Saturday, February 07, 2004

You wrote, Beth:
From my viewpoint, peace on these issues [identity/masquerade] is possible only when one is conscious of the decisions one has made and more or less accepts them, as well as the fact that we are, essentially, unknowable. But I wonder what you think.

I think you're quite right. And of course I was not giving anything like the whole story. I am also a prudent, even calculating, man, the sort who hedges his bets, keeps his insurance up to date, and carefully chooses when & where to come unglued. It's just a story. All these characterizations of myself are just stories. "Essentially unknowable" -- you are so right -- not only because even the paltriest of us is too large to fit into any story, but also because there's nothing essential there to be known. The wind blows through us, whether we acknowledge it or not, and what it blows through is air.

Choices. I wonder. I'm responsible for them, of course, if anyone is. Certainly laying the responsibility for them upon anyone else would be absurd. But I find the concepts of choice and responsibility difficult. Increasingly I wonder if they really describe anything, or if they're just more stories we tell, when we're trying to convince ourselves that we're more like a statue than like a brief gust of wind. I look for the decider, I look for the decision -- I don't find anything. Nothing but stories made up after the fact. "Once upon a time there was a boy named Dale, and he decided not to waste his life, and later he decided not to become an academic, and then he decided to become a programmer" -- what a pack of lies. All those things just happened. I just happened. At some point something becomes obvious -- say, that I'm never going to be a professor. So I announce my "decision." My firm resolve not to pursue an academic career. But that's just because people needed a story, and the old one, a little too obviously, didn't fit any more.

And all the time the wind blows harder.

I'm spinning along on a couple hours sleep, and I may well be making no sense. "Enough, or too much!" -- it doesn't matter. You matter, Beth. Even I matter. But this little sequence of thought, crawling in my mind, like a spider doggedly trying to climb out of a slippery sink -- no.

Love. I give you the wind and the stars and the gray clouds. The flowers of Santa Cruz, Yeats's rose, and Padmasambhava's lotus. Good night.

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