Saturday, September 17, 2011

Literature

There is never enough.

There is always too much.

If there is a middle ground, it is a boring place to be.

Reality is like that; it thrives on its own complexity while ignoring its own substance.

You understand this because you have never had enough, were overwhelmed by having had too much, twitched away from the outstretched hand of boredom.

You gulp at learning, understanding, even wisdom as an hormonal teenager at a smorgasbord, heaping your platter with more insights than you can possibly consume, much less digest, all the while regretting your failure to peek under the dome of that last chafing dish off there on the side.

Digesting some of the materials often brings an ache of inner protest.  This thing you have ingested--this learning or understanding-- was supposed to be healthy; it looked so appetizing and inviting.  But now it is lodged within you, sodden and listless.  It wants weeding.

Middle grounds thrive on accommodation, democratization, negotiation.  Such landscapes are fine vacation spots for serious lovers, worthwhile friends, estimable colleagues those to whom you were drawn in the first place by the electric crackle of differences between you.

Reality is the shopping mall foyer where traffic from other places is always passing through.  You may use it as a landmark or meeting place, but if you are not careful, reality will bowl you over with as little concern as the person who races ahead of you in the checkout line at the market.  It is not so much a matter of reality having no conscience as it is of realty being buoyed along by its own sense of purpose and self-importance.  We are not important to reality; it is the standard by which most of us attempt to measure things.

Instead, we should attempt to measure ourselves, our reactions to ourselves, our myths, which is to say the stories we pass along to those who come after us as a coded message that contains useful information about human behavior and how others have coped with the world and its forces.  We should catalogue our behavior as we approach one another with expectations from ourselves and others.

To a large extent, we have begun such studies, calling them variously story, drama, and poetry; we learn of ourselves by reading and writing this avoidance of calamity called reality.  It is out myth.  It is our literature.  

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