Thursday, August 6, 2015

dying to be relevant

A morning cool as autumn today -- crispy, crispy cool and bright, though it's not yet fall.

Yesterday, I received a note and newest article from an aging friend who is keen to be part of the "humanist" realm ... smart and logical and fighting the good fight against various sorts of religious and other mindless assertions. She is on the right team, from where I sit, and yet there is a desperation I sense in her writing, as if arrogating to herself an importance resulting from having lived so long and thought so much and found meaning in her lifetime that others might do well to acknowledge.

But no one gives a shit ...

That is the desperation I sense in her somewhat unfocused argumentation and recollections. The world has moved on and left her voice and experience unheard. Where once there was careful and particular thought and effort and involvement, now "there's an app for that."

"If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?" "If a life and its experience goes unacknowledged by others, is it really a life at all?"

This daunting question may be more apparent to those of a certain age, but I have a hunch that everyone has a wee corner in which such a question might be asked ... whose claws might dig in a draw blood: Who will hear my dearest thought, answer my most-closely-held question, acknowledge me where it counts and in so doing, free me from this strange, dank cell?

It might all be written off to loneliness, but I have a further hunch that even the most socially immersed can feel the lash. How is this to be addressed?

Sometimes I feel fortunate to have had a period when I was interested in Zen Buddhism. Its tendrils and teachings reach out and inform and I wouldn't recommend it or praise it to anyone else. It just has information that I find useful. Not perfect, but useful... and I am grateful for the experience.

No one gives a shit.

And why should they? Or shouldn't they?

Today, on the front page of the local paper, a couple of car-repair places were shown in flames.
The fire seems to have started in the roof (the best place for a fire that wants to insure a "total loss"). The owner said he had insurance, so rebuilding was in the cards.

The first thought into my head was what a an almost-perfect crime arson is: With luck, the evidence is consumed by the fire; insurance companies are disinclined to carry out an investigation that would cost more than the payout on the policy; and, in hard times, the arsonist comes out ahead.

In Hiroshima, Japan, today, many remembered the day -- Aug. 6, 1945 -- when the first atomic bomb was dropped on a city and obliterated it. 80,000 died. Many others were savagely maimed. In John Hersey's "Hiroshima," I remember the tale of one person trying to help another by reaching down and offering a hand. But when the victim's hand was grasped, the flesh slipped away like some charred glove.

I once did some research on arson. I once read Hersey's book. How is it possible that no one remembers as I remember ... and yet what an arrogant question that is. George Santayana observed that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it, another egregious piece of witty arrogance: Of course people do not study history and even if they do, what could it possibly tell them in ways that would prevent or encourage a better/worse outcome?

And likewise if this life's tree falls in the forest, who could possibly know or hear or give a shit?

Whining is not the point of all this ... or maybe it is partly the point. But most interesting is the factualness that the loss of relevance imposes. What secret place goes unaddressed? Why does no one care as once I imagined they did? Why, in this secret place, do I maintain my secret and yearn for it to be addressed even as the realization creeps up like a filling bathtub ... no one cares. But no one cares not because they actively don't care, but because experience cannot be shared and imagining that it can is the very tap root of this desperate situation.

Experience is just a gift. Like a pair of socks they can be delightful, warming, cheesy, slick ... but they are just a gift under each (wo)man's Christmas tree on this crispy morning.

Oh well ... I need to sharpen this observation, but I doubt that I ever will. I guess the fact is that I don't really give much of a shit.

1 comment:

  1. Even if you're plastered all over the history books, it's just a name attached to a test you hope you pass. I expect a few who knew me to cast a fond remembrance my way, but a generation or two later, poof.