Monday, August 26, 2019

Who writes this stuff!

It is treacherous to pretend ever to have ironed out the affairs of the world. The stratum below the perceptible veneer is teeming with commotion. Like the cicada it suddenly emerges after prolonged absence and frequently with overwhelming effect. Similarly the cycles of these satiating influences are not synchronized.  Consider the unfolding events of today. The only thing approaching predicability is that they transpired in the dog days of summer. Nor is the paradox lost on me that "when the Skolymus flowers the tuneful Tettix sitting on his tree in the weary summer season pours forth from under his wings his shrill song".

Another well-known song "La Cigarra" (The Cicada) written by Raymundo Perez Soto is a song in the mariachi tradition that romanticizes the insect as a creature that sings until it dies.

Surely there's a lesson here.

Even without the tearful overtone the point is this: nothing is certain; and change is instant. When faced with this solemn prospect, determination matters.

Oddly I recall my moments of wretchedness with gusto. What primarily motivates my keenness - apart from the luck of having survived and being able to reminisce about it - is that I escaped financial ruin.  This may sound shortsighted when noting that the thrust of my misfortunes included urgent heart by-pass ("We didn't think you'd get off the table!"), collapsing on the beach while bicycling and suffering severe internal injuries (when the ambulance arrived half an hour later I didn't know my own name and they checked me into the acute care ward of hospital as "John Doe") and having a Pacemaker installed after my heart stopped numerous times in succession. Yet these occasions never rattled me as jaggedly as the contemplation of the distress of pecuniary loss.  I have known others who have struggled with catastrophic dilemmas. The indignity of financial loss has always topped the chart - though I still have trouble adopting the utility of throwing oneself out a tenth storey window if one's health is satisfactory. My personal vulnerability arises from the combination of the two disasters. There were for example some hesitant moments when imagining what might transpire if my US$800,000 medical bill were not covered by the insurer (who in the face of objection by the Florida physicians had initially insisted upon flying me home - that is until the insurers were persuaded that my lungs might explode upon landing).

As a result I am sympathetic to the fate of others and grateful for the karma of my own. This sensitivity does not however propel me to act with unqualified deference. I believe that those who are disadvantaged willingly bear the deprivation of those who are not. Not everyone loves a winner. The spin-off is that neither good nor bad luck is the governor; instead, We creatures of the Planet must resign to getting on with it.  Let's face it, that's the bottom line.  I will however concede that elevation of the condition humaine is appropriate. In a pinch there is little which separates our behaviour from purely - and sometimes quite unattractive - visceral conduct. Falling into a rage is hardly the intelligent choice. Besides there are speedier eruptions without the unfavourable consequences.

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