Friday, September 27, 2013

Life As Oxymoron

For those unfamiliar with the word "oxymoron," it is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. For nascent etymologists:

Oxymoron is derived from the 5th century Latin "oxymoron", which is derived from the Ancient Greek: ὀξύς oxus “sharp, keen” + μωρός mōros "dull, stupid", making the word itself an oxymoron. -Mac Pro Dictionary (Fare thee well, Daniel Webster.)

The designation human being, taken in its entirety, is an oxymoron. People frequently say, "He's only human," inferring that a troubling action or frailty stems simply from the hazards of being a two-legged. But the second part of the moniker "being" infers something far more life affirming: non-neurotic, laid-back, relaxed, alert, calm, aware, in the moment, chill, being as opposed to doing, and so forth and so on.

The most extreme cases of 'human frailties in action' are psychopaths who live normal lives 97% of time, often with nice families in suburban houses, who have a part time job as a serial killer and/or rapist. Unless one gets caught and goes to jail, it is also a nonpaying gig.

And then we have sociopaths such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Pinochet, Idi Amin and other infamous characters. They committed atrocious crimes against humanity, yet were kind to their dogs, cats, plants, children, mistresses and wives, usually in that order.

Yet one needn't be an oxymoronic aberration where kindness co-inhabits the same body as murderous activity. When I was young, single and making the rare trip to the supermarket, I observed with horror mothers screaming at their toddlers as they whined and reached for candy or any other bright colored package designed to elicit the reaction of a child: "Gimme gimme."

If the child didn't respond to the common command, "No!" or "Be quiet!" or stoney silence (the passive aggressive technique), next came the whack, luckily to the backside and not on the other cheek. The more the little one screamed, the more the whacks kept coming, and the more I condemned those cruel mothers.

And then I became a mother myself, at the supermarket, waiting impatiently for a two-year old who stood transfixed in front of a shelf load of goodies or cheap plastic toys of vivid hues. After 30 seconds of patience I would descend on my child with an emphatic, "No!" or "Be quiet!," having learned that telling a child that sugar or red dye are not beneficial for his/her health is like telling a rock to stand up and do the boogie woogie. Although I never smacked any of my kids in the market (and only twice in private) an outside observer might have seen me dragging them forcibly away from the candy shelf towards the produce section...and deemed me a monster mom.

Everyone can recall times of sadness, times of joy, times of rage and times of calm; times of fear, times of hope, times of depression and times of euphoria. All of these contradictory emotions are a configuration of atoms that form the paraxoical human being.

Like the word oxymoron itself, our life is a whirling blender of ups, downs and upside downs. Perhaps that is why Oneness stands as the prized state of consciousness; when all the contradictions inherent in the human being are resolved into a whole, unified field of energy; a state where one feels complete, focussed, energized and caring.

The grand finale is the oxymoron of all oxymorons: every second that we are alive, we are dying. This downer is also an upper; gratitude for whatever time is allotted to us mortals can be the very thing that keeps us in forward motion, despite all evidence to the contrary.


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