As you can see from this previously posted photo, the building was in quite a ramshackle state when I began the project: broken windows, a rickety door, non-existent plaster, deteriorating brick work, and a leaky roof to boot.
This proved to be a far more costly option (and a seemingly pointless one at that because the building will not be heated in any meaningful way in the future), but I feel the extra expense will be worth it, both for aesthetic and practical reasons. From a practical perspective, it is far easier to 'straighten' out wayward walls with polystyrene than with plaster. In addition to this, the polystyrene will not crumble from the brick the way plaster might (at least not with the silicon-based 'plaster' I will eventually apply to the exterior of the building). In this sense, the outer shell will be far more durable and weather-resistant. Not only that, but it will be far more aesthetically-pleasing as well. Yeah, I know this is just a chicken coop, but since I'm going to have to look at it every day for the rest of my life, I want to ensure it becomes somewhat pleasant to look at.
Anyway, I finished putting up the foam and the light plaster coat yesterday, which means I am at about the midway point of the project; otherwise known as the work in progress stage.
As I've been renovating the coop, I've been thinking a lot about the nature of mortal life as a work in progress and about how the notion of progression only becomes meaningful beyond the scope of a materialist worldview. Materialists lay great emphasis on the importance of progress, development, and improvement, but I have yet to encounter a convincing argument as to why. Sure there's power and excellence and evolution and pleasure and the life force and all of that, but none it satisfactorily provides a sound reason for the why. Why should we aim to develop or improve? What sort of development or improvement is truly meaningful?
The why of a work in progress only makes sense if one believes in the spiritual - in transcendence and immanence. The why of a work in progress only becomes evident if one views this mortal life as a segment of a long, extended journey of learning toward a worthy spiritual objective.
People have essentially lost the understanding that we are, at the core, spiritual works in progress, and that our brief time in this world is a crucial part of that progression. Most moderns fervently work on materially improving and developing themselves, which is a noble thing in itself, but without the proper spiritual understanding, purely material improvements and developments end up being nothing more than stillborn babies. In other words, a great deal of time, effort, and sacrifice is invested into material goals; but the neglect of the spiritual basically renders these goals lifeless when they are finally achieved.
When I began working on my chicken coop, I imagined what it must have looked it like when it was originally constructed. I visualized the old owners putting it together, working on it diligently, and marveling at it with satisfaction when they completed it. It must have been a great little building, and it must have served the previous owners well for decades. Yet if the people who originally built the coop did so purely out of materialist motivations, whatever benefit they received from it through the years remained firmly rooted in the material; and when they died, they could not take the fruit of their labor with them. As for the fruit itself, it feel into a state of slow decay and would have eventually collapsed if no one else came along to repair and restore it.
As I look back over what I have written thus far in this I sense I am entering the realm of the ridiculous as I wax philosophically over the spiritual implications of the most banal of objects - a chicken coop - but I am building up to a larger point, albeit it in a somewhat unfocused and meandering fashion. This larger point remains affixed to the inconvenient why for which materialists can provide nothing but flimsy explanations. My chicken coop project certainly has no pressing material objectives. I do not plan on purchasing chickens in the near future; nor do I require extra storage space outside the house. In reality, I didn't really need to fix up the old building at all, not even for aesthetic reasons because very few people outside my family ever set foot into the yard. Hence, the why for my renovation project must have been rooted in something beyond material concerns.
I often follow the same line of thinking when contemplating my writing on this blog. I initially launched this space as part of a rather lame, poorly thought-out (and even more poorly executed) effort to bring attention to the novel I wrote eight years ago. Needless to say, I succeeded in garnering practically no attention for the book. Consequently, I could see no real or practical reason to maintain a blog; and I more or less didn't for the better part of four or five years. Simply put, I could see no justifiable why for the blog.
Nevertheless, about two years ago I experienced a sudden and inexplicable inspiration to begin blogging on a regular basis. Unlike my initial attempts so many years ago, my chief motivations for blogging were not promotion or marketing, but rather merely thinking aloud and sharing ideas, mostly about spiritual matters. I still occasionally published promotional-type posts at the beginning of this second blogging attempt, but as the months passed by, these dissipated. Instead I wrote about topics I held to be important; fittingly enough, most of these topics tended to touch upon that inconvenient but crucial why.
I don't know where I found or continue to find the audacity to blog about spiritual matters. I am anything but a wild-eyed mystic. Conversely, I hold no official, recognized qualifications in the field. As is the case with most things in my life, I would say my spiritual expertise is unremarkable. In other words, I'm just a regular guy scribbling thoughts in an effort to remain focused on the why, partly because I believe the word why should be the driving motivation for mortal life, and partly because so few others appear to share this belief.
Like the chicken coop, the why of this blog is not fueled by material considerations. Yes, I advertise my book on the site, but otherwise I do not seek nor do I derive material compensation for my writing here. I don't maintain a paysite or ask for tips or seek monthly subscription fees of any sort. I am not saying this out of the need to virtue signal, and I am not taking a swipe at bloggers who do seek money from their readers. I am merely pointing out that I do not harbor any incentive to make money from this blog. Nor am I particularly interested in becoming 'famous.' If money and fame were my driving ambitions, I would spend my time writing cheap porn novels for the Amazon market or crafting daily blog posts about Donald Trump, the evil democrats, or Pewdiepie or something.
In essence, this blog is part of the work in progress that is my mortal life. As is the case with all works in progress, the clarity of why needs to be maintained to ensure completion. Without this clarity, the work may stop progressing with the proper focus in mind. At worst, the project may be abandoned altogether. A big part of this work in progress involves thinking aloud and sharing ideas with that small, scattered collection of others I have been fortunate enough to encounter; those individuals - readers and bloggers alike - who also keep their minds and souls firmly focused on why. For lack of a better expression, I would refer to this as 'spiritual commerce' - the non-financial acquiring, selling, and sharing of spiritual 'goods' for the benefit of all works in progress. In this sense, my obscure little blog plays a key role in the spiritual marketplace (at least for me).
And this, above all else, is what keeps me blogging - even when the interest in doing so wanes, as it has these past few weeks. You see, like the chicken coop I'm currently renovating, I won't be able to take my blog with me when my work in this mortal life ends - but I believe I will be able to take all the learning, knowledge, communication, love, and discovery I experienced in maintaining this blog with me, and that all of this will serve me well once my work in progress here reaches its eventual end.
And it also helps bury that pesky why, once and for all.