Monday, January 4, 2016

The Dent

It would likely surprise most of us to discover how common we are. But hang on!  This isn't going to be a bad thing! I employ the word "common" in this sense; namely, prevalent (as opposed to ordinary and unexceptional).  In fact, in the sense that I am using the term "common" there is nothing either ordinary or unexceptional about it. It is on the contrary quite extraordinary and equally exceptional that many of us share almost identical inclinations regarding certain things in life which privately might often engender a degree of personal embarrassment.  I am not talking of anything lascivious nor of bodily functions, just everyday things.  In matters of many everyday things, we're all alike.

Take for example the plight of those suffering a dent to their much favoured automobile.  It doesn't matter that the automobile is an antique, classic, vintage or brand new, the strength of a dent is in any of these circumstances equally forceful.  Notwithstanding this forcefulness it is to be acknowledged that a small dent is hardly earth shattering and that obsession about it risks betraying what could easily be considered a deeper inadequacy.  If by chance you are not a car buff it might perhaps assist in the absorption of this inconsequential dilemma to consider the impact of a knick or scratch to a piece of fine mahogany furniture or a prized bit of crystal.  Ask yourself, "Is it merely the patina of life?"  "Does one effectively dismiss such matters as trifling?"  "What after all does it really matter in the scheme of things?"

Well here is where I say it would likely surprise most of us to discover how common we are.  There are in fact entire congregations of people whose lives have been insinuated with these and similar "obsessions".  I regret that I must in fact use the word obsession because anything less evocative fails to capture the gripping nature of the condition.  Besides that's what makes the characterization of the analysis so spellbinding.  What is however relieving is that basically none of us is alone in our picayune affectations.

If one prefers to distance oneself from the mediocrity of such preoccupation then one must embrace the incremental and seemingly irreversible decline and decay of life. This in my opinion is an utter capitulation! On this theory there is no point in brushing one's teeth, we may as well settle in for the long and inevitable diminution of time! I on the other hand prefer rejuvenation to a slow death.

Arguably there is no point in striving for endless perfection if one denies the possibility of it. But even if I am defeated on that account, I'm still not prepared to be thrown over for that reason alone.  Resisting the effect of the tides of life is, in spite of being ostensibly an uphill battle, still worthwhile. There is a reward to be had in attempting to reverse that tide.  In doing so one must enlist what is as perfect as possible by way of emendation even if it is impossible to recapture the original state. To return to my metaphor of the car dent, I know from personal experience (having endured countless dents and dings on various automobiles) that in the hands of a professional, the restorative surgery is guaranteed to be a complete success.  And speaking of surgery I also know that medical surgeons can in fact make things better than they were in the first place, not just repairing the problem but making the one's body stronger than it ever was.  You have to admit that that kind of intelligence is not to be shunned.

This obliges me to reiterate that the alternative to doing what we know should be done is inevitable distress.  It is impossible to argue one's way out of this dilemma; it isn't a high-school debate where winning is all that counts.  No matter how shameful one feels about being so intent upon this sad little plight of no real consequence, you're fooling yourself if you think it will vanish as a concern.  You might be able to sideline the issue for a while. It may be a day or so before the itchiness returns, but it will return. Ignoring the small detail of even a scratch is but the slippery slope of ruin and depression.  It will eventually lead to a philosophic reassessment of materialism and the comparative value of spiritualism alone.  Be warned that if the persuasion of that argument leans in favour of spiritualism you must be prepared to abandon your affection for things.  Ask yourself, "How important is that stuff anyway?"  If there is any contention then you are hobbled.  You must at last address the repair of the dent.

As I am sure you know, the Universe is ultimately personal.  Whatever may be the trashy details of our ordinary lives, those details nonetheless are illustrative of the greater principles of life.  Granted we may not dignify the persuasion of our customary inclinations as "universal" but they often are.  Our nature as a human being is not so removed from decent and evolution that any one of us can pretend to be entirely unique.  Neither will I suggest we are cookie-cutter models, but we have more in common than we might imagine.

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