Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Tranquilizing New Year

The sudden arrival of cool, clear air has succeeded to tranquilize the advent of the New Year. Removed of its balminess the atmosphere is significantly sedated. One feels naturally more encumbered and less agitated when sporting a jersey. There was as well a noticeable quiet on the roadways and bicycle paths, a mark of the overnight evaporation of holiday travellers - no doubt but a temporary hush but nonetheless a welcome transition from the hullabaloo.

A moment's uninhibited reflection is a happy consequence of the precipitous calmness. I found myself loosening my customary preoccupations from the moors of repeated consternation. It is a small compliment to my intellectual insight that I dwell again and again upon the same themes, a perfectly useless enterprise which hasn't any hope of advancement or recovery.  Yet when I calculated to distance myself from the foibles of the past it appeared to diminish the oddly agreeable raw human element of the performance. All very well to advance that no man is an island, entire of itself - while omitting to add that every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main (John Donne's "Devotions", 1624).

In the end the proper and more adequate resolution of the New Year or of any other turning point is that one must learn to live with the reality that persists. It is positively foolish to propose that we shall exist in a vacuum either without or beyond the influence of others. This is not to suggest however that we haven't certain value in surmounting the burden of celebrity or popularity. Adopting one's private prosecutions - while possibly distancing oneself from the herd - may promote its own happy sequel. As a purely mathematical observation we really can't pretend to envisage what if anything appeals to others in any event, so why bother. Nor can we safely assume to comprehend the motive of others. The clarity of such succinct animation does not per force entail the abandonment of social behaviour; but its manifest emphasis upon personality at least heightens the case for individuality. It may not result in a devil be damned theory; but neither is it obsequious to a fault as uncontrolled accommodation so often is. And it is most certainly a posture far less complicated!

Likely there never was a time that I tolerated change willingly. This predilection is all the more advanced with age. Increasingly I have narrowed my agenda to the point of excluding almost anything of any diversity from the erstwhile habits and routine. There are some dreadful admissions with age, not the least of which is the dilution of aspiration (or what in some progressions becomes a veritable loss of hope). The truly appalling feature of the diminution is that it is almost axiomatic, the same way nature teaches us how to die - one of those incontestable truths.  It was in the grips of this anaesthetic today that I fashioned an alternate procedure of endurance; namely, to ignore the existential inutility and devote myself instead to whatever mundane or fanciful pleasure captures my interest.

I suspect it would surprise most of us to learn that our own intimate reflections are far more palatable and singular than we imagine, not because we've acquired or developed any particular acuity but rather because it is the nature of people to be entertaining. Invariably our community of behaviour is far less cooperative than we might prefer to think. It's one thing to be pacific; it's quite another to be stupefied.  All of which is to say that as we head into the New Year this brief period of sedation is at the most a catharsis of repressed emotions, the majority of which will merely arise from repression in order to continue as aforesaid.  Plus ├ža change!

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