Sunday, November 15, 2009

The End

I just re-read my "In the Beginning" screed, and realize that I've become a broken record. Not a huge surprise, that. But still, there are only so many ways you can say the same thing, and I don't seem to be getting any closer to what I'd hoped I might be able to do here.

I'm not even sure I remember what it was anymore. Except a glimmer, an in-love kind of sense that if I would just write and write and write, then I might find myself back where I was one night living on my sailboat. Having actually discovered, in writing, something to give me direction and sense and hope.

I still have all the hope I ever did. That someone more literate than me, for instance, will be able to pick up my thread and make more sense than I can.

But I woke up last night to the cruel surprise I'd been, so unwittingly, waiting for. That it never has been me whose story has been writing itself across my life. That my boat was never a cocoon from which I ever could emerge a butterfly. That metaphors like that can only leave you fallen from flight into artificial light which burns because it's way too close to be real.

I myself am the cocoon, the husk, the lifeless word-woven tent within which an abstract idea has taken shape. And I don't even think the word "idea" has any sense, so now what am I to do? It's no idea at all, it's just another bundle of words, just like a formula in physics, but without the math.

And without the math, there's no way in heaven or hell to get to where every thinking person must agree. Not that I'm asking for any leaps of faith here. I'm not even asking that you look within yourself to see if you can feel what I have felt as a way to true this bunch of words. What I am trying to say is much closer to science; just a few words to change the gestalt shape of what it is our progressive sciences have uncovered these last brief centuries.

So, if you were to read me right along, you'd see it too. No tricks. Not like stupid Scientology screeds which are only massive P.T. Barnum tractatuses. No Biblical tales whose true believers now do more harm to any possibility of faith than good was ever done before. No Mormon protectionist scheme.

But I can't quite make it readable. Or at least not here.

The hardest things to learn are those which first require unlearning. Somewhere somehow, even if only by omission, we were all taught the divisions of nationality, race, and religion. And so, in setting out to discover those marvels, we've made us all the same now. And protesters against the wall are blown up or blow themselves up for being so stupid as not to want to be like us. We Americans were taught that these are our shores. We Christians were taught that ours is the only trued God. There seems to be a lot of that going around.

And in the end, folks like me, scientifically minded, become cemented in the one sure thing, that the only reliable certainty is doubt. That there is and always will be suffering in the world, as there always has been among us beasts.

But we humans may at least aspire to more, and science is our compass.

What are we to do then, except to continue the endless struggle to uncover whatever secrets are left in the world around us? Hoping against hope that someday really soon we will have found that powerful key, to unleash something as powerful as nuclear energy, but without the fallout. That somehow, along with it will come enough raw surplus that we can make every human life OK again, and never need to leave anyone on the outside of our fences. You know, unless that's where they want to stay.

We hope that we will find something that powerful, that much stronger than the locomotives which still seemed to help us out despite all the corruption along their way to getting built. Something also to put a stopper on the need for bombs at all. So that it will overwhelm the greedy among us, perhaps by just making it look silly to still be wanting more when you can so easily have whatever you want beyond your wildest dreams.

As if it doesn't look pretty silly already.

I think it's way past time. A world so tamed that all the beasts only occupy some plastic menagerie with labels is no world at all. Like Noah's arc and no receding ever of the flood. Wasn't there a movie about that recently? Even Christian types liked it, I have on high authority. Wall-e.

There must be some way we can all agree.

But I will call my journey ended. This one. Who knows now what's in store for the "real me". What odd jobs I can take or which will take me.

Because there's really only one kind of memory which endures. That's the kind which comes from unlearning, either crazy notions that you were schooled in, or the crazy ones you came up with on your own. And once you do, you can't go back, no matter how much you'd like to.

No matter how much you'd like to believe in Santa Claus again. No matter how much you'd like it if there really were a personal God. No matter how comfortable you've always felt in the certainty of your doubt.

Once you grow beyond those things, there's no going back. Ever. And I'd thought, silly me, that there could or would be some way through writing, to get at least one other soul to see what I can see.

Chasing, chasing after some perfect encapsulation of that trued set of words. And looking back I see that I can't do any better. It still must look like an hallucination to you.

So there you go!

And off I go. The fire I've kept going for many weeks now won't catch this morning. But I think it will be warm outside. So, what the hell, eh? No sense staring at a screen all day.

But I have to leave you with a wink. Because who knows, I might be back. I never seem to be quite as good as my word.

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