Friday, October 21, 2016


The temperature outside is plus three degrees with rain showers.  This is another no-busking day, another day of writing about busking and about life.  Though, dear reader, I know that for me busking with my twelve-string and harpoon is life, but for others life has, just a tad, more meaning.

To be able to explain our life on Earth is a powerful human need, and this need manifests itself in our adhesion mainly to two areas:  religion and philosophy, religion being divine and philosophy being its doppelganger).

Religion is usually regarded as a composed set of morals, rules, and ethics that serve to guide believers in their everyday living; whereas Philosophy, the evil sibling to religion, is a topic tackler, searching for truths and knowledge and the meaning of life.  Religion involves the supernatural and other superstitions; Philosophy has a belief only in the natural.  Religion has rituals; Philosophy has randomness. 

Religion has LEADERS; Philosophy has THINKERS.

To make sense of our existence, each of us in our addlepated manner, tends to create a narrative for our own position on the planet, a value of our own life.  These narratives, designed to provide personal harmony in either religion or philosophy, instead often provide a cognitive and complicated dissonance.

All of our narratives, I believe, are based upon just a few kindergarten questions:
Who am I?  Where do I come from?  Where am I going?  What is the meaning of life?

Though the questions are kindergarten simple, the answers are complex.

  • Who am I?

I am a busker; I am a hypnotherapist; I am a program coordinator; I am a university instructor. 
As a busker I label myself a social entrepreneur, since most of my local busking take is to provide pro bono services to the SCHIZOPHRENIA SOCIETY OF SASKATCHEWAN (SSS).  In seasons past, I used to pay the sign whatever the minimum wage.   For example, the minimum wage used to be $10.50 per hour, and so if I busked for one hour, $10.50 of the proceeds used to be donated to the SSS.  These past seasons I’ve designed a different formula for support.  In the busking seasons of late I’ve planned on scheduling pro bono services for clients referred by the SCHIZOPHRENIA SOCIETY.  For me, this has been a much simpler calculation and certainly more beneficial to the consumers.

(I should mention, too, that I offer my guitar to the SSS in other ways, strumming on stage for the benefit CHAMPIONS FOR MENTAL HEALTH $75 dollar-a-plate Conexus Arts Centre fundraiser keynotes, CLARA HUGHES and SHELDON KENNEDY, being just two examples.)
Who am I on a grander scale would indicate that I am just one of seven billion beings presently inhabiting the planet.   Such an answer certainly reduces the importance of my self-aggrandizement of being a busker with a social conscience.  As one human being inhabiting the planet, I’ve completed my procreation duty of continuing my species.  I have three children.

  • Where do I come from?

I am the son of Jack Child and Marlene Sanders, who split when I was six years old.  I was raised by my grandparents – my sister was raised by my mom.   I knew my parents; I’ve met their parents; I’ve met most of their siblings; I’ve got the family re-union-at-funeral photographs to prove it.

Where do I come from on the grander scale is a search for how humans happen to be walking the face of the Earth.  According to the Christian Bible (Christianity being the most popular religion on the planet), we came from Adam and Eve who frolicked two (pun intended) much in the Garden of Eden.  According to humanist scientist, Loren Eiseley (The Immense Journey), we began as all things began – a snout in the ooze of unnoticed swamps, in the darkness of eclipsed moons, with a strangled gasping for air.  According to astronomer, Carl Sagan (Cosmos), the Cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be.  Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us – there is tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height.  We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.

  • Where am I going? 

Most of us fear dying, and yet that is where all of us are going.  Only astronauts get off this planet alive.  Do I know where I am going – of course not!  I only know that wherever it is, I hope to get there before my children do.  Any thought otherwise makes me sad.

Christian belief dictates that we are going to either Heaven or Hell.  We get to pass through the gates of Heaven if we have been good on Earth, serving our neighbours while spreading the word of Jesus.  We get the wrath of eternal fire and brimstone if we behave as bad asses.

Scientists (and some religions) believe that after we die, our personal energy dissipates elsewhere on the earth, transferring to either to the further development of floral or fauna.
I’m thinking Carl Sagan, if he were here for the discussion, could be convinced that when the sun, our nearest star (93 million miles from here), finally fades (five billion years from now) into nothingness, we humans, will have been long gone.

This begs another question:  To answer the previous questions, we rely mostly on faith.  Our scientists have scoured the planet for details and hints, but we are still left with conjecture framed within religions and philosophies.  Since this is the case, then could we not have arrived on our Earth, from beings in a faraway galaxy, whose sun, too, happened to burn out?

And this begets yet another question, one of creation.  I get it that we could have come from a god who can create life.  I can create life; I’ve three kids to prove it.  However, most of the gods in most of the religions have that super ability to grant everlasting life.  That power I do not have.  That power I do not want.  We are living longer, but will there eventually be a day when we can choose to live forever?

And the last question:   

  • What is the meaning of life?

According to Jaggi Vasudev (Sadhguru), most of us are searching for solace, security, and fulfillment of our desires, thus our lives merely being expressions of greed and fear.  I’ve heard Sadhguru state that our personal lives have no meaning, and to think thusly, is pure arrogance. And according to Sadhguru, to live and operate in the world, you may have to identify with something.  Play with your identifications – don’t let them rule you.

Existentialists insist there is no real one meaning to any of this, and to survive positively in the world, we must be Kapellmeisters, creating our own meanings, attaching to life our own purposes, and then living our lives accordingly.

Hedonists believe that pleasure is the only good, and that the pursuit of pleasure is our only purpose.  According to the Christian bible (Hebrew), sin is pleasure only for a season, the understandings of our design and existence being liminal, an omniscient god watching over the master plan.

And what do I know and believe?

We are all living in a shadow suite, the mysteries of life being locked up in archetypal and unconscious thought, all due to our fear and loathing of death.  Each of us is delicately choosing to maxixe upon this blue orb ever spinning through the universe, in the hope of happy dancing for the rest of our days.

Meanwhile, back at the busking ranch … My best(est) friend asked me if my guitar and didgeridoo busking was a religion or a philosophy.  (Factoid: Her question prompted the idea for this blog entry.)

I’m thinking my guitar busking is, indeed, my religion because … I follow a certain ritual and abide by the same self-prescribed rules on each and every buskspot.  So far over the years, this religious adherence to my self-induced guitar busking rules has served me very well.  Genesis 1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the guitar … need I go on?

And I’m thinking my didgeridoo busking represents a certain personal philosophy.  Slinging a didgeridoo connotes to my consumers that I’m some kind of Eastern guru – slinging a didge makes me appear more cerebral than what I really am.  Droning from my didge gives my public the songs of the earth  … is there anything more natural than that?

Dear readers, I know only one thing for certain:
The temperature outside is three degrees with rain showers.  This is another no-busking day, another day of writing about busking and about life.  Though, dear reader, I know that for me busking with my twelve-string and harpoon is life, but for others life has, just a tad, more meaning.

Those marching in my CHAUCERIAN PARADE this week:



DAN INNES is the coordinator of the OPEN MIC performances at the SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN INDEPENDENT LIVING CENTRE (SSILC).   Dan is a gifted rapper who, of course, goes on stage at his own shows.


Note the SSILC sign stage left.   
Next OPEN MIC at the SSILC is NOVEMBER 18TH at 2220 Albert Street, Regina SK.

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