It was one of those days when nothing could bring you down. It was springtime and I was in a park in Big Light City. The unusually brutal winter was over and everyone was spending the first sunny day of the year at the park. In the distance a woman caught my eye. She was running in just about the brightest orange shirt I’d ever seen, and if it weren’t for that shirt I never would have picked her out from all the other runners. Her face could not have fit the tone of the day any better. She was completely content, completely at peace.
Then she fell.
There was a small hole in her path and she caught it just right. I have twisted my ankle dozens of times in my life, but never like this. She fell, and she stayed fallen. Then came the scream. It was absolutely mood shattering. The park stood still. Then many ran to her, including myself. When I reached her, I saw that her right foot was now facing to the side instead of forward. It was about as bad as one could break an ankle. Many in the group of good samaritans were repulsed by the sight and had to walk away.
The woman’s ankle, now broken, was functionless. Since she now can’t walk, she has lost all forward momentum, literally and figuratively. This betrayal of forward momentum is made manifest in the physical appearance of her ankle. Its appearance is now seen as “grotesque” because of its lack of function. We are wired to desire the natural state. This is an example of how The Push speaks to us.
We have a natural aversion to malfunction and a natural desire for perpetuation. Pain is indicative of malfunction and pleasure is a symptom of perpetuation. Pain is bad and pleasure is good.
Say you met a man one day who had elbows that bent in the opposite
direction; you might find his appearance “creepy.” How does he eat? How does he see what he is doing with his hands? What would a hug from him be like? In short, how does he function? There is a correlation between the “creepy” nature of his appearance and the perceived lack of function of his arms. The relationship between function and the natural state is evident both physically and socially.
Physically, if there were no natural state of perpetuation, there would be no place for something like an immune system. There would be no baseline for a body to return to. This woman’s ankle will not stay broken forever. She is lucky enough to live during a time when such an injury can be overcome. However, if she were born 400 years ago, her foot would have been amputated. Any further back, and this injury would have been a death sentence. No matter what scenario, the ankle will not stay broken. It will either regain function or be removed.
Socially, if there were no natural state of perpetuation, there would be no place for right and wrong. For instance, language is nothing but the exchange of information. Now, if you knew that someone was lying to you, even a quarter of the time you spoke to him, you would probably stop exchanging information with that person. Thus, lying becomes “wrong” because it is a betrayal the function of language. If we were all constantly lying to each other, language would lose function and we would stop using it.
The Push is, in a nutshell, made of two parts, forward momentum and the natural state of being. Forward momentum is the “now-onward” perpetuation of existence and the natural state of being is the “is-was” of what that perpetuation has created. The two meet in the “is-now,” or present moment. There is no measure of time for the briefness of this encounter, yet it is constantly creating existence, as you know it.
With all the uncertainty I had in life, the existence of The Push was the only thing I couldn’t doubt. It wasn’t until I figured this out that I felt I had the foundation to truly take on God.
Think hard. Tread soft.