Friday, April 1, 2011

Barque on the Sea

It is odd that those who can least afford the expenditure so often devote incalculable energy to the resistance of the turmoil of life. No doubt the effort though futile is prompted by either the impending sense of defeat or the final opposition to the prospect. One may as well fling oneself upon one’s sword. This is unfortunate for two reasons: first, we are all of us but unimpressive barques upon the sea of hullabaloo that is life; second, there is no indignity in allowing one’s self to be carried upon the tides of turmoil when we have meanwhile applied ourselves as best we can to accomplishment of our modest objectives.

Inherent in this philosophy is the acceptance that life is both perpetual commotion and frequently the source of personal disturbance and anxiety. To expect that we can escape the whirlpool of agitation is to be blind to reality. On the other hand, one needn’t become despondent or defeatist. It is for example possible that the order one craves is to be found elsewhere than in the seemingly cold characteristics of life which affect us. For some the haven from the storm is religion. I however prefer a less dogmatic approach, at least as a solution to the routine disappointments of life (if one may be permitted to describe anything in life as routine). In any event, my interest is less about the ultimate salvation of one’s soul and more about coping with everyday challenges. In terms of strict analytical thinking, it is rudimentary that given an honest application to the task at hand there is only so much one can do. That is, if you give it your best shot, there is in any event nothing else to be done, so no amount of rebellion or objection to the prevailing winds will be anything more than surplusage, not to mention a waste of time and vigour.

One can be forgiven for considering such rationality as mere submission. On the other hand I challenge anyone to prove the deduction is otherwise lacking. Regrettably when battered by the storms of life we often succumb to its blast without recalling the value of what we have done already, as though we had expected to be entirely insulated from life’s randomness. What can we be thinking at such moments! Certainly there are some who go out of their way to precipitate misfortune. Most of us bear up under the yoke as best we can, and occasionally we must trip along the way. But a trip or a spill does not entail capitulation or surrender, though it may represent a reversal or setback. At most it might qualify as a source of frustration.

In the end the success or failure of our life is all about how we see it. There is no other satisfactory barometer. Notwithstanding the outcome of our exploits, I venture to say with no small conviction that none of us has anything beyond the experience of the moment of realization to enjoy. The product of our labour is at best a perquisite or at worst collateral damage. Neither entitlement nor devastation is assured in life. Getting there is what it’s all about, whether slipping quietly across the glassy sea or tossing about its rollicking waves.

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