Saturday, March 20, 2010

no other choice

Upon hearing that a particular woman had said, "I accept the universe," the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw responded tartly, "She damned well better!"

On the one hand, we can understand the longing of the woman's remark -- to accept and be at peace with life as it comes along. On the other hand, we can recognize the appropriateness of Shaw's observation ... what other choice is there? ... life comes along irrespective of our smarmy, mooning longings or endless efforts.

There is no choice. But this doesn't mean all of us can't wriggle like a worm on Shaw's clearly-stated hook. Wriggling and writhing, issuing philosophies and religions, spouting "love" and "freedom" and "compassion" and "joy" ... wriggle-and-writhe, wriggle-and-writhe...and still, there is no choice.

Those with a canny wit may feel a smug satisfaction in Shaw's popping of an air-head assertion -- it certainly is spot-on -- but the question remains unanswered: How is anyone to meet and greet and be at peace with the fact that there-is-no-choice?

So on the one hand there is an assertion that hopes to find peace by out-nicing life's vagaries. And on the other, there is a razor-sharp, 'realistic' assessment of the facts. Wriggle-and-writhe, wriggle-and-writhe.

If we can't out-think life and can't out-emote life and still there is no peace, what's the option? Is peace just some illiterate illusion, some pie-in-the-sky weaving by religion or philosophy or other gyration? Life requires no improvements and yet we long to improve things. It's human stuff.

The option is that there is no option. The only choice is that there is no choice. I'm not talking about determinist drivel. Look around, see if it's true. Life comes along and ... what other choice is there?

For my money, attention and responsibility are very good tools. Whining, whether elevated or otherwise, won't cut it. Wit won't cut it. But attention and responsibility -- and yes, sorry, it does require some effort -- points the way to an ease that requires no smarm and cannot be outwitted by wit.

Since emotion and intellect are habits of long standing, of course we will fall flat on our faces from time to time ... slip back into old desires to 'improve' or old control-freak bits of intellect. But with patience, attention and responsibility cut through old habits and make them less necessary.

Attention and responsibility are necessary ... right up until the moment when they too are no longer necessary.

Is there some reason to get your tail in a twist about a matter in which there is no other choice?

No other choice.


Isn't that easier?

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