Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Irony: Some Day, When You Are Older, You Will Understand

More and more these days, an event or attitude will remind you of your close association with irony.  At such times, you pause for a moment, inducing a wave of nostalgia to wash over you as you attempt to pinpoint the time irony began to play such a major role in your life.

Irony is, of course, a literary and rhetorical device, filled with the mischievous implications that the opposite of what one is saying is the exact meaning one wishes to convey.  Irony can also mean the possibility of saying the opposite of what one intends, confident that the true meaning will be sent.  When one says, "Who, me?" one is in fact saying, "Who else but me?"  

Foreign languages add to the potential for ironic representation.  Try saying the French or Italian counterparts, "Moi?"  or "Io?" with suitable emphasis on the question mark.  Guaranteed communication of intent with the brothers and sisters of irony.  

There were times in your late teens and twenties where you were aware of irony, but those ironies were literary, dramatic.  They were the equivalent of espresso coffee with a thin twist of lemon rind, a much desired affect even though you were at some pains getting down a demitasse of the liquid.  Life had a sense of urgency about it for things, conditions, entanglements, even attitudes that were part of a life that seemed a step of two beyond reach.

The thirties and into the forties were purposeful years in which your own concerns about matters of artistry and integrity and  thematic payoff were so fraught with implication that you could scarcely see the irony forming before you, tugging at your sleeve in vain attempts to get serious and stay serious, lest you squander all your inheritance of focus and determination.

So apparently it was the you who stood knocking at the gate of the fifties for whom irony, in particular your own, became a matter of conversation you could carry on with yourself.  You were able to look about you, a witness to many of the persons you knew having signed loan agreements for personal integrity they had no chance of being able to pay, or, worse, convinced they had eluded the Faustian bargain only to be in its complete thrall.

Not that you were so remarkable in your difference, merely that you had chosen and forced different paths and outcomes.

What price have you paid to be here?  This is a good question to ask the characters you create, the ideas you bend and twist into viable forms, and the general sense of what chances you have for emerging from here with an opportunity to accomplish the ideals and goals of your teens and twenties vows to yourself.

Is the here you are at worth the price?  Perhaps, had you paid a bit more, you would be elsewhere.  Perhaps you paid too much.  Is there somewhere you would rather be and if so, have you done anything related to transporting you there?

Are there things present you may be overlooking to your detriment?

Questions, questions; all these questions you would neither have thought nor dared to ask earlier on because you were so impatient to get beyond where you were at the time to ask the questions then.

You are living with the irony of living in the presence of conditions now you desperately wished for at one time in the belief they were beyond you.  The irony you could not see is the fact that such things were largely beyond everyone at the early times of life.

The things you see and understand now are the things you were told you would see and understand when you were older, but the irony is that they do not make the sense you were told they would make.  Nothing makes the sense you were told it would make.  Indeed, the things you hoped would make sense by the time you arrived here do not make sense.

You are no longer worried about whether things make sense or not, a fact you take as an important practical step toward discovery of how the world works, how the universe works, and how you, among those most focused and purposeful predators of all time, work.

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