neighborhood, the country, the continent, the earth, and the galaxy. Expanding to the 4th dimension goes the other way. Instead of zooming out to the neighborhood, it zooms into the house. Then it zooms in to a specific room, and finally to the tiniest fraction of a moment of experience. That moment carries within itself multiple attributes that can each be explored further, but to begin, it is best to choose only one. For example, the ticking of a clock, the slightly crooked angle of a picture frame, the smell of a wood fire, the dry taste of the air, or the weight of a blanket. Within the sound of a ticking clock, a person can delve even further into the last time, he or she heard a clock, the quality of the ticking sound, or the passing of time it represents. Any of these observations can be connected and reworked in combination with input from the other four senses.
Though it is simple, the act of noticing has a profound effect on a person: it shows that he or she ‘is.’ It is this recognition that provides the foundation for dispelling the myth that wealth can produce happiness. Wealth enables people act happy. But acting happy is not the same as being happy. Being happy takes work of a different kind. It takes pursuit of this experience called life. Life is a combination of those moments where a person recognizes that he or she ‘is.’
The flaw in the American dream is that one must spend is whole life acting expecting the action to produce that happiness when it is the being that produces the happiness. To be happy, one must ‘be’ fully alive to life, to the moment, to the experience of existence. This requires openness to the most heart-breaking sadness, and thrilling happiness. To the greatest sorrow and the greatest joy. However, even the experience of sadness becomes a dear aspect of life. It reveals a greater sense of being. Instead of running away, one must embrace the positive and negative aspects of life as part of one greater connected holistic experience.
Because it is an experience of being, happiness cannot be bought. It is open to all who are willing to pay the price that it exacts: openness. There is no control. It’s risk is high, but its reward is incredible. Its invitation awaits in every snowflake that falls silently to the ground. It waits with the neighbors that nobody knows. It waits in the song that can be played over and over again. It waits with a child’s anticipation of Christmas. It is an invitation to experience life. It waits, just on the other side of our fear. The only power strong enough to overcome this fear is love. Love cannot be bought. It can be faked, but its power cannot be imitated.
When a person receives this love, he or she is empowered to cross over the boundary of fear and to experience life. For many, this love comes from another person. It carries with it a great risk, but is the key to entering the 4th dimension. Unfortunately, love is one of the most unreliable emotions and carries with it the danger that a person will be forever shut out of the 4D lifestyle if their key to entering betrays them. This is why romance is such a huge part of our culture.
If, however, there was a love available and open to all that did not depend on the emotions of other people, it would be possible for any person to experience life in all of its color – in all of its dimensions. There are some who claim to have found this source. They have found the ultimate key to access the lifestyle that everyone desires. They have found the key to happiness. The wise reader will seek to understand along with this author who these people are and what they have found.