What Waves Are You Lost in?

Posted on April 29, 2011 by


Waves are something in the English language we get “caught up” and “lost” in.

Perhaps more poignant, 2 months removed from the tsunami in Japan, just 2 months ago.

Lost in “waves of gang violence.”

Caught up in a “wave of misunderstanding.”

Lost in a “wave” of this “sea” of immigrants.

The implication in this object of “waves” is that you as an individual have little agency and control to determine a trajectory.  Instead, these external forces embodied in the form of “waves” exert the majority of the agency and are determining your trajectory at a moment in time.

When you’re caught up and or lost in a “wave”, you’re just trying to “get through”, “stay alive”, “survive” the waves.

However because it’s put into words, I tended to think I’m above waves.  I tend to believe that waves can eventually be overcome.

I thought about the concept of waves again this afternoon while doing my rounds of bodily habitus training at Chase St. Park in the Spring San Fernando Valley heat.

I’d just finished my round of speeding on the sidewalks.  It’s called “running” to most people, but I think I hate calling it that and being associated with the identity of being a “runner” here or being part of what I think is an exercise culture here in 1st world America.

After sidewalk-speeding, I was making sure I could climb, hold myself up with my arms.  Again, “arm exercises” to most people.

I felt like I was just pushing my body to the limits.  Could I climb, pull up, and push myself up anymore?   In this valley heat?

I was trying my damndest to push through and complete the repetitions I’d set out to do.

But I felt caught up in my own “wave.”  “Waves” of bodily fatigue.

My bodily fatigue was this external force exerting this control over my desire to push through and complete my repetitions.  At that moment of my own weakness, I realized the emotional, physical power it would take to overcome  objects commonly referred to as  “waves.”  I gained a respect for “waves.”

I don’t know that I’ve been caught up in too many waves, but I do see waves that people are caught up in.

I realized that sometimes I have a position of privilege to step out of the deluges brought on by “waves.”  I am not entrenched in a life of hardships (at the moment).  I do have pretty good access to the technologies and symbols of the burgeoisie that I can occasionally use to curry social acceptance if not social favor.  It’s easy for me as this dude partially still supported emotionally and financially by his parents to tell some youth to simply “get out” of the waves of gang violence or “be strong” amidst their own issues.  I feel that with such privileges afforded me, I so badly want to pull and protect people from their own “waves.”

But even with that desire, these past few months, I myself have to admit.  I’ve been lost in waves;  that of  “catching up” with schoolwork, completing some assignments in such a haphazard half-baked way that reminded me of high school.  I’ve been lost in waves of trying to make things happen for my very big project, my thesis.  I’ve been lost in waves of emotional highs and lows with bouts of loneliness interplaying with bouts of extreme sociality.

Being lost in my own waves, I feel like I’ve ignored lots of people I could’ve connected with, lots of things I could’ve done.  Caught up in my waves of importance.  The need to move up in my career which generates this wave of work to complete, the need to be in a position to acquire technologies and symbols later on for purposes of social establishment.

This priority supercedes doing simple things such as taking more time to spend with family, godsister, helping out in whatever way I can for Japan, helping a mute homeless person on the Metro get whatever they need.

If as this individual who is deeply concerned with social issues who could do jackshit to help anyone, I just wonder how anyone is going to help anyone.  While communication technologies are more important than ever, I think there’s an increasing disconnectivity in our grounded experience as human beings that I observe at Metro stations, schools.  I watch people spend hours in the same bus not saying a word or communicating that they’re listening or watching each other.  I watch people turn away or pretend to ignore a beggar.

It’s not like any of this is new.  I think people are caught up in similar “waves” to mine.  The waves of capitalism.  The wave of putting ourselves into positions to acquire technologies and symbols that may convenience us and make us feel good temporarily.

There’s a lot of evolving we could do as a society, a culture, if our priorities are primarily towards doing things to put ourselves in positions to acquire social technologies and symbols that may convenience us and make us feel good temporarily.  It seems like the technologies and symbols do their thing to temporarily remove us from our “waves.”

State of Stop

As I was struggling with my bodily disposition at the playground, I also realized that I had the option of stopping whatever I was doing, at least for a moment.

I realized:  the “waves” are all real in that they implicate and affect my social standing and I do need to keep doing things to accomodate, but I wasn’t actually being taken by any “physical wave.”  I could have complete amnesia the next day and completely forget that I have school to go to, Metro trains to ride, routes to bike, and suddenly those “waves” wouldn’t exist anymore.  This would completely “stop” the wave.

I don’t quite want a complete amnesia, but perhaps temporary ones.  Ones that don’t hinder my own momentum against a wave.

“Waves” and their ability to make someone “get caught” or lost seems to thrive on the speed at which it rushes an individual and the fact that the individual is usually a free-flowing, relatively small object.  A wave can only crash into a big ass boulder, this massive inert object.

That big ass boulder is in a perpetual state of stop and represents a space of stop.  I wonder if it would be advantageous for a society caught in waves to create more of these metaphorical boulders that represent this state of stop or slowness, things that would temporarily wick off these waves.