The Mad Hatter

We chase these dreams
We run from these demons
In this grand illusion
This great game
That has been set before us

So many of us
Find all sorts of reasons
Causes and excuses
Why this is that
Why things are not where we want
Why we have been given a raw deal
Why the pieces or the rules
Are not fair and just

And yet how much of this game
Is not just played out in our mind
Exists only in the mind?

This is the age old question really
What Aristotle so very vehemently
Argued against in his teachings
That the world of Universals
The world of Forms
Is contingent on actuality
On reality and substance
Not the other way around

This very subtle difference
This very hint of change of worldview
Set in motion so very long ago
By Aristotle after Plato
Laid the groundwork in fact
For what can be looked upon
As the opposing two sides
Of the realists and the idealists
Which forms the basis
Of all metaphysical inquiry
Even today

Does the journey start and end in the mind?
Or is the mental landscape
Simply support for the real life we experience?
Which is more real?
The Ideas of life that pass through our minds
That form opinions
And shape our surroundings
Or the surroundings themselves
That are perceived through the senses
As the scientists would have us believe?

It begs the question
Of cognitive experience
A set of chemical and physical reactions?
Or the ground of reality
Is consciousness a real thing?
Or is it another illusion of the mind?

While these questions might appear
Too lofty and high browed for some
In the end we will no doubt be faced
At the very doorstep of death
When experience and the senses
Fold back upon themselves
Presented with this very same question
As to what is real and what is to be trusted

Dust to dust and ashes to ashes?
Does it all simply fade away?
Is there no hereafter?
Does the journey end
When the last breath is drawn?

Maybe there is no answer
Maybe these theoretical questions
Have no merit beyond intellectual gymnastics

And yet here we stand
Left alone with our thoughts and desires
And the world around us
Which appears at times to be against us

And we must shape these circumstances
Shape these relationships and these tools
And our physical and mental reality
With what we have and what we know
What we believe to be so

And from where does knowledge arise?
From this very same place
From the mind itself

The shaper of life
The former of things
The creator of ideas
The means to communicate them
The ground of civilized man

Leading to the very same question
About whether or not
Inquiry itself as a tool of man
Has its uses but also perhaps has a limit
A capacity to the help it can provide

After which it leads to madness

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