April 01, 2007

Sunday Follies

"I have now spent fifty-five years in resolving: having, from the earliest time almost that I can remember, been forming plans of a better life. I have done nothing. The need of doing, therefore, is pressing, since the time of doing is short." -- Samuel Johnson

Fortuitously,that was the first Johnson quotation I found while looking for this more famous one:

"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

Because I was thinking that when a man's way of life has been whisked out from under him, that too concentrates his mind.

I have been thinking about how much of the pain in my life (which, I have to immediately add, has very probably been less than an average amount) can be traced back to not thinking clearly. Ironic, in someone who has lived by his mind and by his and others' words.

How odd that I have so often chosen the wrong ideas and words to latch onto. If I had thrown darts at a bulletin board posted with mottos, wouldn't I have done at least as well?

The idea that I can alleviate a problem by making a joke out of it.

The idea that if I act destructively, people should understand that it wasn't really me who did it.

The idea that I need to be the smartest person. (This is something I should have had knocked out of me at age sixteen, except I ducked out of places where it would have been. This in itself shows I wasn't so smart.)

The idea that if I think something in here, I'm automatically living it out there.

And...the idea that there's something wrong with me. It's been many years since I first realized that the only thing wrong with me is that I think there's something wrong with me. (A paradox this post illustrates.) Alas, I've known it in here but haven't lived it out there.

I try to think my way through the maze. That's not wrong, but what I haven't done is notice the other people stuck in the maze with me, all making their wrong turns and bumping chaotically in the dark and clutching on to form a human chain that will stretch from entrance to exit to show us all how to get through. The chain breaking whenever someone falls and the gap being filled by each person who arises. And, since it's all taking place in the dark, it's in no way dependent on how anything appears.