Monthly Archives: May 2010

Affirmative Action

No lines. No place names.

No lines. No place names.

You’re inside the cockpit of a Jet Ranger helicopter, hovering 6000ft above the city of Cape Town. The whole living, breathing map splashed out beneath you is nothing but a 3D painted setscape. The scene is complete, whole, undivided by all-too-familiar dashing lines, and unblotted by bold ink place names. The whole scene has a movie-like feel about it. The pilot  receives a transmission in his headset. “Affirmative,” he clicks back.

Affirmative. As in, “agreed”, “acknowledged”. Affirmation is admission. It is the opposite of denial.

For the majority, the daily focus in life is on personal ambition, be it getting by or getting ahead. The “rest of the world” is a map splashed before your feet, waiting to be conquered or at least inhabited. The time between when you’re born and when you die (now) is seen as your “one shot” at making something of yourself, or creating a better life for your descendants.

Is this denial? Are your ambitions and your mental adventures distracting you from the everyday reality of life? Surely your own personal story is somewhat insignificant, when faced with the sheer magnitude of the world you live in? Perhaps affirmation is overcoming the constant, overwhelming distraction you’re faced with – life itself!

What is the everyday reality of life? You were born, you will die, the time is always now and things are always more magnificent than can be imagined.

Do not confuse the territory for the map. A pilot must be alert.

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