Piles upon piles of golden shit

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: June 08, 2018

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Submitted: June 08, 2018



I'm entirely undecided whether life is like a pile of shit loaded with gold nuggets, or the shit and gold are inseparably the same? That seems to set up an essay of despair and hopelessness, but I assure you this is not the case. The analogy is merely a suitable device to help find happiness, as odd as that may sound I'm sticking with it.

If you're already jumping up and down, wanting to disagree with me, waiting to point to a bright rainbow picture of life, then don't bother. I see the beauty, I'm a delusional optimist, but I still recognize the shit. If you don't see any, then please pack your bags and bugger off. Maybe you can find a herd of unicorns somewhere willing to listen. If you're lucky, one will shit on you, and then you'll be allowed back.

Tainted decisions

My brain, unfortunately, treats everything as a risk-vs-reward endeavour: I could put my comfy pants on, but I might need to go in public; I'd really like a second scoop of delectable chocolate ice cream, but where would those calories end up, or I'd really like to say "hi" to the lady on the bus, but might the world instantly implode around me.  You can tell my perceived risks are sometimes overblown, but hey, it's not like I've figured out my brain yet either.

If the small things in life give me pause, just imagine what happens when faced with a capital B, Big decision. Is this job offer the right one for me? Does it make sense to buy this car?  Is ending a long-term relationship the right thing to do?

I don't like making stupid decisions, especially not Big stupid decisions. I weigh the good and the bad, and think about the future. But to be honest, I really don't know what I'm evaluating. Is there some kind of scoring mechanism? Can I really compare some inevitable fallout with the pleasure I'm deriving now? Who will be judging me, now, next month, or next year?

What the hell am I actually trying to find?

The analogies

This is what leads to my analogy, as a perspective on what life is.

If life is a pile of shit with gold nuggets in it, this implies there's some way to shovel through the bad and pull out the good bits. With enough work, with enough foresight, I can plan my tunnels accordingly and maximize my haul of happiness.

It's a view that points towards bad things being the strict result of poor planning or mistakes. It sets up a belief system that I have ultimate control, and my destiny, shit or gold, lies within my hands. Sure, there could be accidents, a tunnel could collapse, but if I built backups, it'd be only an inconvenience, not a tragedy.

All the while I could be looking at the people around me, shaking my head at their futile attempts to dive into the pile, grasping at random nuggets, while swallowing mouthfuls of excrement. I'll be completely unwilling to help, for fear of sullying my clothes with their crap.

Now, if I consider life instead to be a pile of golden shit the perspective changes a lot. There are no nuggets to be found, it's all both wonderful and terrible. No, that's not what I want to say. Rather, there will always be good things, and there will still be bad things. From this view neither of them are avoidable.

Of course, not all glitter comes equally, so perhaps there are more shiny areas than others. One job does appear more attractive than another, but they both still come with a heap of crap. I could quit my job and enjoy the freedoms of a freelancer, but that crappy guy demanding the rent would be continually chasing me. Do I stay near my family and be loved, or chase my dreams and risk loneliness?

From this view, it's a lot easier to sympathize with those around me. The hardship they are facing is not because they made a wrong choice, but because all options were ultimately digging through a mountain of crap. Their life isn't collapsing because they planned poorly, but just because that's what piles of shit tend to do. It's also much easier to extend a hand, knowing that I'm already covered in filth.

Are you still objecting to the idea that either way I'm talking about a pile of shit? Again, hapless optimist here, I see magnificence and revel in the experience. But the truth is we evaluate based on the crap. Adverse outcomes are the overwhelming deciding factor in how I make decisions. I tend not to fret about the good things. Thus, a pile of shit it is.


Is either analogy accurate? Can I avoid the shit, or is it an inexplicably linked aspect of life itself. Perhaps it's a combination, but I'm leaning heavily towards it being unavoidable. This is not to say life itself is shit, only that it's a fundamental part of it.

I'm going to hit both shiny and dull veins in my pile. With a bit of work, I can target the shinier ones, but it's foolish to think I can somehow side-step the crap entirely.

Knowing this I can probably stop fretting about my decisions so much. Regardless of what choices I make I'm going to face difficulties. Each crap moment I avoid will be replaced with another crappy potential. I will avoid stupid decisions, but there's no point in stacking endless worry onto my pile.

Life gave me a pile of golden shit and a small shovel. I guess I should enjoy digging.


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