Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Irksome Problem of Defining Things

I have always maintained that no matter where you are, if the sun is not shining, everything looks the same. Today was one of those monochromatic campaigns, an engagement more of necessity than anything else. It helped assuage the disadvantage that today was a Sunday, thus lending itself to introspection and uneventfulness. It was however a misguided fortune.  At the beach this afternoon as I lay prone on my chaise longue by the grey sea, casting my eyes heavenward into the equally mind-numbing sky, I caught myself wondering what in the end is the point of it all. Not exactly what you'd characterize as uplifting neither especially relieving.

If you allow this business of living to get too far ahead of you it quickly becomes contaminated with endless detours and convolutions. The mere act of looking deep into the atmosphere presents its own incomprehensible complexity - I mean to say, how far out there does it go! The thing is, an observation of that sort tends to diminish the resolution of most earthly concerns.  The only way to survive the resulting inertia is regrettably to abandon the celestial project entirely. That purposeful exhaustion has however the added pollution of trivializing the sublunary issues.

Pollyanna may have got it right.

Pollyanna is a 1913 novel by American author Eleanor H. Porter, considered a classic of children's literature. The title character is Pollyanna Whittier, an eleven-year-old orphan who goes to live in the fictional town of Beldingsville, Vermont with her wealthy but stern and cold Aunt Polly, who does not want to take in Pollyanna but feels it is her duty to her late sister. Pollyanna's philosophy of life centers on what she calls "The Glad Game," an optimistic and positive attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation, no matter how bleak it may be.

Apart from resisting the subconscious bias towards the positive I am motivated to a level of analysis which, if nothing else, serves to remind me that life is not a game. I nonetheless find it hard to turn my back on generosity. It's admittedly a purely egocentric motive.  I have nothing about which to complain so it makes little sense to undertake whining of any degree. Retailing gripes and personal assaults on others has as well the nasty repercussion of fulfilling the unsettling adage that we see in others what we see in ourselves. So we're back to Pollyanna.

The one way of minimizing the obstruction is the "Don't worry, Be happy" theme.  Sounds shallow but it at least enhances the immediate scenery. If yesterday is gone and tomorrow never comes, then it is axiomatic to embrace the current flavours for all their worth.

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