Thursday, May 3, 2018

Give it a rest

May Day is notoriously famous, a public holiday (International Workers' Day based on the alleged anarchist movement of the Haymarket labour riot in Chicago on May 4, 1886) usually celebrated on the first of May.  Though today is May 3rd the date nonetheless inspires me.  May Day is after all originally an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and a traditional spring holiday in many cultures.  Dances, singing and cake are often part of the festivities. For me the occasion marks the customary novelty of the season, a period of renewal. This is particularly so in this instance because the winter has been marked by uncommonly draining events from which only now I feel I am at last arising.

To be perfectly honest I would no doubt adopt a similar spirit of regeneration in any event under any circumstances.  It is impossible not to be persuaded by the chirping birds, the greening of the grass and the blossoming of leafy trees, a transition which naturally invites a similar awakening within one's soul. As well the date largely concludes what has been months of intense commitments to address a number of routine and troublesome issues.  Obviously there is no escaping the inevitability of challenge in this mortal existence of ours but it is pleasing to turn a corner.  I am only too willing to confess the apparent shallowness of my philosophic bent; namely, I prefer the tranquillity of certainty and the absence of torment. It requires a degree of adjustment to confront the full impact of one's current situation before one can at last give it a rest.

I have routinely maintained two seemingly conflicting opinions about what I think generally.  One, I consider there is little if anything that I can do or say to convince others of any particular course of action. To take an extreme example, it amounts to mere pretence to tell a drunk what to do. They have to make their own decision and no waffling from me will make a pinch of difference.  Two - and this is the contrary view - I consider it an obligation of others (especially those who are older) to share what they know and have learned about this life. For this reason some advancement of what I believe are axiomatic truths is not entirely unwarranted or misguided.

Governing these polar opposites of involvement is the central effort to live by one's own theses and to formulate what might constitute an expression of them to oneself. This may sound repetitive of an identical posture but it captures the dissimilarity of instinctive behaviour and intellectual summary. Call it if you will the examination of things.  Too often we engage in mere performance without the additional element of reflection. If one assumes (as I do) that it is impossible to grasp the substance of events without an abstract review of them, then it behooves us to lay down the shovel, put up our feet and contemplate what we've done.  This idle undertaking is seldom afforded in a state of activity.  One must give it a rest in order to gather the insight of the moment.

The narrowing of ambition is an unquestionable advantage in my opinion. To limit one's so-called "bucket list" is no indignity as far as I'm concerned.  This doesn't imply a complete dilution of possibilities; rather it entails an intensity of limited propositions. I personally favour the recognition of the compass of our being.  If that is true then it only makes sense to dwell upon the matters which are within our scope.  After one has survived six or more decades it is acceptable to confine oneself to what we've adopted within those limits.  There is a point after which the ingenuity of our being is likely beginning to wane. In addition the delay of the consultation might be ill advised.

For the moment I am prepared to survey what surrounds me - the people, the events and the things. It is no doubt but a temporary evaluation, albeit an edacious one. But I intend to profit by the transition from the old to the new, by what may be merely the appearance of change, reigniting the growth from within.

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