Saturday, October 20, 2018

It's the little things that count

"Little things console us because little things afflict us."
Blaise Pascal

No matter how extravagantly one describes anything in life, in the end what matters most is the little things.  Very often it is those same whispers of contentment which go virtually unmentioned - not because they don't count but because it's almost impossible - or maybe even commonplace - to verbalize or quantify their distinguishing elements.  How for example do you portray in a meaningful way the delight of a morning bicycle ride in the yellow sunshine while sailing under a banyan tree and listening to cicadas and the shrill of a tropical bird?

How does one capture the simple rapture of lying in the dry heat of midday after a refreshing swim in the sea? Can you possibly do justice to the ecstasy of having nowhere to go and nothing to do? And by what standard does one assess the providence of life?  By comparison the identifiable celebrity and prestige of life - things which for the most part are strictly materialistic or avaricious - are inevitably subject to decay and dismissal. The poetry of a moment will linger far longer than a prosaic estimate of the most accomplished fabrication.

It is equally true that the hidden disturbances which haunt us are of primary importance. To ignore one's instinct - to overlook the beating of one's heart - is a prescription for perpetual annoyance and regret.  All this is to say that in the end our lives are governed not by the spectacular but by the vernacular.  It is not what could have been but what is that counts. Giving recognition to either the good or the bad is a matter of indifference as far as grasping meaning. What matters in either direction is to allow oneself to be moved by what moves you, not by what matters on some other level or evaluation.

But to avoid becoming completely saccharin I believe as strongly that the interpretation of those miniature signals requires time and contemplation.  The object is not to achieve some synthetic model of perfection. Rather one hopes to accomplish an exposition of one's most fundamental acquaintance. Too often we dispel our deeper and inner perceptions by relinquishing them instead to hopeful placidity. This instantly defeats the purpose. Contentment lies not upon deceit but insight. In the professional world of diplomacy, mere agreeable behaviour may count for something but it ain't something to sleep upon.

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