Monday, October 22, 2018

So where do we stand?

At an uncertain juncture years ago I cultivated the all-consuming practice to recapitulate the entirety of my existence in order to assess what had transpired and where I was headed. While the fixation smacked of penitential dialect I privately considered it pragmatic in the same way one reviews a document before signing it. The summary and reiteration seldom embraced more than the currency of my being which, if I were to put a limit on it, captured only the predominant features of my life as then expressed. I never felt the exigency to re-evaluate my childhood agenda (if indeed I recalled any of it with accuracy); but the contemporary salient features of domesticity, productivity and foreseeability certainly mattered. My guess is that the obsession began 40 years ago when I opened my own law practice - an occasion which accentuated a multitude of disparate parameters that weighed upon my survival. That at least is my apology for the mania. The sobering collateral of this phobia is the admission that much of the detail was meaningless, a trajectory which I nonetheless fashion as a useful motivation to dwell instead only upon the present and what is pleasing. Perhaps the initial objective is the same in the end, being simply a justification. Let's face it, no amount of hindsight will do anything to change the past - though in fairness it may have a bearing on the future.

I propel an equally disturbing absorption with the symbols of my personal achievement. The process is somewhat akin to the distillation of alcohol - squeezing, extracting and condensing. So committed am I to the procedure that I have developed minute indicia of the cumulative ingredients. In its more favourable light it is a reduction to what is elemental and putatively more digestible. I have for example effectively removed myself from an acquaintance with almost every icon of success which once commanded itself to me. I now count among my primary ambitions a good night's sleep and a regular bowel movement. I challenge anyone to contradict the utility!

Nurtured as I am by this narrowing posture my day routinely consists of a collection of observations about the gratification of events - most of which are admittedly serendipitous, casual and stunningly bog-standard. I am convinced the effort is designed to subdue a deep seated anxiety; or perhaps it is an attempt to legitimize what in philosophic terms is an existential yearning. On the other hand it may be a vulgarity similar to weighing one's money.  In any case it is an evaluation. To that extent the frame of mind is forgivable as an analysis.

Whether the examined life fairs better than any other is debatable. I say that because so often the assessment is retrospective; the improvement if any has already transpired, rather like talking about an appetite after one has eaten. Yet enjoying a good meal is no small compliment. Enlarging the visceral pleasure to include imaginative and metaphysical resources can strengthen the flavour. By definition the abstraction elevates what is otherwise plainly rudimentary. Frankly I don't feel the deprivation of meaning in life but I do appreciate precious metal, the purifying process to extract essential meaning or the most important aspects of something.

"Distillation is the process of separating the components or substances from a liquid mixture by using selective boiling and condensation. Distillation may result in essentially complete separation, or it may be a partial separation that increases the concentration of selected components in the mixture."

There is some risk that the discovery is all about interpretation - basically, not what it is but rather how you look at it. This in turn may translate into a distinction without a difference. There are however so many different interpretations of the same thing that an upbeat construction must surely trump a less positive regard. I would be less than candid if I were to advance a strictly interpretive theory of calculation. Furthermore my instinctive estimation is more often than not prompted only by what I have already fashioned as agreeable.  To that extent restating the main points is entirely indulgent.  It is a perversion of mine to keep fine things in a drawer and to withdraw them at intervals for scrutiny.

Until recently I was less certain about the propriety of weighing one's personal relationships. The apparent complication of human associations led me more often to distraction than settlement. But the adoption of the identical ploy of abbreviation tends to facilitate the business. And a business it is. There must inevitably be a recognition of the partnership without which it is best abandoned. Once the oversight is accomplished, the path is more manageable.

No comments:

Post a Comment