Sunday, November 26, 2017

Among other things...

A cosmopolitan veneer is for some an ambition having as it does the gloss of suavity and polished urbanity.  It comes however at a price. What one gains in sophistication one loses in focus (or what others may stigmatize as parochialism). I rather style the insularity as manageable appreciation.  The plain fact of the matter is that if I spread myself too thin I threaten to dissolve into the ether.  By remaining local I am able to detect not just the lustre but also the substance of what I perceive.  It takes time and experience to insinuate the depths of one's environment. Forgive me but having an exciting and glamorous international character doesn't in my books translate into absorption. I am not convinced that multi-cultural or well-travelled people are of necessity more sophisticated or refined.  There can be lots going on but nothing happening.

Based on a purely logical analysis flightiness doesn't of itself transform into either maturity or broad-mindedness.  Our innovative nature depends more on disposition than worldliness.  Granted there is a serious case to be made for the advantage of travel - the exposure to comparative thinking and differences generally - but likewise there is the instance for doing so on playing fields closer to home - at least without having to go to the ends of the earth to discover the opportunity.  Still as a matter of self-discovery some cling to the philosophy that one must leave home to learn whence one has come.

What has prompted this puzzlement is the oddest juxtaposition of two recent telephone calls - one from a global friend who whizzes around the world with uncommon frequency; the other from a decidedly provincial friend who is caught in a web of immobility.  Both are as much as the other a product of life's fortunes and misfortunes, as I suppose we all are.  Why one should escape the clutches of loss while the other slips through its fingers is a question no one will ever solve.  From my point of view - as the glue which unites these seemingly antithetical polarities - I have my head in clouds with one and my feet on the ground with the other.  Yet I view their enterprise as similar.  While there is the peril of descending into platitudinous observations when comparing the lives of others - where for example one overlooks the very real and operative distinctions which exist - there is nonetheless value in seeing the levelling similarities among us all.

To begin it is my opinion that "there ain't no ship to take you away from yourself".  This seemingly blunt remark does however embrace an unmistakeable truth - one which is captured in its corollary; namely, that we are each destined to "travel the suburbs of our own mind".  To overcome the limiting feature of those truths one must acknowledge that the cultivated element of our existence will ultimately derive from within not from without.  If nothing else that posture eliminates the competition between the two options, whether the poetic difference between worldly and provincial or its metaphorical extensions of knowledgeable and narrow-minded.  I further take it as understood that each of us aspires to self-fulfillment, some measure of achievement beyond mere indulgence. To conjoin these two objectives - working from within to express ourselves - it really doesn't matter what's the wallpaper.  It boils down to using one's capital whatever it may be.

Whenever I engage in a serious discussion with others about what lies ahead there inevitably surfaces the issue of how to employ one's capital.  Untying the knot of inertia is equivalent to untying one's capital. Invention has always fascinated me because it celebrates the capacity of certain people to use the resources at hand to open doors. Whether you're an industrialist overhauling a corporation or an individual setting out on a personal adventure the challenge is always to deal with what is at hand. The tools of manipulation are our intellect and energy.  As for our capital, that requires assessment. It is imperative to isolate capital from fluff, substance from glitter, the boodle from the bravado.

As different as the wherewithal may be between people the constant is that each of us is dedicated to breaking free of encumbrance. Until the captial works for us - and not the other way around - it is an encumbrance.  The process can take years for some to realize while others accomplish it in record time.  It all depends how quickly one recognizes another undeniable feature of life; namely, that life is ultimately binary.  As an apothegm consider, "You can't have money and things". It is life's exclusivity which ensures its individuality. In the end it's all about making choices.

Though I seldom consider that my impatience is an asset I have to say that when applied to making choices in life it moves things along.  By contrast there are those who are mired in procrastination.  Though indecision may legitimately arise from quandary it is as often a failure to apply oneself to resolution.  Personally I have difficulty advancing the vaule of delay where it carries with it a sense of frustration or annoyance. I can't imagine knowing what is on the other side of the door without opening it.

The secret to arresting the debate about one's future lies in focussing on its life-savers and ignoring the tumultuous sea which surrounds us. The universe is ultimately personal and no amount of pondering the "big picture" will improve the view or the answer. Eventually we have to deal with the nitty gritty. This doesn't however imply that it is a nasty business.  But one must be discerning, it's not about taking wanton chances. There is inherent safety in making clinical decisions, ones which are mostly void of emotional discombobulation.  It is sometimes the surgical view of the matter which affords the greatest repair.

What's so exciting about life is that we cannot predict it. Until the evolution has its final unfolding there is the possibility for endless amusement. We mustn't strap ourselves into thinking one particular model or another is the only one that will work.  If we combine our intellect, our capital and whatever else is at hand then no one can find fault with the outcome.  How else can it be?

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