Alcibiades 1

Where does a day go let alone a life? This errand, that chore; some pain, some pleasure. Night falls stealthy when you look away from the patio door–gold, purple sunset becomes dark night lit by bluish bug zappers accross the back alley. Movies or music or talk fill up moments to bedtime where whatever book holds the great secret is perused until sleep loosens fingers and the truth slips softly to the floor, losing the page.

To wake up and recognize your limited talent is both a good and a bad thing. But to discover that you also have little energy for copying, let alone creating, is worst of all. Who among us will work as hard as Woody Guthery or Charlie Chaplin when telling a story? How much time slips away doing nothing? I know that I am lazy, too often melancholic and slothful. When I do find myself working, my mind is more like a woodburning engine that I stoke with the wonderful inventions and contraptions of other creators’ minds, burning their output as my fuel.

You know… wonder-fuel.

Oh well… I try to be honest about it. I am something else now than what everyone, so very many, are doing themselves and say that I should do. I wasn’t always like that… I mean, that while I now have reasons for not going along, I once just bucked trends out of sheer stubborness.

You see, I would have been a figure so amazing to others that they would whisper when I come into their crowds, show me deference, and pay me all the attention I desired. I thought that I was Yoda or Gandalf. But I was always more of a Jaba the Hut or, dare I admit it, wretched Golem.

Was I good son? a good brother? a good friend? a good student? Helpful–I like to be helpful–yet I know that I nag sometimes in the name of assistance. Neither a savior nor a temptor, someone in between who often helps for selfish reasons, for greed or for lust or, maybe worse, just for attention. So as a boy I wanted to be a leader, to take charge, to save my compratiots. But I failed miserably as a hero.

When I got older, I began to comprehend that there are two paths of heroic leadership. One directs by wielding power and giving orders. The other leads by drawing others out of themselves to be themselves and to decide for themselves. The former is a means; the latter is an end. As the best way, the first is protection. As the best target, the second is happiness. Between, that is where education happens. When the means and the end are harmonious, we do not see that the teacher is the greatest of all leaders for (s)he helped us to find who we are. And finding who we are by following the practices of someone we loved most dearly, we often do not see that it is we who must save ourselves.

So the truth within my own solitude was a slow idea dawning, sitting compassionately beside all my attempts to be acknowledged by others as someone greater than I ever will be. As I would run and play with friends, my singular-within would sit and fashion poetry that I should here, should turn and should see from whence such music came. But I was deaf most of the time, letting it float out of me, lost among mass moments. I am so sad when such real time, such quick time, slips into a crowd of fake, slow mentality. Pushing myself physically and spiritually I long to break free, to pull out of this abstract society that judges its abstractions as the real. Can I turn back toward profound insights without the teaming masses pushing what they say, how they put themselves before my own saying?

Preconception blocks inception.

For more than two years, my vocation was to pour buckets of perpetual light onto the dirty words I brought forth in my journals and papers. Wiping away the crust, I longed to see the soft pliability of speaking: the wonderous strange liquid core. Or maybe I would bring about some philosophic golden-layered sunstone to coalesce in perfected, sure knowledge: the Good in the Palm of the Hand.

But I always found myself back at the beginning, not where I was going but from whence I came. A new blank first page in a new blank notebook.

This gave me insight into what Karl Jaspers, T. S. Elliot, George Santayana, and so many others must have been saying: If we do not always seek to grasp the past firmly, then the future will already hold us as predetermined.

Dedication & Prelude     –     Next

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