Monday, April 8, 2013

finding the key

Wolves and other canines will mark their territory by urinating. Whether as a courtesy or challenge, the scent marks the arena in which the wolf chooses to live and breed and, perhaps, find some safety: This is my home, my space, my place of definition.

Are people so much different, pissing here and there with opinion and belief and judgment, with religion or philosophy, with emotion and intellect, with occupation or friendship? This is my home, my space, my place of definition.

And it's pretty serious stuff. If you don't believe it, just ask a wolf or human being -- just challenge or threaten my home, my space, my place of definition. It can turn into quite a pissing contest.

Not to recognize this is socially stupid.

But recognizing it has its own dangers.

Much as it might take its territory seriously, a wolf cannot afford to remain within its demarcated territory. Pissing is not enough. In order to nourish itself and its pups, the wolf must travel outside its home in order to live and thrive. Its sustenance lies beyond its borders, beyond its carefully-laid definitions. Wolves and people instinctively know this: What is known, asserted and defined mandates what is unknown, unencompassed, and uncertain.

This doesn't seem to bother wolves, but it certainly can bother human beings. If what is known and defined and safe mandates what is unknown and undefined and unsafe, then how safe could could living a piss-defined world be? Asserting certainties and definitions in an effort to be safe and happy nourishes a built-in uncertainty ... a man's gotta live, right?

So every rock-solid certainty, every much-beloved definition, every drop of metaphorical urine not only provides a cozy home and a social security, it also carries with it an ipso-facto uncertainty... the very opposite of the security and warmth that was hoped for when the definition was created in the first place.

I guess a nourishing life depends on some recognition that whatever the comforts of explanation or meaning or belief and no matter how much anyone might set pissing-contest boundaries, certainties and assumptions are bound to instill uncertainty and doubt.

Uncertainty and doubt are not very peaceful.

Perhaps pissing is not the answer. Perhaps casting a wary eye on accrued territory and certainty is worth the price of admission. It may not be clear at first what would assure peace but the alternative is frequently quite concrete ... as when a wolf comes around and bites you on the ass.

Maybe the the key to defeating uncertainty is to stop being certain.

Maybe the key to finding a sound definition is to stop defining.

Maybe the key to being at home is to stop locking the door.

Whatever the key is, no one likes getting bitten on the ass.

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