• Posted: Aug 24, 2016 22:00:36
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I watched somebody die yesterday. In a way, it wasn’t real. But it was. More real for me than all the reports of death in the world’s news. More real than recent notice that a dear friend had passed away. More real than attending the funeral of a cousin or of my mother-in-law. It was as real and compelling as me looking in the mirror and feeling my own mortality sinking silently, privately, unfathomably into dark cold endless inconsequential nothingness. What I had been looking at was a performance by John Thaw in the final episode of the BBC’s detective series Inspector Morse, an episode entitled: The Remorseful Day.
Some find solace and meaning in the writings, pronouncements, proscriptions, and rituals of religion. I don’t. The reason? They amount to summations, summations of life, reality, relationship, connection, and meaning. Summations are not the real thing. They are approximations, models, theories, opinions, no different from and in many ways just as disrespectful of details as stereotypes and gross generalizations. In some sense and in some cases, religions and philosophies of being are useful. But they do not compare or adequately replace direct interface with the entirety before us. By my experience, art, music, science, mathematics, and even sport do a far better job of meaningfully and usefully connecting us to the vast multi-layered multi-faceted depths of dynamic interconnectedness inherent to our psyches, our bodies, our fellow human beings, and to the world in which we inhabit. Summations comfort us by shielding us from the pain and terror of our own ignorances and inadequacies, smoothing all the jagged edges so we don’t hurt ourselves. But summations also cheat us by failing to allow our full appreciation of all we are, could be, and may never be.
One cannot learn. One cannot grow. One cannot truly accomplish, unless one asks a question. What? How? Why? And, what if? Only when such questions are asked, when we interact with the world, struggle with our own ignorance, test our suspicions, then build upon what we have learned, do we most fully make use of the innate potential and opportunity we’ve been given by our birth. How horrible, how disturbing to our inner most depths, to reach the moment of our insignificant death and realize we’ve missed understanding and appreciating and meaningful connecting with almost everything.
Don’t. Don’t do that to yourself. Details matter. They matter more than you’ll ever know. Even science is recently discovering that the public listing of details from all the experiments that did not yield interesting results can increase efficiency in designing experiments that do lead to interesting results.
May the details before us intrigue you, and carry you forward toward ever more interesting and fulfilling connection. You don’t want to have reached the end never really knowing or appreciating what’s been happening.
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010