Anatomy of Resignation
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20-09-2011, 08:06 PM
Anatomy of Resignation
Dawn. The big cedar tree in the window becomes clearly visible with its bird feeders nestled between the branches. Puffs of early snow shake and fall as hungry visitors take turn carrying off sunflower seeds. It is very quiet, the wind has died down during the night.

I am sitting up in bed, staring out the window, the remnants of dreams still fresh in my mind. Next to the window, occupying the west wall, the south wall is all covered with bookshelves. In the dim light the titles in larger font become readable and they nudge my brain into random thoughts, unexpected memories, startling associations.

My mind is still unfocused, barely past the stage of the morning dreams, and I am too lazy to discipline it into productive work. Memories are jogged out of storage, some of them from quite deep and I am mildly surprised at how long I have lived. I have stages of my life so far in the past that I very rarely think about them any more, and I am often surprised when memories of events or faces are tossed to the surface of awareness.

Sometimes I have conversations with past selves I barely recognize, past convictions a repudiated long ago, past admirations that irritate me now, past loves I now feel embarrassed about. If there is one constant thing in my memories, it is the process of change, groping toward something I call truth, sifting through the millions of impressions, thoughts, ideas, opinions, to fit the shattered shards of reality together in my mind. When something particularly embarrassing emerges from the jumble, I softly groan: ”Oh, god” and then hope I did not wake Vera with the involuntary oath, I would not like to explain what spawned it.

“I am getting old”, I tell myself with a familiar sense of resignation, “I have lived many, many years”. No wonder I remember so much. The usual question mark, half suppressed, makes me wonder if I have many more left, or even if I care. I am reasonably sure the truth is as complete in my mind as it is ever likely to be and, for a moment, I feel smug about it. I have come a long way, I tell myself, I have worked very hard to get past the stages of confusion and false truths. The network of facts, cause-and-effect chains, underlying background has been quite steady in my mind for some time, doubts I have concern only details, not the foundation any more.

Smugness quickly gives way to resignation and a touch of despair. I have done pretty well most I ever wanted to do, I have thought, experienced, felt all I am ever likely to have a chance to. Not much more left, I feel, if I am to go soon, I am ready.

Concluding this stage of my dawn musings, I start thinking about people, humanity, friends, acquaintances I argue with over the Net, about truth and meaning. As usual, I wish I could be more convincing in the debates, representing my truth in clear, shining terms that no one could fail to see. As usual, I realize the futility of such wishes: just like I had to in the past, everyone has to go through the stages, detour through the blind alleys, find truth by eliminating so many of the tempting falsehoods. Truth needs time and you are old by the time you have spent it.

It would be so nice if it could be otherwise. You tell your truth to ten people, they will see it as clearly as you do, both the reason we are unhappy and the changes we have to make to set it right. They will feel like you do, awed by the simplicity of solutions, how easy it is to live happy, productive lives. So they, in turn, tell it to ten others each, and then the truth spreads, we have a movement, we have solutions to millennia-old problems. It does not work like that. You tell your truth to anyone you can corner, and they listen and call you names, think you are out of your mind, think you are unaware of simple facts and connections, accusing you of malicious intent, pitying you for an old fool. A few will pick out some part that means something to them and happily scurry away with it, others reject the whole thing, sometime with a chuckle, often with an uneasy sense of guilt.

Once in a while, someone responds with a voice of empathy, understanding, agreement. Usually someone my age or older. We connect for a brief second, recognize and acknowledge each other, then we continue on our lonely paths with our precious and unwanted truth, to complete the journey to oblivion, not too far off.

The dawn gives way to morning, the morning is ready to grow into day and the day will soon become dusk and evening, yet one more time. The cycle goes on.


I wrote this piece a while ago and posted it on another Forum where I had a hard time getting through to people.

I posted it here to let newcomers know what an exception this Forum is, compared to others they may have visited before. They don't have to feel the sad resignation I felt almost everywhere else.

I am sure they soon find out themselves.

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[+] 3 users Like Zatamon's post
23-09-2011, 11:51 PM
RE: Anatomy of Resignation
I love how beautiful and thought-provoking your stories are, and the other stories that come along. You all made me go on and face the future Smile Thank you!

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here - Phil Plait

Have you ever tried taking a comfort blanket away from a small child? - DLJ
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24-09-2011, 05:48 AM
RE: Anatomy of Resignation
Thank you too, robotworld. Smile
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