Saturday, July 7, 2012

Marginal


You no longer read for the pleasure you once sought.  Crowds and experiences within you have elbowed the early reading goals of pure escape and adventure to the side.  These crowds are jammed with people and experiences and associations, bustling to reach some unframed destination.

What you read at earlier ages was in effect a series of passports to get you beyond the routine of those days.  You knew from the news and from the rumble of events about you that the world was in chaos.  Names filtered through your boyhood games.  Mahatma Gandhi.  Hitler. Mussolini.  Hirohito.  You could scarcely relate to the former; the latter three were embarked on events that seemed worlds away from your youth, worlds where you had no control, scarce ability to do anything but watch and recoil, then retreat into reading, where heroes had the means of confronting their opponents, even coming to some terms with them. 

With few exceptions, these heroic men and women who attracted your interest were driven by some code of responsibility, where engagement was the only possible path.  Even in such romance as Beau Geste, where engagement meant removal from the immediate battle as a gambit, there were nevertheless responsibilities at a distance.  You looked to reading for your responsibilities, your duties, your places for engagement, your answers.

There were, of course, no answers, and as you read further, you recognized you were seeking your own definition and thus your own places for engagement.

You lived, during those times, in Los Angeles and New York and Fall River and Providence, then Miami Beach, being elbowed by experiences, the immediate encounters being the ordinary of middle class, the effects of World War II rumbling about you, in effect determining these places where you lived, and you were haunted at times by the potential for boredom and the frustrations associated with being as young as you were.

You had to read beyond the sense of yourself in your culture because your culture has provided you an education, excellent in some ways, deficient in others, where you were nearly marginalized, at least hypnotized to the point where you thought you ought to have the values and obligations and expectations representative of a segment you were not a part of.  You were getting the wrong signals. Through reading, you became aware of this disparity.  You, not society nor culture, were the instrument of self-marginalization.

Marginal as you are, nevertheless you recognize yourself in some groups and as an individual, looking for his compass.  Writing offers this compass; so does reading.  Your sense of feeling right or comfortable in a situation now depends not on the satellite beeps you receive from your culture or your society, rather from the you as individual.

You read and write for connections, hints of chemistry and physics of matter and individuality as you spin and orbit, much as the planet on which you abide, spins and orbits in a universe, alert for signals you can trust, eager to get messages from the trustworthy source you know to be out there, which of course is you.

If you persist, you may see and hear details and connections that will provide you with more tools for your toolkit.  For the moment, the connection holding you closest to and in greatest admiration of your species is the awareness of how many individuals feel the marginalization and are attempting through their own craft to get signals from the elements and matter about them.

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