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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  December 31, 2008

Reflections on 2008

My heaviest year, my most trying year. Things I was not ready for came regardless, some with the pointless stupidity of a violent death. Hangmen were paid and life went on. As I passed through the valley, a previously unvisited landscape came into view.

In sum, my best year ever despite great losses. Grand travels to strange and familiar places, most notably coming to enjoy 5am prayer calls in Islamic lands and then spending the best of spring and summer with Europe's varied flavors. Also several possible futures extinguished, including at least one marriage that will never be.

After losing a long love, finding deep Platonic love (so much more to give when you refuse to possess!) and renewed faith in the decency of the universe. Complicated considerations and a chance encounter with theater brought the simple realization that lasting friendship is more desirable than transitory passionate love, and that from a base of friendship anything further is possible.

Reckless romance almost succeeded in buying an incredible woman I've never met a house in a country neither of us has ever been to -- alas she too vanished like the dreams through which I know her best. Exquisite temptress!

Wonderful voyages through art, overcoming linguistic limits by having the most intelligent conversation in at least a decade without using any language, communicating entirely through music. Sapir-Whorf mocked by compelling counterexample.

A feeling of senseless death everywhere with too many possibilities prematurely aborted. Consequently gaining complete comfort with senselessness as common and typical, one more piece of modernity around which to navigate, but also increased perspective on the fragility of almost everything, how short a life we have to do what is necessary, and the brutal cost of frivolity and waiting.

What do you do when your greatest hopes vanish? You can only continue living, now a vagabond with a lighter sack. A loss is almost a gain; no longer any need to prepare room and contingencies to nourish a previously desired future that has died. It's gone and won't be coming back - make a new future. Thus a radical reduction to third world simplicity: nothing is waiting, thus freedom to wander with neither schedule or responsibility to anyone or anything. The world opens again, and it is not even spring yet.

Not bothered by total uncertainty because of no external expectations. I have nothing, thus nothing to assert, nothing to defend, and no worries about keeping it.

Unusual math: lowered hopes in others, lowered estimations of others, increased aspirations. Cheerful unbitter northern pessimism digging in for a long winter. Hopefully others are doing the best they can as they struggle with whatever troubles them. For personal preference: change locations to find where more rigorous and happy people reside? A long and circuitous path returning to previously discovered answers.

Feelings of freedom from form (all truths will shape themselves just fine), increasingly broad views including an immediate sense of unstated implications in all ideas and their inevitable consequences lingering far ahead. Every fact or claim seen in perspective of what must come with it, past, present, and future. Hidden elements in partial stories flare naked.

The volume of destruction and self-destruction are part of living in a terrible era, but this is the only one we can live in, so we must accept its character and effects, most importantly seeing them as they are without idealism or romanticism.

Skepticism towards all idealists and their desires: who wants something except those who do not have it and cannot create it? Wary of illusionists, romantic embellishments, imaginary worlds, and other delicious poisons.

Gravitation towards simplicity and destruction of pretense. Finding no resistance; others either lower their guard out of comfort or cease elaborate fictional explanations because they sense the impossibility of having incongruous tales and ornamentation believed.

Wonderful gifts from kind spirits: especially Ingmar Bergman! After visiting his Fårö this summer, reflection on his films as saying what we all know, but he says it so crisply and with delicate artistry. Proof that some films are actually worth watching, not just moron fodder for the perpetually bored suffering from free time. Realism, long intelligence and inner warmth of northern souls seeking others worthy of a chance. Are not all who are good people also neighbors with enough time to talk a little to one another out of more than utilitarianism?


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