Sunday, January 13, 2019

Losing My Edge

I began to write about security but became unsure. I realized that anyone reading what I wrote might think that I was referring to financial security, or sexual, national, or anything else that fills in the blank. No matter how I looked at what I was writing it was wrong unless I wrote very explicitly, which then seemed like a confession. There are forms of security in health, self-possession, romantic, and in the basic belief of one's own goodness, and many more. Few of these feelings overlap very much with the others, and most all of them rely on some sense of abundance, or a mechanism to have internal needs met, often by others. It is easy to blur satisfaction with security, in the same way people confuse pleasure with happiness, contention with love, and lubrication for the temporary delights of friction.  

Whatever works is my policy. That's why we must build the wall! Security, you see. 

You can add the phrase "a sense of" before the word security and it will be equally accurate, if not more so. 

My conclusion: security is oftenest an illusion that depends heavily on the illusions of others, and confidence is a form of ignoring the darkest truths of your own imagination. Even the most confident of people must tremble when a doctor privately utters the word "cancer" to them in their office. Followed by the word malignant. 

We must move fast. Few sustain a sense of security in such situations. Imagine walking to your car in the parking lot alone, knowing that you must call your significant other or your lone parent and find the words to say what must be said. Heart attacks, likewise, have a crumbling effect on the sense of safety. I've never had one, but I've seen someone having one. They seemed so very concerned about the future, and of course the present. I recall seeing my father thusly, twice before he disappeared. 

Well, I had not meant to go so dark so soon in this post. But yes, cancer and heart attacks, in case you had forgotten. That's what I wake up chanting to myself now.... my mantra is the word hypertension... it relaxes me. If you're like me - a white male living in the US in 2010 - then this matrix should help you relax a bit. 49.5% of deaths for white men between the ages of 20-24 is stupidity. 

It just occurred to me that the last post I wrote was as a substitution for what would have otherwise been an email response to an occasional reader here. I had meant to write her back, but wrote an unrelated post instead. Does such self-involvement also reduce one's sense of security?

I don't know, but I am a deeply self-involved person, or that is what I tell myself. I thought that I was the relatively moderate one among my friends in terms of living within one's own thoughts, but in mid-life I realized that no, I had just surrounded myself by others who were far worse than me, at least in that one regard. Having your own child can cause you to be less permissive and understanding of childishness in adults, though I hate that effect, rather than relishing it. I want my friends to be silly and selfish. It seems to make possible, or perhaps only easier, the act of creativity. Or, perhaps silliness and selfishness can be the result of creativity. I can suffer whimsy if there is creative output, but what does that say? What a horrible thing to think and feel, that it's time that whimsy produces something useful. Aging is the horror in which the room empties of all but you and your belief that life should be a certain way.

Watching kids will teach you much of what you need to know concerning the tyranny and triumph that is human interaction at the imaginative level. I sit with a (now) seven year old and we work on Lego projects, somewhat together. The impulse to exert your will over that of another's, for the presumed betterment of the creation, runs deep and strong and knows no age. Encouragement gives way to quiet exasperation, then my eventual admission that the boy had a much better idea for a submarine shaped interstellar space laser guided (and firing) ship than I did. It was the shark-shaped fin he added to the top that did it, etc. 

Never go toe-to-toe with a seven year old in a Lego battle. That is my wisdom. Once he's done I will pretend that I just thought of a name for the ship, knowing that I had been thinking of it all along, wanting to somehow brand the thing with an indelible tag that includes me in the creative process. He'll just add another shark fin on the bottom and rename it to his liking. That is his wisdom.