Every now and then I like to think out loud. Sometimes in life things happen and it makes us realize something about the way we see the world! Not many in this bubble called “life” imagines they could die at any minute. The thought is quite the reverse: in that most believe that the world can be controlled, risk eliminated, and fate mastered. Grades, admissions, love, relationships, credentials—the steady, predictable climb up the ladder of professional success—that’s the idea. We’re going to live a long time, and the world is not going to take us by surprise.
Has there ever been another group of people, in all of human history, that’s possessed that kind of attitude in reference to the bubble of life called the American Dream? There is reasoning for such notions… our enormous modern life expectancy, our inconceivable prosperity, our overwhelming military power, and last but not least our individual ego. I can’t help but to wonder about its spiritual perils. A professor once stated “it was easy for Nietzsche or Sartre to do without God in their “bubble of life”, because they had so much else to sustain them. ( comfort is always both enjoyable and dangerous)” This comment is not to say we need to let the little people have their God. It is only to remind us—to remind myself, which I need to do on a regular basis—that we live in a “bubble,” and that most people (in the world, in history, even in our own country) are on the outside. And also to wonder what happens when personal bubbles start to burst? As individuals how equipped are we to handle the bubble of life when all that is secure fails?
Heavy thoughts for a Saturday morning at the last day of a Tuba Euphonium conference, no doubt, but then again that’s Rawtuba style, for a long time, the “bubble of life,” also known as the American Dream has lived a very sheltered existence for a very long time, especially compared to the vast majority of the population of the Earth. To some extent, there’s been an sense of invincibility that has been created and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of detachment from the rest of the world. Everyone is mending their own backyard not understanding that the next door neighbors might have something of value to show and teach us if we learned to stepped outside our own bubble of life. For better or worse, many of us are living inside of a bubble and we have no idea how fortunate we really are to be where we are.
It also raises the question of what would happen if this bubble of life bursts for too many individuals and the sheltered life one has been living, where security is guaranteed, so many feel as though they can do what they want with out consequences. Make no mistake about it – All behavior has consequences. To me we have developed a mentality of life and culture that lacks respect for each other and as a result we are less united and more divided. We live a sheltered existence, and not only don’t we realize it, but most of us can’t even contemplate…that all that we are, and all that we have might go away some day!