Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who Cares!

In the scheme of things, there isn’t much that really matters. However, I regrettably find it difficult to distance myself entirely from the irksome details of daily living. There is always debate about what constitutes the anathema of life, but it is fairly safe to say that the popular opinion (even though perhaps wrongly held at times) is that it is others. Philosophically (and in contradiction to this thesis) one is inclined to reject the visceral reaction and turn the sword upon oneself, on the theory that we are ultimately responsible for our own happiness, and that we cannot conveniently blame others for disrupting our inner peace. As a practical matter though this generous and cerebral schmaltz seldom holds water for long. Instinct, the demonic thing that it is, prevails in the end.

Learning to rise above it all is not without its challenges. There are frankly times when I would like to come down heavily on certain conduct which I find particularly annoying. Invariably I live to regret such precipitous action, whether because I am too self-conscious or because I genuinely don’t believe in the legitimacy of my complaint. It is likely true that the offending elements of social conduct are bilateral, and that neither party is free from fault. At the very least, disagreement commands some degree of compassion and understanding, since it is so difficult to know exactly what it is the motivates actions which appear so patently wrong in the eyes of the observer.

Sometimes it is advisable to let one’s sentiments be known. Harboring a sour feeling can ultimately poison both parties. Strong wills get in the way, of course, and often it is nothing more than a battle of wits (a.k.a., Cat Fight) to see who’s left standing when the dust settles, but equally as frequently with undesirable consequences. On the balance, it is probably far better to avoid the catastrophe in the first place, and embrace what one knows in one’s heart (or, in that other repository called our head, our better judgement) to be the safer and more prudent course, as difficult as it may be to do so. To be frank, the only thing which mitigates against such caution is the burning desire to get one’s own way, especially if one feels injured by the conduct of another. When the fuel that keeps such fires burning is predominantly emotional (characterized by the usual signals of anger, rising temperature and blood pressure, etc.), it is advisable to call a time-out and put some space between oneself and the issue or people at hand. Miraculously it works.

When all is said and done, how much more desirable it is to live in a world without strife, no matter who is right or wrong. Does it really matter?

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