Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chaos Theory

When things go on about you in a semblance of normality. they present an exuberant chaos which you are drawn to examine.  This chaos seems unremarkable because it has no direct claim on your attention; it is something you can enjoy as you enjoy the ocean when you are not swimming in it or unceremoniously dunked in it.  

You observe with pleasure the wax and wane of tides and the clamor of waves breaking on the shore, or the mere sight of any aspect at all of the ocean as seen from a distance, as though you were nodding to an acquaintance in friendly recognition.

The ongoing chaos lays hands upon you when it trespasses the events of consequence related to your day-to-day activities and your long term visions and goals. Thus the expression "when things are going well," in response to the chaos taking on a cadence and resonance that seem to lift you slightly above the ground, informing your steps with a jaunty flair.  

Things going well impart a connective tissue with the chaos, extending a sense of family or at least community wherein all elements seem to be in sync with your moods and needs.  For delicious moments the letters and emails are acceptances of stories or go-ahead encouragement for article queries.  Some one wants you to give a speech or conduct a class, someone has found something of yours uplifting and encouraging.  

The Universe, whatever you see of it, radiates; all forces appear for a long moment to be in some agreeable alignment where even traffic noises emerge as two-part inventions composed by J.S. Bach and the rustle of trees in the grove outside your bedroom pulses with the lush evocations of Maurice Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe.

When things do not go well, the universe appears to you in discord; your professional life skitter about like squirrels on the outside palm trees, nervous, suspicious, wary.  Assignments that seemed so certain and positive dissolve before your eyes.  The envelopes now contain neither acceptances nor encouragement, shifting with sudden remoteness and impersonality to generic wishes of good luck for your career elsewhere.  

Luck?  Has it ever been a matter of luck?  Persons close to you erupt with significant health issues.  Persons younger than you speak of feeling their age and warn you that you too, someday, will feel yours.  (But what you are feeling is theirs.)  Your close animal chum shifts from the commanding presence of her earlier years to a moody participation in long afternoon naps.  You are alone only in the existential sense of such leadership as you have at all as a human, able to have some measure of focus on the chaos about you.  

You recognize it as what it is, a narrative in which your awareness is the stage master who decides which details you note and which shrink back into the shadows.  You are as alone as you allow yourself to be, as unconnected from the chaos as you have pushed away the details that so matter to you at other times.  There is a subversion going on within you of the old triteness, "The devil is in the details."  Your separateness is in the remove you have effected with the chaos.

In woe or weal, the life preserver that bobs before you in the uncertain waters of existence is the instinct to reach forth to embrace the chaos.  The devil may indeed be in the details but so is the story, so is life, and so are the sounds of life, words and music.

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