Saturday, July 7, 2018

A very plausible account

It isn't often that one can count upon a credible rendition of personal gossip over a casual summer luncheon. There are normally just too many obstructions - prestige and pretence, honesty and humbug, society and style, age and ambition, defeat and defence, shallowness and swell - to name but a few hindrances. Today's gathering at Neat Café in McNab/Braeside Township was however the uncommon exception. The collateral advantage of the singular assembly is a sense of improving legitimacy (and almost mathematical purity) in addition to the overriding theme of authenticity. In plain terms, we had a most agreeable congregation and a very palatable bite to eat.

Discrimination about the company one keeps is in my opinion not without its merit, one which if nothing else is accelerated by the general observation that time is running out (granted not an obsession which contaminates everyone but which for my part at least is undeniably probative). Aside from the pragmatism (to which I am irrevocably drawn) I am intellectually aligned with what I prefer to characterize as an innate curiosity for unadulterated enquiry and elevating scrutiny - the type which attends uncalculated conclusions, genuine possibilities and plausible alternatives. What it is that unites people of a similar and co-ordinated disposition is in spite of its tenability totally unpredictable.  All the more reason to cherish the instant!

Like so many of our other relationships this one arose from what can only be described as a serendipitous encounter. Thomas Hardy's tales of coincidence are illustrative of our own comparative fortunes.

The uses of causality and coincidence in the novels of Thomas Hardy
by Iris Alice White

"Many critics, especially the earlier ones, assumed that Hardy employs accident and coincidence in his novels either to add excitement by touches of melodrama as was done by many popular novelists of the Victorian era, or else to suggest intervention in human affairs by a power beyond man's control which determines the pattern of each life. This thesis attempts to explore these views, and by examining Hardy's use of coincidence and accident, first in his ballads and short stories, then in the minor novels and finally in the major ones, to discover if Hardy were propounding a philosophic system or if another purpose lies behind the numerous coincidences to be found in his novels. It finds that Hardy was profoundly influenced by ballad techniques and local narrative forms which rely heavily on coincidence. Hardy uses coincidence to inject melodramatic incidents into his novels for the sake of extra liveliness; he uses it to emphasize certain incidents by giving them symbolic significance and he also uses it to hasten to its conclusion a chain of events which, without the coincidence would reach the same conclusion but over a longer period of time. This use of coincidence is a technical device since, although it is used to intensify atmosphere and hasten inevitable endings, it never changes the course of a logically developing sequence of events. It is not used as evidence of forces which work either consciously or unconsciously against the affairs of men. In Jude the Obscure, Hardy's final novel, accident and coincidence play no part in the unfolding of the plot, and the tragic climax is clearly shown to result from the forces of society."

Arguably it is as provocative to assert a scheme of human relationship as any other technical device.  Both are driven by capacity and result; but one is natural, the others are not.  What makes the former so much more wholesome is its judicious lack of additives. There is an utter dearth of scruples or dissimulation, altogether a uniquely soothing confrontation.  As wont as I am to avoid a specious proposition (and certainly one based upon entirely apocryphal evidence), it is my considered belief that our companions have profited by their northern Ontario genetics.  In keeping with the celebrated adage of the late Robertson Davies, "What's bred in the bone will out in the flesh".

The fraternity with those of plausible account is not merely stimulating; it is both clarifying and gladdening. It is an opportunity to recover one's appetite for enlargement and purpose (a craving which is regrettably diminished over time even under the most fortuitous circumstances). In truth the awakening of these longings and satisfactions goes a long way towards revitalizing one's being.  When youth and materialism become diluted with age and worry, it is a rare event upon which one can rely. The preservation of gusto and impetus is the very backbone of ambition, spirited by the plain words and cogent analysis of its promoters.

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