Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wisdom and Lemonade


Does my knowledge, if I may use the term loosely, belong to me? I think not. To a certain extent it’s probably peculiar to me, but I can hardly lay claim to knowledge itself. Or wisdom. I simply know what I know and understand what I understand, and what I know and understand will grow, diminish, and change as long as I’m here. And even that knowledge is suspect. Likewise, I can’t begin to say what portion of these precious commodities I was born with, and what arrived later. My mother liked to say I was “born old.” Maybe she was on to something. To be born old, and then to die young at an advanced age seems a desirable goal.

When we read these words, what is happening, really? Do we approach them the way we do fire, a substance so dangerous and attractive that we can’t leave it alone? Or do we swim toward meaning as if they were water? Among other things, I submit they are a mirror. Do they teach, or do they simply remind? What do they reveal, and how do they reveal it? And how accurate are our guesses about them? As accurate, perhaps, as our guesses about each other.

What shall I do with these words? Since I always need money, I can package some for sale, and hope that someone will buy. The rest I can keep or give away. And yet, whether they have a price on them or not, they’re all given anyway. Because I truly believe that those with prices on them and those without are given. In all their frailty and wisdom, they are my contribution. I don’t know how to write like an accountant. My own accountant understands this and sympathizes. He buys my books, though, because he knows I’m writing for him too.

If I seem like a kid with a lemonade stand, it’s because I am. But remember, the lemonade is spiked.

If I sound like a philosopher too tired or lazy to think, it’s because I am.

If I act like a salesman, it’s because, publicly, I am. Sometimes, the way we behave, I think we’re all in sales.

If I sound rich, it’s because I am. If I sound poor, it’s because I am. I am both, abysmally so.

I’ve met beggars who possess more wisdom and grace than I. Others were morally repulsive.

I know wealthy people who make me ill, and others who shame me with their generosity.

Just before he died, the great short story writer O. Henry is supposed to have said, “Turn up the lights. I don’t want to go home in the dark.” But there is no darkness worse than darkness we embrace of our own choosing.

If I seem to ramble, it’s because I do. But which of us is not the product of the free association of bodies and minds, words and wills?


Update:
In the Forum: desiring desirable desires.

15 comments:

Conrad DiDiodato said...

Michael,

if I now look forward each day to your blog post, it's because I'm the poorer without it.

William Michaelian said...

As I would be without your comments and readership. Thanks, Conrad.

awyn said...

How interesting, O. Henry wanted the lights turned up at his passing, and Goethe wanted "More light!" But Victor Hugo, on his deathbed said: "I see a black light." One could spend an eternity trying to figure out what that black light was/is. I mention this 'cause you mentioned O'Henry and "embracing darkness" as a no-darkness-worse-than choice. I wonder, can darkness bring light, or light darkness? Help, help, you opened the darn word box again and I'm getting entangled! :)

Great post, William. Lots to chew on here ... the incredible dark lightness of being (or is it the mysterious light darkness of nonbeing?). Awwkkkkkkk. "If I seem to ramble, it's because I do", to quote a fellow writer. Join the club, says the fog, ha ha.

William Michaelian said...

Annie, I can only guess that darkness and light are mutually dependent and entirely self-sufficient.

And if I seem to make sense, that’s your problem! And I must say, that Awwkkkkkkk really makes my day. Thanks!

RUDHI - Chance said...

Pure consciousness is light and dark and transcendent... Light is seen reflected as colours, and life is reflecting self-knowledge (through consciousness), I mean, guess and believe...

William Michaelian said...

Here’s another guess: maybe the universe is an answer to a question yet to be asked...

Elisabeth said...

You turn up the light, William with your words. You help to guide us on our way home. Thank you.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you. Then again, my mother also liked to say, “It’s like the blind leading the blind.”

ALeks said...

I like your mama!For being your mama and her wisdom which I recognize as something near,dear,not knowing the reason and thinking of it not other than as of one universal knowledge,part of our cells,how else I could recognize any of this?
I love the one saying "Turn up the lights.I do not want to go home in the dark." Reminds me of my uncle Jovan,may he rest in peace!
And according to my gospel,there is one worse darkness of the one we embrace from our own choosing, that is the one of the darkness of imprisoned child.

Aleksandra

William Michaelian said...

I understand. Of course, children would not be imprisoned, psychologically or physically, if adults did not embrace darkness.

ALeks said...

I ask my self often these days about the freedom of choice in a cases of mentally ill,is depression a result of free chosen darkness or there is more to it and well,not all darkness is bad,without darkness of the night we could not see the stars,says the blind girl!

William Michaelian said...

Indeed, that’s why I said darkness and light depend on each other for their existence. So many questions, yes, sprouting and growing like weeds.

Another thing my mother used to say: “I see, said the blind man who could not speak, as he jumped off the precipice.”

ALeks said...

Indeed you said that,i shall stop pretending I know what Im talking about.Your mothers tong I really do like.
Good night,William.

William Michaelian said...

Good night. But don’t stop pretending, because if you do, then I will also have to, and we’ll miss out on a lot of fun.

ALeks said...

Deal!