Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I ask myself
I ask myself every day what this grand adventure in communication means, where it leads, what its potential is, how it affects me and the work I do, whether I’m a leader, a follower, a witness, or simply being swept along. I am probably all of the above. I don’t seek dire certainty, though, just a better understanding, a more revealing glimpse of myself in the mirror.
I live for the chance, or the illusion of a chance, of accomplishing better, more meaningful work — work that reaches out, communicates, and makes demands, especially of myself. Each day I stay alive, each hour, I preserve that chance and illusion.
I wonder, too, if I do anything by choice. I must, because I feel responsible for my actions. If I’ve made a mess of my life, which in some ways I have, if I’ve caused heartache through my selfishness, it’s because I’ve chosen to do so. I can’t count the times I’ve deliberately turned my back on an obvious, practical solution. We call it “burning bridges.”
And what of those areas in which I’ve succeeded — my devotion to family, the work and joy of a long marriage, doing what I’m cut out for, and recognizing what’s poison to my system? Are these the result of choice? I think not. I think, instead, that I’ve been blessed, and that I’ve been cursed, and that what feels like a choice is but a surface phenomenon, and that my wiring — our wiring — is so complex, that while the subject of why we do things is fun and even instructive to pursue, we really don’t know what we’re talking about. And that we call “being born.”
I can imagine a life in which everything is known, and what a nightmare it would be. I also think it’s possible that we know everything we need to know at birth, and that we learn to suppress it through fear. But most of all, I view knowledge as a living, breathing, changing thing, an entity that feeds and fuels itself, a restless spirit, because the only constant in life is change, and we are of this life.
Hammer it any way we like, describe it, archive it, and break it into a million tiny pieces, curse it or give thanks, place it in a chalice or under a microscope, call it life, the universe, or God, it was here before us and will remain after we leave, poignantly, partly, and inaccurately defined, and painfully present in the tiniest exquisite detail. And that we call “joy.”
“I ask myself” is the newest addition to my Notebook. Old notes are archived here.