There’s been a phrase that I love, and I think I first saw it many years ago as a cartoon on one of my co-worker’s cubicle walls. The picture was a silly one of a guy lying down under his bed, with a cyclone of wreckage in the room. The caption was “Some people view their lives where the glass is half empty, some view their lives where the glass is half full. Steve drinks straight from the bottle.” The cartoon is meant to be silly and amusing, but in truth, that phrase has stuck with me for all these years, and I’ll tell you why.
I *HATE* the glass half empty/glass half full metaphor, because it always implies that you have to take the situation as it is. If it’s half empty, then you are a pessimist. If half full, then you are an optimist. My problem with the metaphor is that you have to accept the glass as something that doesn’t change. Like life, it’s to be dealt with and you have to choose how you want to look at it. Personally, I opt for a third option beyond pessimism and/or optimism. Call it “determinism”. My whole point is to say 'why do I have to “accept” a glass AT ALL?! Do I really want to take life based on what it gives me, doled out in a portion in a glass? NO! I’d prefer to take life head-on, thanks, and figure out my own way to deal with it'. While I believe in a Heavenly Father and a divinely resurrected son that is Jesus Christ, I do not believe that they gave me this life to plod on and just accept what comes my way. There’s not just one glass and one apportionment, there are countless glasses, or the way I want to consider it, there’s no glass at all. Life is a bottle, and the only thing that’s absolutely sure is that eventually that bottle will run out for me in this mortal life. At that time, I’ll set it down, and pick up another bottle on the far side of the veil, and life/existence/metaphysical energy/you name it will go on from there.
This, in my world view claiming to drink from the bottle isn’t a funny or silly punch line… it’s the whole point of why we are here :). The volume of the bottle varies, and the only time the bottle will be empty is when I draw my last breath on this Earth. Until then, ultimately every meaningful decision I will ever make, and thus the shape of my life, falls squarely into my sphere of influence. So grab your own bottle and join me. Optimism and pessimism are passé; they require that you accept the world as it is, and either be happy or sad about it. I’m going with determinism, thank you very much… now hand me that bottle (LOL!).
Follow-on: This is an article that is currently runing in the Mormon Times by Orson Scott Card called "Mormon Tribe Feels Like Home". I'll be writing more on this topic in the future, but I want to alert anyone who may find it interesting to read it now :).