Quarter after eight.
It’s yet another gray morning in the Northwest. I haven’t thought about Les Miserables for a while. Just to finish reading it would be an accomplishment. But then the book is done and over with. It’s like saying goodbye to it… I’m uninspired and don’t know much today. Yesterday morning I noticed that the school bus was parked in the lot for Valley Restaurant Equipment across from the store. The driver was taking a coffee break. Life goes on for everybody, and yet it’s such an intellectual desert in this community. Maybe that’s why a visit to church is desirable. Somewhere there must be someone with a hungry mind. I feel kind of the way Emerson did before he broke with Christianity and commenced on his own oratory career. He is well known for saying we ought to use our own judgment to determine the truth. Nowadays, hardly anyone does this; we’re like pilot whales following the leader, often to beach ourselves aground. We are discouraged more and more from thinking for ourselves. The emphasis on unity and conformity only guarantees our ignorance, which is not bliss. The world needs another band like Rush to infuse it with curiosity and the precious thing called reason. Without this, we just keep eating cheeseburgers, fattening ourselves for the slaughter of our souls.
Six o’clock. I feel a lot better now than I did yesterday at this time. Even the very worst feelings are temporary. It doesn’t bother me that music hasn’t worked out so far. I have other activities to keep me happy. I didn’t buy a soda today, but got ice cream instead. Vanilla bean. Aesop was pretty good about letting me take out the trash. Someone’s ideas got under my skin and did some damage for a few weeks. Now I don’t remember whose they were, and right now I’m free from guilt. Opinions are like buttholes: everybody has one. I don’t believe in filtering out every undesired thought that occurs to me. This is unnatural. It is more human to acknowledge every impulse in ourselves. It is more vital. Rational restraint and control over your mind is a conservative thing. Funny how Eve and Pandora, those who released all the evils in the world, were both women. They had a liberal curiosity that men were suspicious of. The kind of man I admire would be someone like Walt Whitman, whose feminine side was as active as his masculine. Dunno; without curiosity, life would be rather boring. If you leave so many avenues of the mind unexplored, how much will you have missed at your deathbed? The wise person is the one who knows himself.
I can do a little thinking about Unamuno now, although I haven’t finished the book. Basically there’s this concept of “the man of flesh and bone” that suggests to me that religion is more realistic than philosophy. Christianity and the real sociopolitical world are virtually inseparable in the West. The words on the sign outside the Eugene Mission: “Food, Bed, Gospel.” This differs from the Oracle at Delphi: “Know Thyself.” Or the motto of Phi Beta Kappa: “Love of Wisdom, the Guide of Life.” The real world has no use for knowledge and wisdom beyond what is necessary for survival, which Unamuno calls “preservation.” Hence I look around and see my sister’s family moiling and money grubbing, having for a creed the freely available New King James Version. I say this standing in the shoes of Miguel de Unamuno. But when I step out of them, I can think of at least two friends whose attitudes belie survival mode wretchedness, or is the word “misery?” Of course people have curiosity that goes beyond their next cheeseburger. You don’t meet them everywhere or every day, but they do exist. Without them, this blog I started would have expired long ago. It is to them I dedicate this post. Thank you all for three hundred follows!
Nine o’clock. After hubris comes correction, compensation in a dream of a second kitchen fire. The firefighters happened to be next door and simply moved forward to answer my 911 call. They offered me a ride somewhere in a flimsy white glider as remedy. I argued to my parents that we could live with the smoke damage this time. They disagreed, so we took the glider ride. The dream ended when I was climbing up a latticework, intending to jump off like a cocky acrobat and be caught in a safety net. But this time there was no net… The implication is that God, nature, Lady Luck or what have you has me over a barrel, so it’s better to be thankful for what I have than complain and chafe against it. The force of nature knows best and what is best for me, regardless of how many times people ask me the stupid question of when my house will be ready. And so I accept my lot, as my friends and acquaintances also should do.