Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Sweetness and Light

Chapter II - An important item

But whatever lives or dies, business must be attended to; and the principal business of good Christians is, beyond all controversy, to fight with one another.

Richard Doddridge Blackmore, "Lorna Doone"
March, 1869

The sempiternal conflict between humans is unchangeable but it can be ignored. It smacks of complacency to rise above an issue. Yet the pragmatism of doing so far outweighs the dubious fortune of headlong battle. For one thing, does it really matter in the end if there is a victor?  Surely there are more compelling motives for resolution or at the very least polite avoidance? One incentive may be the judicious side-stepping of a fruitless encounter. Some people do indeed look for a fight. My less than charitable inducement is the concealed indignity of addressing a complaint.

The evaporation of truculent purpose bestows an unprecedented calm. Contemporaneously the anaesthetic tranquillizes a myriad of superfluous preoccupations, heedless conjecture and profitless results. At the same time it advances a relieving indulgence in the more palatable resources within our personal ambit. It hardly merits debate whether to thrash about among the weeds or to glide comfortably upon the smoother waters. This poetic alternative does not preclude private obscurity. Being inconspicuous does not imply gullibility.

It is axiomatic that if one does what one likes then one likes what one does. As with so many other seemingly lucid maxims the performance is not as effortless as first appears. Having the wherewithal to prefer one's tastes is alone disquieting. The elemental persuasion tends to diminish the legitimacy. Yet to do otherwise is rather akin to eating loathsome food just to be deferential to the chef.

I was spirited in this ethereal absorption by renewed commitment to the present. The most casual reflection upon the past instantly confines one to a frightfully narrow focus, certainly one far removed from the broader scope of possibility. No matter how one has assessed or wishes to assess the past it is a lamentable enterprise either because of surging regret or valueless smugness. If one intends to relive the past, better to reactivate whatever tangible features remain. Memories - as meaningful as they may be - have little potency.

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