Friday, February 1, 2008

Contemplation

Interestingly, after months of constant thought about Lynda, it was thoughts about my father which dominated yesterday after an email exchange with my brother prompted me to think of him. Suddenly I find myself missing him, wondering what kind of counsel he might offer me these days. It's been so long since I even considered how much I used to talk with him that I am surprised. Of course, it is natural that the last year focused my attention on my mother, to the detriment of not just my father's memory. Unfortunately, I haven't forgotten his kindness and willingness to listen, but I do not seem to have inherited these traits.

Lost, then, in the drive to work and fundamentally need to support myself and my family, is the tenderness and understanding that comes with contemplation. Bill certainly had time for thought, and at the end of his life, reached a kind of spiritual understanding that I secretly mocked but in hindsight it appears to have been out of envy more than spite, since I understand endemically that I will not ever reach a similar understanding, my tendency to think constantly notwithstanding. No, thought for me leads to action, not paralysis, mostly because I think my thoughts are in keeping with the majority of human contemplation, mundane and boring, elevated only past the functions of eating and excretion by a single degree. It is that very degree of separation which leads me inevitably to work.

Unlike more powerful and imaginative thinkers such as my father, I am not really capable of generating much creative thought in an abstract sense, so I am instead driven to act, to do something with my time that at least allows me the illusion of being productive, even if it is nothing more than a sysiphyian task. Also unlike those individuals such as Bill who are able to think clearly enough to see the result and therefore determine that the effort to get there is not worth it, I have no such clear vision and must, in a the most clouded of states, plod forward like a draught horse in the furrows, glad for the direction if a little melancholy that the path is forever straight. Free from these constraints, creative individuals are capable of much greater imaginative constructions (if only, in some cases, merely mental) can indeed soar to great heights, though I confess from where I stood, it seemed like my father could get no further than the kitchen table on most days.

Oh well, while I do realize that my limitations need not be imposed on others in my care, I cannot help but wonder what it would be like if I could in fact keep from allowing my personal shortcomings (as in, the absence of creative vision and compassion for the purely contemplative life) from hindering those around me. Here's a thought: If in fact, I could remove, or even diminish the destructive tendencies I have imposed on others, would the lives of those oppressed by those tendencies be bettered, or would they simply seek out another source of opposition?

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