The last year has flown by. We’ve lost a few more Loved Ones. Walking seems a little harder and falling on the ice doesn’t help. Pneumonia seems to come and go on its own schedule. But there are wonders… a great-grand-daughter born, more grand-children coming of age, graduations and the like. Bernie is as beautiful as ever and spending days with our grandson, Alex. I’m cooking a little more and playing Apex Legends. Listening to the incredible free music being made and presented on SoundCloud and, of course, finishing up Jim Butcher’s monumental and masterful classic “Dresden Files” (for the sixth time)–where you can always find some tidbit of wisdom to ponder for the day….
Not writing a lick. Though I am preparing to start another book. Actually most of it is already written, I just have to finish two meaty parts and string it all together. But there is no certainty when, or if, I’ll accomplish that. There is always the question of why. After all, I’ve written so many that no one has ever read it has to be vanity or ego that keeps me doing it, n’it? At least people are listening to some of the music we did now–that’s gratifying in a way that words can hardly express. It’s not that I haven’t gotten enough pats on the back in my life, I just hoped to excel at something before it was over that people who were not relatives or friends might appreciate. Selfish I know but that’s how we were all raised back then….
My guilts are as heavy as concrete, and my regrets thick as clouds of grasshoppers at an eastern New Mexico truck stop. I make it by with duoloxetine and valium and a rare nightly breath of hashish (if I’ve got it). If you’re shocked by that you don’t know me very well. My hips have long since worn away the cartilage in the joints, so pain is my bestest friend. I’m probably not thinking clearly to be publishing this to the world on a blog but I’m way past caring about where all this is going. I realize how much of an over-blown, egotistical, opinionated, right-on-the-edge maniac I’ve always been– best described by the word JERK– but I’ve reconciled myself to that reality.
I started this as a simple update but realize I’ve descended into the depths without giving you any warning. Perhaps that’s what getting older means. One is always prone to reflective observations, primarily about the past. It’s like when you sit down to dinner with friends or relatives your age you haven’t seen or talked to recently and the topic invariably shifts to the seemingly hilarious cliche’; stale; banal: hackneyed; trite; topic of doctors, pains, illnesses, and the passing of familiar faces. I’m not going to do that here.
Rather I’m going to reflect on the nature of unexpected consequences. Much of my life seemed directed at determining truths, performing rituals accurately and genuinely in the manner I was taught, denying the inherent power of my actions and thus escaping any responsibility for them. I moved with assuredness, convinced in our direction, expecting to exert some control on our future–never assessing the weaknesses of my personality, never courting silence, never fully listening. Rejecting, in every way the traditional lessons I had been encouraged learn and practice, like a snake so intent on the prairie dog I know is in the burrow below that I’ve ignored the shadow of the hawk stalking me above.
So, in my early elderly period I’m changing my focus. I used to be focused on what to do. Now that I’m able to look back on the actual results of what I’ve done, I realize there is little correlation between what I expected the results of those actions to be and what actually occurred in the lives of the people I both effected and affected. I know now that I had no clue what the result of my words and pronouncements (i.e. beliefs) would have on my children, how my actions might confuse or inspire them, and what lessons and knowledge they would take away or retain for their adulthood. Having now been able to assess this subject more accurately, I have determined that the consequences of any one action, let alone the myriad amount of influences and situations each person experiences, cannot be known.
It is now my “opinion” that consequences cannot be predicted. Despite the scientific search for certainty in cause and effect, the human mind is not currently capable of this understanding. Take the example of the tyrannical despot, despoiling his lands and people. An obvious course of action to relieve his people of their suffering would be to remove him immediately from his position of authority, yet when we examine situations of assasination or coup, we find that we cannot predict, with certainty, the outcome of that success. Often we find the exact opposite. The same happens when parents assert their opinions, values and decisions upon their children, expecting one outcome and getting another. If this is true, some might argue, this truth simply relieves us of any responsibility to what we put forth, or do, in the world. I would argue that perhaps that knowledge obliges us to understand the requirement that we adhere to silence rather than pronouncement; to listening rather than speaking; to questioning rather than answering; to expecting the unexpected rather than pretending we know outcomes; and that when we do speak or act, it is because we revere the power of word and deed, and use it with the understanding that we have no expectation or understanding what the effect of those actions will have on the present–or the future.
Maybe A.I. will truly understand cause and effect in everything, until then, I’ll take the long view. Will what we do today, affect the earth in a thousand years? How many generations ahead will our actions today benefit? What is the correct amount to demand action? One? Two? Four? Seven? How many others share this obligation? Is it enough to make a difference?