Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Knowledge is Power

When I was in my late teens I thought I knew so much. I had already experienced quite a lot of life: love, marriage, childbirth and was living the life of a battered wife of an alcoholic. I was biding my time until I turned 21 and could escape (in Missouri you had to have your parent's permission to divorce if you were under 21 and I didn't have it). I hadn't graduated high school, but I was self educated. I read everything, carrying my paperback dictionary with me on the bus to work, looking up every word I didn't know as I read my way through Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. After the Greeks I moved on to other philosophers, other readings. At 21 I finally asked a librarian for a list of the classics and read authors by the armload. Complete works of Dickens, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and so on. Wish I had been pointed to women authors earlier, but picked those up in the 70s.
When I went back to school, university at age 29, I tested out of the entire first year of college and all English requirements, all Fine Arts. 30 semester hours total. After I finally finished my university degree many years later, and wrote my master's thesis and had it accepted, I did think I knew quite a lot.
Those words engraved over the side door of my high school "Knowledge is Power" stayed with me. I know that my vocabulary, my ability to learn quickly, my excellent memory in my younger years, my insatiable thirst for information -- all have combined to help in move ahead in the world. I was able to provide for my family because of those things.
I could have been a factory worker like my mom with a tenth grade education, but I fought hard to move past that. I was kicked out of high school for being pregnant. My teenage husband was insanely jealous and when my (female) teacher at night school drove me home one night, he thought I hadn't gone because I didn't walk out the front door of the school(and he had come to check up on me.) So I was beaten and had to drop out.
Now that I'm older and actually think about things, I find that I don't know as much as I thought I did. So much of what seemed so clear now seems so fluid. So amorphous. Yesterday I wrote about the meaning of love, and not being sure that I do understand the meaning of love. Lately I've been thinking about what I believe about life. All my life I have believed in reincarnation. I mean ALL my life. When I was a very young child I remembered, remembered clearly my past lives. I would tell my mom about "before." I would say to her, "don't you remember Mama, when I was the Mom and you were the little girl?" and so on. I got into trouble for this belief at Sunday School until finally Mom told me to stop talking about these things at Sunday School, stop telling these stories. She tried to convince me they were dreams. They were not dreams. They were memories.
I also experienced deja vu ALL the effing time. It happened so often I couldn't believe other people weren't experiencing it too. It never happens to me any more. Why is that? And why did it happen so often when I was a child? What is that about? Why do I suddenly sound like Andy Rooney? Good lord.
So, if I believe in reincarnation, what else does that mean? I thought that made me a Buddhist. I have told people for years that I believe in the Goddess. I have had dreams about the Goddess, in which she comes to me and tells me I will never be alone, and so on. But I don't actually believe there is some Goddess somewhere in the sky or outer space somewhere protecting me. It's more that I believe we are all one. Like all the same energy connected molecules, and we will all just come back and come back over and over. Like that. But is there a higher power?
Will we always be people? Why would we be? When I say "we" are all connected, I mean that everything in the universe is connected, everything that is made of the same energy is connected. We could as easily be a cloud or a raindrop or a star or a piece of bugshit. Right? All the same. So why the memories?
What about Karma? Why do we have minds and memories and morals? This is too much to puzzle over in one day, particularly with a migraine. Ha ha! Threw you with that one, eh? Yes. This is one of those headache days in which I cannot take meds because I can take them only twice in a 7 day period. Two more days before I can take meds again. So, I am writing to take my mind off the pain. Now I will rest.
Please, if you have thoughts on these topics that you are willing to share, I'm interested.