Should Versus Is

The calendar tells me today is the Ides Of March.  It’s the middle of the month.  The word root of the word Ides is Idus.  Ides is defined as the half-division.  The Ides of March was a particularly festive day in honor of the God Mars.

Most famously, drama students associate the Ides of March with Shakespeare’s famous play, “Julius Caesar”.  We remember when the fortune teller warns Caesar to “beware the Ides of March”.  There was conflict between what Caesar believed should exist in the governance of Rome and what really was the reality of the Roman power structure.  It was in the clash of what should and what is where Julius Caesar was assassinated.

It’s interesting that Caesar was murdered when the month was half expired.  A person could argue that Caesar’s ambitions as to what he believed “should” become Roman politics was half expired, too.  His ideal collided with what was.  He had a fatal encounter with “should versus is”.

We have our own regular encounters of should versus is in our day to day lives.  We have ideas about how life should unfold.  Our family life should be pleasant and nurturing with totally harmonious relationships.  Our work life should be fulfilling, rewarding and generously profitable.  Our free time should be just as the name implies, “free”.  We should be free to engage in fun, pleasant activities and to find entertaining ways in which to enjoy ourselves.

Mostly, we have some major disconnects in our family, work and recreational lives.  There is often discord and conflict in our family relationships.  Our work life can often be routine, unrewarding drudgery that results in a paycheck that barely covers our expenses.  Our recreational time turns out to be of very short duration.  We find ourselves taking care of laundry, house cleaning, yard maintenance, errand running and miscellaneous activities.  Actual, refreshing, creative time is scarce or non-existant.  Should has little or no relationship to what is.

In our mind, we believe there should be no unpleasant (to us) minority groups with whom to contend.  People who harbor political views in opposition to ours should be rare or should convert to our way of thinking.  We think that everybody on earth should be christian or muslim or whatever.  We think there should be no hunger nor poverty nor illness. What we see as what is, turns out to be quite different. 

We only need to pay attention to current events in order to know the differences between what should be in the world versus what is in the world.

This conflict between what we believe should be and what we know as reality collides within our mind and can cause unhappiness.  We might try to salve that unhappiness by proselytizing our religion or politics.  We might become nihlistic.  We might resort to escape into entertainment or chemical abuse.  The unhappiness manifests as these activities.  It is unhappiness and conflict all the same.

We find ourselves distracted.  In order to sort out the utopian “should” from the actual “is”, we need to take some time to become undistracted.  To aggressively pursue what should be, often turns out to be destructive.  To convert people to what you believe “should” be regarding religion, politics, economic structure and so forth is usually counterproductive in regards to peace and harmony.  Such activity has historically resulted in social injustice and warfare.

Mindful acceptance of what is, is the alternative.  Each of us has that job to do.  We can entrust ourselves to carefully examine and explore what “is” in our lives.  We are on a journey through what is actually here and now.  Why deal with all the shoulds when we have plenty of what is, with which to contend?


The Blue Jay of Happiness wishes you a festive Ides of March.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Meanderings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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