Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Special Numbers

It won't be esteemed a misfortune or wasteful ambition to hope for the life of a gentleman, not a nobleman or a superior being of mere social status, but rather one who through a degree of learning and the application of god-given intelligence qualifies as an acceptable feature to humanity. The object is not the approbation of others but rather the satisfaction of having done the best one can with what one has. Lately I have read what others consider the manual for that attainment.  I prefer not to advance my own theory (if indeed I presume to have one).  Instead it pleases me to reminisce about the special numbers which have affected me from time to time, those slight moments of delight that provoke fond thoughts regarding the sometimes miserable history of my particular being and personal demonstration.

Some are intent upon classifying a role of conduct which they perceive to be the secret to achievement of one description or another.  It seems to me that the only object worth pursuit is the identification of what it is that pleases oneself. Lest this sounds hopelessly selfish and misguided, even shallow or perverse, I mean it only in the sense that one cannot be expected to rejoice in the height of another's authority if there is no palpable means of ascension.  Again let me reiterate that the core of the discovery does not lie in the difficulty of getting there but rather the persuasiveness of experience whatever it may be. For the sake of legitimacy only I will qualify the goal by insisting it isn't purely visceral or tactile, and certainly not lascivious or devious.

My venture for the past seven decades has been one of almost unqualified entertainment. When I told my late father that I intended to study philosophy instead of economics, he tersely replied, "It's your bed.  You make it, you sleep in it."  And that is precisely what I have done. To my never-ending recovery from that ill-disguised threat, I learned when studying law that the importance of syllogistic reasoning was not entirely theoretical.  It was illustrative at an early stage that reliance upon one's inclination can be a profitable adventure. Indeed I was reminded more than once that there are two ways to get down a river: Either you know where to go or where not to go.

The raptures of life are invariably plain and easily accessible - that is, if we admit what we want and we acknowledge what we see. When at last we have ended our interminable pursuit of the rhetoric of living as opposed to the reality of being, then we are permitted the supreme indulgence of the moment. The utter simplification of the process is its vehicle of success. Stripped of the incalculable complications of meaning, the mere submission to what moves us is the answer.

If it is true we derive from the sea then I employ that thesis to explain my insatiable interest therein and relentless absorption in matters nautical. Without becoming maudlin about the limitation of my time upon this glorious earth I hasten to remark that is my daily gratitude to awaken by the sea. Even when inland during the summer months I fabricate the appearance of the shore over the horizon. Everything about the expanse of salt water represents a voyage, no matter how constrained my land-bound character may be.

The vastness of the sea, its coastal variety, the implausibility of the water - all elevate me and commit me beyond my personal limits. Like Dylan Thomas, I "sing in my chains like the sea", governed by the very firmament through the irrepressible tides. The tides bring memories from the deep onto the shore, hearkening back sometimes years to the speedy passages of youth. There are only flavours and scents that remain, the hard detail is lost in time. Possibly what I recall isn't even real. But what should I care?  Life's positive disposition need not be grounded in history.

The synthetic quality of life astounds me, not its analytic or counterfeit nature but its experiential truth. My entire life is rounded out by what transpired decades ago, events which now miraculously re-inhabit. Among these reincarnations and recollections are very real abbreviations and interpretations. An atom by comparison is large! These special numbers insinuate my mind and lead me like an unwitting traveler to destinations I only once imagined.

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