Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tough luck (I can't come up with a better title)
What a dilemma - On the one hand, I want to be honest about my life and to have an honest conversation with you, whoever you are. On the other hand, I know people don't like grumpy and miserable people. And if I start posting too many depressing entries, it's likely you won't come back for more. Who wants to hear it?
But if was to start censoring myself in order to provide readers with a sanitized and more fun aspect of me, I might as well go the whole hog, scrap this blog, and start a new one which would certainly have a bigger readership. Here's some possibilities: One Happy Thought for the Day, Happy Project of the Day, Everything's Interesting But Not Everything Will Cheer you Up, Pain and Depression: So What?
That's enough of that. Y'know, sometimes I want to do this. Most of the "let's get happy in spite of ________ (put your malady in the blank) websites and blogs have an awful lot of Christian advice, or are written by people like the guy who wrote "Chicken Soup for the Soul", who I don't think ever had more than two seconds of self-doubt in his life. I'm not even giving that book a link. Isn't he rich enough yet?
So, I was thinking about Susan Sontag, and how, despite being an extraordinary thinker and even writing "Illness as Metaphor" could not cope with her cancer and mortality.
Then I realized that'd I never actually read the book, which is a huge oversight. I've read many of her essays. Her "On Photography" is an extraordinary book.
After checking in on Amazon, I discover that Sontag had serious issues with the idea that we cause our own illnesses. Of couse, there's a direct correlation between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, a high-sugar diet and diabetes and things like that. She doesn't disagree. But, as I noticed earlier today, when thinking "since I am unable to attend my meditation retreat and am feeling so badly, there must be something that I am supposed to be learning from all this pain", I was desperately trying to impose meaning on something where there probably is none. In that process, I fall prey to guilt. I must have done something wrong or not paid enough attention to something. Or at least, I have to learn the lesson of being able to be okay with not being able to function some of the time.
The last bit is true, but I don't believe that karma or something in the universe imposed itself on my body just to teach me a lesson.
I'm sorry, but I just can't believe in things like this, though it's easy to. My mother wasn't killed by a guy running a red light for any reason other than she was killed by someone running a red light. I learned much from the aftermath of that event, but it didn't happen so I could.
Those who believe in an afterlife can feel better because those who die are now "at peace." I'm happy they believe that. It's quite comforting.
I suppose all I'm saying is that accidents happen, and sometimes come in the form of non-accidents. Luck comes in the form of the bad, as well as the good. It's not even luck - it's just life. A hell of a lot of it is a crapshoot.
Painting note: Francisco Goya
Duel with Cudgels 1819-23
My inner dialogue.