Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mephistopheles in the punch bowl

It was in college that I first crossed paths with so-called philosophy, the discipline that aims to figure things out. It was a wonderful meeting, seeing as I was 18 and in the typical teen throes of trying to figure stuff out myself: Philosophy offered a host of cookie cutters that went to great lengths to explain what I found frequently confusing, i.e. this life. It never occurred to me that the writers (who were grown-ups after all) had written the books or offered their words in part because they too, even with an advanced maturity, couldn't find their own ass with both hands.

Nevertheless ... hot damn! -- here were all kinds of people thinking about the same stuff that sometimes left me flopping like a fish on a dock. Was I a grown-up or was I a kid? How could I get closer to those mysterious and magnetic creatures called "girls?" What was worth my seriousness and what was passing fluff? Imagine! A book or books brimming with solemn pronouncements that sounded like what I wanted... you know, Answers writ large, Answers I could depend on through thick and thin, Answers that could slay the wily Questions and Uncertainties ... and I could be kool.

The cookie cutter that brought me up short was the one (can't remember its label) whose premise was, among other things, that everything changed. "Now there's something no one can deny!" I crowed within. Look around. Everything changed ... all the time ... and since that was the case, it lightened a variety of loads... at least theoretically. I was delighted to find this bible of clear-eyed observation.

But there was a fly in the ointment. Yes, everything changed and was changing all the time ... and I loved it ... until, as a matter of honesty, I had to admit the principle must likewise affect my relationship with my then-girlfriend. Surely that wouldn't change. Surely that was writ in some stone that would endure and outflank the universal principle I had decided to fall in love with.

Needless to say, I squirmed within. I really didn't want a swimming relationship to be swept out into changing seas. I tried a hundred different ways to keep the satisfying principle without surrendering the palpable fact. How I wanted that relationship to endure. It was sacrosanct and pure and enduring and of course it just COULDN'T change. Today, I can't even remember the name of the girl-friend in whose presence I was melted butter.

Well, shit!

What a good lesson, sort of. The importance of picking just one thing for which/whom anyone is willing to crack open the door and investigate from manna to Mephistopheles. Who will decide to pick a topic -- any topic -- and then, for once, go the distance ... the whole nine yards ... from the point where desirability rears up and roars to the point where this great edifice begins to crumble and bite you on the ass.

Pick one. Just one. Just this once ... and don't wobble -- go straight for the jugular! No turning back. No excuses. Don't be lazy, for once. Wouldn't it be nice to get one thing straight, even if you turned out to be wrong? Math that stretches out before you until, somehow, it turns into poetry. Poetry that stretches out before you and turns into math. Out there, somewhere, parallel lines meet in infinity. Smarty-pants philosophers speak of yin and yang. Fuck them. Go the distance for once. Stop making excuses for once.

Just once.

Do it just once and then ... and then ... and then ... do it again.

1 comment:

  1. Well, at least pick something your like. The deep thinkers are worriers. The deeper their thoughts the greater the anxiety that drives them. And I imagine it always comes back to death. What meaning can there be that requires death to await? And why do we think all mysteries must be revealed? There's no mystery in chop wood, carry water. But change, especially one that erases us, is a bitch.