Tuesday, October 18, 2005
The Moments In Between
I had a wise philosophy teacher once in college who taught that in debate one's task is "to render your opponent epistemologically self-conscious.'' A worthy goal, I think, for a writer as well. How does the weatherman know it will rain tomorrow? How does the economist know that unemployment will continue to climb next month? How do we know where we are most of the time? How do we view being human? We all carry an implicit view of humanity, even if we don't always acknowledge it. Some think people are animals, not much different than dogs or cats or perhaps even raccoons; some think humans are minor Gods, a little lower than the angels but slightly above magicians. Sigmund Freud's vision of human existence is 180 degrees from the view of Abraham Maslow, and the Buddha's vision is 3600 degrees away from both Freud's and Maslow's... okay so that "may" just be a slight exaggeration... maybe not.
What is reality? In philosophy, the study of reality falls under the topic of metaphysics. A belief in God expresses a metaphysic. So does a disbelief in God. A belief in a meaningful universe expresses a metaphysic. So does a belief in a chaotic or random universe. What's important to me as a writer is to recognize that whether we reflect upon it or not, every one of us has in him or her some sustained belief about reality. I find myself lost amid numerous realities... floundering about for some sort of road sign or at the very least... a fragment of a road map.
But then I begin to find that "clarity" we all speak about whenever we are feeling particularly "inspired"... and so I shed the illusions of the day and ponder it for a brief moment. And in that moment I realize that is precisely where LIFE occurs... it's somewhere in those moments "in between". The seemingly inconsequential periods when we are sorting through what we perceive as the "mundane". But is it really mundane? Or are we simply unaware?
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