Sunday, February 08, 2009

there are more things in heaven and earth than are imagined in your philosophy

listing grievances or putting out a log of my existence never feels very satisfying. I don't like to wallow in my own life. I spend enough of my time having to deal with that which surrounds me, no reason to push it into my writing as well. It's sometimes unavoidable though.

I'd rather write about characters who aren't me. I'd rather tell stories about people who have different problems, and different proclivities. Somehow that's not what occurs. The only character I truly know is myself, and even that comes into doubt. So I write about myself again and again trying to dissect the contradictory person I am. It's a troublesome process. All I ever feel is drained.

Self criticism also only goes so far. How long before railing against my ills and insufficiencies makes those things the centre of my being? It's all in a mess of self doubt that I can't quite reconcile with anything else.

Where does all my self awareness get me? If I cannot change that which I feel, and think by being aware of my own insufficiencies, does it matter that I know? Does knowledge ever make up for anything?

God how I wish I knew. I feel like I would rather be fully aware of a tragic fate than uncertain with a possibility of happiness. All this damn waiting and uncertainty makes for such a bother. The things that I was so deeply attracted to in high school seem to have correlates now. What I loved in Shakespear makes more sense for my current state than for my state in adolescence. My fascination with Hamlet, and with Othello, these tragic characters, makes far more sense when looking at who I have become than when looking at who I was.

In Hamlet's famous soliloquy towards the middle of the play he hits on something really poignant, for reference I'll add some of the preceding matter. Mind you this is from memory and I haven't read Hamlet for a number of years, so forgive any inaccuracies:

to be or not to be, that is the question, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a see of troubles and by opposing end them. To die, To sleep, perchance to dream but in that sleep of death what dreams may come

That's the thing that always sticks out, that undiscovered country is what holds us back from death, and even from the future. We prefer those evils which we know to those we have no accounting of. Even an improvement which is foreign scares many, simply for its newness.

It is a fundamentally human trait, this fear of the new. We are uncomfortable with change. That's partly why I think I might rather know for sure of some horrible fate than have to wait and see if things will turn out alright.

I know that isn't really the case, I'm fine being left in the dark and waiting for the uncertain, but the central urge to avoid the new, and stay with the routine still bites at my innards.

That's what this is all about, those things that still grab at me despite my better efforts. Days where I cry for no reason, and days where I feel like I could take on the world despite objective evidence to the contrary. These are the things that are so puzzling. Who am I if I have no control?

I notice that most of this post is (are) questions (not sure if that's the correct grammar for the sentence). I can't help but feel that's what most of our existence is. If this is the era of anything it is the era of knowledge. It is knowledge, or whatever we think knowledge is that defines us. That includes the questions we ask, and the things we think we know.

Which knowledge we chose to ignore and which we chose to take up, which things we chose to put forth as knowledge despite their lack of supporting evidence. Hell even a latching on to evidence as a support for our mental conception of the world.

We are now so defined by what we know, or by what people say we know. I'm rather ambivalent about that. Everyone thinks they have a truth. We are back into a modernist world where the virtues are meta-narrative and Truth (capital T).

Everyone has their knowledge and sticks to it, and that leaves me here in my bubble of uncertainty. I am stuck knowing that all of our ideas are based on ephemera. We are in Plato's cave, seeing only the shadows. We do not see objects, we see the light that they reflect. We do not ever touch things, we are only influenced by the fields around them. We do not ever know anything, because the truth of science (and even that isn't immutable) is that it must be able to be proven wrong. We are uncertain, as much so as we always have been.

"there are more things in heaven and earth than are imagined in your philosophy"

1 comment:

Dreamwriter said...

This is an excellent post and very well written...I have a hard time writing about others, maybe because I am non-fiction writer and I just can easily write about myself because I am more in touch with my feelings and thoughts :)