Monday, November 29, 2010

Your Serve!

Life can provide incalculable annoyances. Because of the enormous variation of personal circumstances, the buffet of trouble which is spread before us is equally vast and particularized. The irritations which vex are strikingly well-suited to our present condition, seemingly capitalizing upon the underlying weaknesses of the moment. It would of course be stretching the point to imagine that there was anything other than mere randomness in this nastiness. The concept of fate and the visitation thereof in unwelcome fiery packages by various gods of the universe has long disappeared from the current vernacular. But at times it nonetheless leaves one thinking...
For the most part the ultimate consolation is simply to have escaped the final curtain. It hardly requires much reflection upon the world’s disasters to realize that there are always those whose misfortunes far outweigh one’s own. There is perhaps also comfort - though on a less dramatic level - in knowing that the rich and famous among us are not spared the indiscriminate scythe. Nor even the intellectuals in the crowd. Sometimes the point is brought home so cruelly as to target with unmerited disaster those who least deserve it. Life can be punishing and off-putting.

In the result, the question becomes what does one do in the meantime? Happily for most the prospect of throwing in the towel is neither attractive nor overwhelming, though sadly it is for some. Assuming however that one is reasonably content to grumble about life and continue to fashion some sense out of its daily opportunities and misadventures, a more robust approach is required. Personally I find that drawing upon our brute animal characteristics is distinctly more helpful in these matters than retiring to the philosophical forum of uniquely human nature. Humanity, for all the wonderful things that can be said of it, tends I find to ignore the overriding importance of instinct, for example. That rudimentary business about “fight or flight” is essential to the rock-bottom resolution of one’s difficulties. It is those in-born patterns of behaviour which in the end are very often our only salvation. Responding to those necessities at least clears the table of superfluous and mind-boggling data. As has been so oft observed, half the battle is not so much knowing the answer but rather the question. A succinct approach to life enables one to see more clearly, and this may temporarily at least require a return to our animate being.

Having said that, a modicum of moralizing is not without its place, especially for those of us for whom the whereabouts of our next meal is not entirely obscure. Certainly there has to be a bit of room left upon the ladder of life for idle contemplation before the consideration of one’s next move. One of course would hope that some such thoughtfulness would provide the foundation for more elevated debate than might otherwise be provided by inherent aptitude. What springs to mind are sayings such as “Man does not live by bread alone” and that sort of thing. Besides it is uplifting to conceive a grander objective for oneself than mere satisfaction of one’s appetites, always a tiresome subject in the final analysis.

On the balance I no more than anyone else have the answer to life’s problems and conundrums. I will however assert that it is better to hold one’s head up and not allow oneself to be beaten down by life’s knottiness. Sometimes all one can do is wager that one course of conduct or another will penetrate the veil of disillusionment before we become completely disenchanted with the conditions which accompany or influence us. It’s worth the try!

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