Removing the dominating handicap of my emotional life didn’t free me of problems. Rather, it freed me to recognize that I had a different sort of problem to solve, which was to find a direction for my life. — Providence, Daniel Quinn
Reflection upon reflection.
I can’t assimilate and process the passing of years.
It’s hackneyed (what isn’t these days?) but life’s a gift, or so we’re told, one bestowed on us without our blessing or consent and then we’ve to live it.
And, I’ve struggled to understand what I’m supposed to do with it.
As I’ve written about here and elsewhere, too much of my life has been filled to the brim with dull, uninteresting work and that’s been of my own choosing, despite the fact that I’ve never played happily in the sandpit of compliance. Even now, I’m unsettled and troubled in equal measure that I can’t escape a world I feel so out of sorts with. The work — i.e. law — is, well, bland and even when I’m called upon to express a well-wrought, considered opinion, truth is, my paymasters aren’t that interested in either the analysis or the answer. I’m lucky I suppose: I’ve got a job but I can’t help feel that I’m filling my boots with dead days wherein there will be nothing to remember save one or two conversations that went off the straight and narrow.
If this sounds like good old fashioned navel-gazing then I suppose it is but it’s all I’ve got left save, of course, keeping up appearances and living up to a moral order so out of touch with reality. You know the version I’m talking about, surely? The one that says you’ve got to do as you’re told, get a good job, work your sorry arse off and then, well, if you’re very lucky, retire, so that you can reconnect with your humanity. No thanks, albeit I’ve been saying that for way too long!
Does this make me depressed? My wife has muttered something of the sort and my kids, or at least my youngest, has chided me for being so darn bleak, but however much I try, I still can’t seem to rise above the din of (at times) hopelessness that echoes through my weary soul.
Why is that?
It has a lot to do with what I’ve unearthed and now understand about the destruction of the earth and the mass murder of so many sentient beings — all during my lifetime. I constantly ask myself: how the hell did it get like this?; and I struggle to piece together any semblance of an explanation apropos my inactivity or worse still being asleep at the wheel as the good ship ‘normal’ was taking us to the cliff edge of the living, breathing world that is or rather was our life support system. It’s all well and good to blame the media, or the ineffectual political class, or the robber barons or whatever else might have racked up so much ecological hurt but it’s me that’s at fault. No one else. All this mellifluous talk about nature, coming alive to true self and whatever else closed down my anthropocentric line of sight obscures the fact that when we — that’s my generation — were all maxing out on the excesses of the 1980s etc., I don’t recall a single voice advocating for a different way of life. All the talk was of growth, economic prosperity, innovation and a better quality of life. Yeh, right! Look how’s that worked out? Truth is, we were willfully blind to the obvious and we’re all culpable. Sure, if I bothered to do my homework, I’d find that there were some voices decrying our comfort-seeking ways, but they were drowned out by the mass media who didn’t want anyone to piss on our hedonistic, consumer culture.
To elide my sense of hopelessness, I could get busy with the anarchist programme but it’s not something that floats my boat. In fact, anything that comes with a label marked ‘solution’ makes me feel a bit icky. I know that sounds harsh but all I see right now is a gaggle of people trying — no harm in that you might say — to make a living out of the resurrection of our more animistic souls. Or to put it less prosaically, they’re trying to sell their products and services designed to clean up our human-centred mess. To my mind, it’s a bit late for that particularly when we’re so addicted to our current way of life which shows up in our upwards only CO2 emissions, the bloated snake of resource extraction and killing off anything that gets in our anthropocentric way.
I know this sounds weak and ineffectual for a bloke that’s marked up his profiles on Twitter and LinkedIn as a spiritual and cultural activist, but you don’t need to beat down the walls of the corporate elites or daub paint on buildings to live up to the regnant label — at least that’s my considered view.
At some stage, I may find a job or work that fills me, if not with excitement, then certainly less ennui than is currently the case but I’m not holding my breath. If anything, I still feel the best thing I could do is slip away from the gaze of social media to live what’s left of my life in a nice quiet way, not troubling anyone with my angst. We’ll just have to see. I do know that time is marching on and it won’t be long before my wife and I turn sixty. I’m not big on milestones but that sure feels like one, if only because I do hope by then I’ve found a settled place to live out the rest of my natural days.
Anyhow, enough of my melancholic chit chat. Onwards.