Rubble, Stubble, and Trouble

Analysis of the three stages of consciousness humans experience

I awoke in this strange world where I wasn’t my complete self. I was aware again of having three distinct personalities. My lifetime is spent in three very different mental states or phases, and I could never understand exactly what happened as I shifted from one phase to another.

I gave names to these personalities for reasons I will explain later. They each took over my thinking processes and left me wondering who I really was. Just when I thought I knew, another phase would initiate a mental action to disturb my confidence and raise doubts about everything. Each personality seems to dwell in a period of time: past, present, or future. The sum of the three represents a continuum of this weird existence I now call my life. I wonder if I can escape this puzzling world. I frankly don’t know!

I call the three personalities: Rubble, Stubble, and Trouble. It was simpler to give them unique names that pictured their individual roles. “Rubble” is the person I dream I am at nightfall who stirs around in the detritus of the events of a variety of past lives and times I can’t exactly recall. There I seem to have a familiarity with people I have come in contact with in other phases, other places, and other activities. Yet, for some reason when I leave this phase, I suspect that none of what I vaguely remember from those nightly experiences is “real.” Nor does it seem pertinent to the next phase.

I ponder what I am to make of all these bizarre, unconscious trips to the garbage dump of my past. The rubble of thousands, perhaps, millions, of events that I might have participated in during my other prior “lives.”

It is surprising how much similarity I find in what transpires in these nocturnal dreams with what happens in my daytime phase. Still the differences are so extraordinary that I can’t convince myself that I possess the same mind that thinks both ways. Sometimes bizarre behavior very “unacceptable” to my daytime mores takes place, and I don’t recognize myself at all.

However, I strongly feel that I am taking part in that episode that flashes before my “mind’s eye.” I am frightened, amused, motivated, and turned on by the images I process. Sometimes I feel that there is someone sending me a foreign language message to be interpreted or an educational instruction to be followed. On occasion, I sense some elevating inspiration to be ingested or some idea to be digested and subsequently described. Most of these images that I receive I forget the next day. Only a very few arouse my further consideration and serious contemplation.

The second personality I call “Stubble” because when I awake in this phase I always need a shave. Then, too, in this seemingly more conscious phase of these three states I see the stubble remnants of so many other people’s lives. The sad evidence of lives truncated by some very unfortunate experience or by their owner’s propensity to cut themselves off from reality due to their perverse irrationality. Like stubble left after a harvest, they stand in the field waiting to be ploughed under for the renewal process they dread but expect.

The harvest scene is so representative because in an instant a plant is altered significantly. The healthiest grain plants stand tall, basking in the glorious sunshine unaware of the approaching scythes and mechanized combines. Regardless of the success of the individual plant in producing a copious amount of fruit, it is reduced to stubble. Its struggle to produce in spite of the extremes in the conditions it weathers achieves or receives the same reward as that of its lesser productive neighbors. Not anyone survives the notorious “Grim Reaper!”

In this phase my mind receives many different messages. There seems to be a definite outline of mores to be followed, a purpose to be accomplished, and a path to be explored. Where there is no continuity nor chronological tracking possible in the “nighttime” images, the “daytime” phase is particularly driven by a time arrow, from yesterday to today to tomorrow.

This creates an irresistible cause and effect impression on my memory, correctly or incorrectly perceived. In the Rubble phase, I experience no cause and effect consequences, although I sometimes find myself denying the consequences of what is happening in my nighttime reveries. My deeper daylight beliefs seem to intervene, trying to resist the unnerving events supposedly taking place at night. Then all of a sudden I am no longer in the Rubble phase.

This may happen several times a night. Yet, I may go back to the same bewildering scenario in the next Rubble interlude. Some minor continuity then is perceived. Recurring scenes or themes are sometimes “revisited.” Such nightmares can be interrupted by weeks without encountering similar terrifying images or distressing subjects.

The Stubble phase is the most challenging emotionally. I strive to become accustomed to the demands of dealing with all the rules, the rulers, and the subjects trying to respect them both. To avoid all the negative consequences of deliberate or innocent disobedience, I find myself stressed by the confusion and lack of clarity created by these rulers and their constantly changing rules. There seems to be a deliberate ambiguous ambivalence on the part of the rulers as reflected in all the “should do” rules that are promulgated.

It is extremely frustrating to try to reconcile with mere human rationality and common sense just what I am supposed to accomplish for others and for myself by all the exhausting effort required. I welcome the tired feeling at the end of a day which usually leads me to nod off into the Rubble phase. There I somehow receive a tranquilizing diversion that leaves me ready to face another daytime ramble in the Stubble world.

The third personality I call “Trouble.” It is a seemingly imaginary state that is allied to the future. It is a daydreaming phase that takes possession of my mind when I am bored with the events of the Stubble day. It can be the most sweeping and pleasurable phase. I can “travel” to places I’ve never been and back and forth in time. I can wish for anything and extrapolate the sweet and delightful consequences of actually “having” it. (Of course, I usually ignore all the frightful and negative consequences.)

But this phase is really “trouble.” It detracts from the progress I might make in the Stubble phase. It presents fantasies that are “unreal.” It lets me indulge my evil appetites when I should know better. Worst of all, when my mind is visiting the Trouble phase, I am completely irrational and oblivious to the rules of the Stubble phase. I can fall in love with anyone, become a ruler myself (and retaliate), or possess whatever grabs my fancy. I can even believe that I am intelligent, resourceful, and compassionate, when I am none of the above. This creates a danger that I might subsequently get myself into trouble, which is why I gave this phase its name.

In this semi-conscious phase I sense that I am in control. Obstacles are less concrete and internal objections less audible. The wisdom of ancient sages is unobtrusive, frightening warnings are not posted, and the strident voices of my parents are almost stifled. There is little there to restrain me or haul me back from the brink of certain disaster.

My foolish enthusiasm stimulates my euphoria until, perchance, my latent timidity takes over and returns me to the reality of the Stubble world. But I won’t stay there if I am bored and unhappy. I must “think” or “dream” my way out of there. It’s my only chance. Only in the Trouble phase, do I feel alone, empowered to contemplate how to escape. Only when I concentrate on my “options” will I be able to discover what the best path is.

Only when I give up condescending to the rulers and their rules in the Stubble world will I have a chance to improve my three phase “life.” But there’s a great risk that includes possible oblivion. Besides, I have rarely found the potential rewards sufficiently promising to take the first step to advance beyond the present Stubble field.

Right now I am working in the Stubble world using my troubled mind as I write. I go here often to force myself to focus on the facts and the many hypotheses about this misunderstood three-headed life. I am seriously trying to assemble the information I glean primarily from the printed word to form a theory about how I ended up here and why. The scientists have no answers, the mystics have no facts, and almost everybody refuses to talk seriously about what’s next.

The only future fact I know is that I will not dwell here for long once I actually become stubble. Afterward, I will either be burned or plowed under, whichever is cheapest-for stubble refuse is worthless. What happens to my three personalities is anyone’s speculation. I hope that the three would be united into one conscious entity, but I am not sure that any “one” of me ever existed.

A hundred years from now, I will be forgotten just as thousands of my ancestors are forgotten by me. They struggled mightily during their lifetimes to survive, advance themselves, care for their offspring, and earn a place in the boat that crosses the River Styx to a hopefully better life. Maybe they will be there on the other side of that river waiting for me to catch that famous ferry.

Meanwhile Rubble and Stubble and Trouble are detaining me with their constant tugging at my sleeve. They want me to follow them instead and wander off in their diversionary worlds. I am so disposed because I fear doing nothing. I still haven’t figured out any other escape route. Yet, in quiet times when my work is put aside and all the chores of Stubble life are behind me, I sit down here listening to the random chatter of the keys on my PC keyboard and drift off into the reverie of troubling thoughts – composing musings that attempt to project the future and to answer the tough questions about our presumed existence and its unrevealed potentiality.

I am lost again in a hall of mirrors, recognizing only a few details of my own lined and stubble face. Maybe it is time to shave and let what’s going to happen today proceed. Off in the distance I hear the faint rumble of huge combines bearing down on this unharvested field of ripe grain.

Be quick, dear reapers!

Chic Hollis is a longtime drummer and motorcyclist, who served in the US Air Force in North Africa. Married 4 times with 5 children born in 5 different countries on four continents, Chic is a politically independent citizen of the world interested in helping Americans understand the reality that is life overseas where many intelligent, educated, and industrious people aren’t as privileged as we are in the US. He studied Latin, Greek, Russian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German and ran several large companies. Sadly, Chic Has left this planet and we miss him very much, but we are very pleased to display his amazing writing works.