Saturday, June 22, 2013
going to the edge of things
Just some milk-sop, whiney mumblings....
Dwindling energies are a part of old age. Of course, that will never happen to you, but the rest of us are differently situated: Energies dwindle.
And with that dwindling, there is a certain crabbiness that springs up when others suggest or sometimes demand that that dwindled energy be brought to bear: Voting Republican is a fool's errand ... listen to me and let me convince you! There are improvements that can be made in your life and mine ... listen to me and let me convince you! Believe what I believe and then ... and then... well, we can be friends and there is something convincing about friendship so then both you and I can buttress our beliefs and feel better and more convinced and more at peace.
It's all cozy and companionable, but it doesn't work, and nowhere is that so apparent as in old age when energies dwindle.
Where once bike riding or religious conviction or getting a Ph.D. or a soldier's firefight represented the far reaches of what might be possible in life -- something new and unusual and attractive and as yet untried ... where once a warming belief was brought to bear because inexperience and a fear of being alone seemed to compel it ... now, like it or lump it, the energies have dwindled.
There really is something to be said, in my book, for going to the edges of things, for picking up one gauntlet or another, for meeting the challenge, for risking defeat in pursuit of success, for walking into what once was a potentially-dangerous "distance" from a position of relative comfort.
Little and large, who doesn't do that?
But woven into this adventure, whatever it may be, is often the conviction that being among friends who are similarly inclined or hold similar beliefs bestows certainty and peace. Yes, being among friends is nice in the trip to the edge of things.
But the facts are unfortunately more daunting: In my book, going to the edge of things, means that each goes alone to his or her own edges. It can be pretty eek, but in the cause of peace, settling for companionship as a means of finding relief simply does not work. Your edges are just that ... yours. My edges are just that ... mine. The fact that you and I can both think we are, perhaps, "Buddhists" or "Ph.D. candidates" may be inspiring and warming, but in order to put the matter of peace to bed ... there may be camaraderie, there is no such thing as camaraderie.
For my money, this is important ... going to the far reaches, the very deepest depths, the very tippy-top ... going to the place where parallel lines meet, where beliefs can no longer support the scene ... how could there be any other choice? Where is the courage not to require enemies? Where is the patience to fly? Where is the doubt sufficient to doubtlessness? How could anyone "live in the moment" s/he is already living in? The edge of things is the only suitable choice and there are no choices.
But of course there are always choices and this is where my dwindling-energy crabbiness comes into play. I am delighted that some Saturday-morning door-knocker believes in the unifying and love-strewn path of Jesus ... the way and the light. I can enjoy the description. But I decline the invitation to see things his or her way... even when I agree. Seeing things in someone else's way may be warming, but it invariably falls on its face. Please don't ask me to fall on my face: I'm old and getting up is an energetic pursuit I prefer not to waste. I love your friendship, but my love is not premised on agreement or belief.
And now I have been as polite as I can for as long as I can ... now fuck off!
Don't get me wrong: I'm sympathetic to any who may choose to go to the edges of their things. I too have begged and pleaded, "Please, please tell me what it is that lies at the edges of things!" I too have believed in warming tales and cozy credulity. I like hanging around with sympathetic souls and sipping coffee or tea ... and laughing or swooning or weeping in unison. Kinship is consoling ... but the edges of things are beyond consolation and relief. Peace beyond the edges of things is ... is ... is your business and mine. I would not insult you by asking that you believe me ... and I would be grateful if you extended the same courtesy to me. Think what you like. Believe what you like. Push your envelope as you choose... it's pretty important, I think... going to the edges of things over and over and over again until ...
Well, the sun is shining. What the fuck did you expect?!
But maybe I'm wrong. I'm too old and crabby to worry very much about being wrong ... and my dwindling energies are not up to your imagining you are right.
As far as I can see, beyond the edges of things there is just a bit of sunshine.
You want improvements?
Go get 'em, tiger!