we were going thru my old books. altho raised as an anglican, at 51 i find myself to be an agnostic. or am i? if i believe everything’s connected, isn’t that kind of spiritual? i guess i’m a believer, i’m just not a god-on-sunday-church believer. or even a christian. still, i kept a couple of translations of the bible, and my book of common prayer and my book of alternative services (partly for sentimental reasons, partly cuz their part of my past, partly cuz they may be part of my future, partly for the wisdom–not for the patriarchy–they contain). my social worker dropped off man’s search for meaning by viktor frankl, a psychiatrist. his is called existential therapy. i got questions, maybe he’s got answers. probably not the ones i’m expecting, if any. i strongly suspect there is no answer. but i may be wrong…
so what are my questions? serious ones, not will the leafs ever win the cup again? wait a sec, that is serious. cuz i don’t care anymore, for one. should i? will i? what’s changed (besides the captain)? is there external meaning, or is it up to me? is it really the searching, the questing, that’s meaningful? ‘what ails thee?’ someone once asked. that’s a searching question. is it about altruism or compassion? is it about the acceptance of ambiguity, or the finding of certainty, or something of the two–perhaps a balance, perhaps a tussle? if there’s ambiguity, can i rest with that? can i keep searching though i may be certain? can i be compassionate if it’s all about me? the questions keep coming….
frankl wrote this book in 1945 based on his years in concentration camps. what hope did he see? what hope did he have? what humour? are hope and humour essential to concentration camp survival? are hope and humour essential to survival, period? will i survive, til i die? meaning, can i find meaning?
ironically, my monitor is going on the fritz. right now, it’s okay most of the time. it may seem like a small thing and unrelated to this search for meaning, but a monitor is my window to the outside world and helps me in my search; yet the disposal of this monitor and the purchase of a new one presents an ethical dilemma; in fact, why dispose of it? why not repair it? we tried that with the tv. who repairs monitors these days in canada? i read a d-i-y post; the guy abandoned the project and bought a new one. another determined and tech-savvy person also gave up eventually and wrote, ‘I’ve always thought HP was founded by Mr Hewlett and Mr Packard with quality in mind, but after the problems [I experienced]…, I can see that business pressures have changed the company (and the world).’ disposal is really landfill, is waste; disposal means throwaway, means participation in this consumer culture. or does it, fully? one of the precepts in philip taylor’s modernity and re-enchantment is practising mindful consuming.
also, doesn’t the search for alternatives mean resistance? doesn’t the search alone mean something? nothing is pure, nothing is black and white (except some species). at the extremes you’ll find black and white. but it’s mostly, as a friend says, shades of grey. who wants to be extreme?
if the leafs win the cup, tho, i might be extreme. seriously, is meaning only found in extremes? what if you search for meaning in the middle?