The transition into high school has been tough for my son. I feel competent to handle just about any situation involving him except when a situation occurs and I can’t talk to or see him. In these cases, frustration is having the power to resolve conflict and help my son, but not being allowed to use it.
So I took a long walk, and toward the end of it, at dusk, passed by a group of children playing. One of them immediately drifted off and fell into step beside me — a young man probably around 13 or 14. He said “I’m ready to go home.” and I said, “Me, too, kid.” He then tentatively said “Dad?” to me a couple times, and we made eye contact. I gently said, “I’m not your dad” and he looked a bit off guard and said “Oh.” One of the other kids said “that’s a neighbor, not your dad, don’t talk to him!” and the young man drifted back to the rest of the group.
The energy I was pouring into worrying about my autistic teenager drew another one to me. He also needed comfort, and, as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t provide it to him either. He voiced what I assume my child also needed that day. To be home with dad.
I have been thinking about the unique struggles each person has existing as an embodied being. I am being philosophically imprecise for the sake of vernacular clarity. Mind/Body dualism has been passé for awhile, and thoughts about mental states and skepticism about experiences might be intellectually entertaining, but do little in the immediate to help people do better at existing.
Existing and being aware of existing is really hard in infinitely variable ways. Piloting these meat machines might be a lot easier if humans weren’t sapient. Adam and Eve gaining the knowledge of good and evil by eating the forbidden fruit is the original sin in that myth; and, staying inside that paradigm, literally everything that can be considered cultural can be traced back to a struggle with sapience. Whether art, or war, cooking, humor, music, or economics, they’re all moves Israel uses to wrestle god.
So maybe that’s the metaphor for living — constant personal struggle to understand, or rebel against understanding born out of our own imprecise and faulty ability to perceive and experience the world.
Hip out of joint, limping along but refusing to submit.
One must lean toward epistle or aphorism rather than dissertation; the act of widdershins.
Life feels like it is just practice because it is just practice.
One must imagine Sisyphus’ recognition that there is an end to just practice; that there is no end to just practice; that there is no just practice.
The day of reckoning is always a loss of just practice.
One must imagine alternative cultural evolutions sans the broken arrow of capital or commune.
Jain wisdom of windfall. What six hundred and fifty thousand years of grace and gratitude does to humankind. What different things we know by accepting what is no longer needed and just practicing with it. Dropped feather by dropped feather — to fly — as a bird flies.
The knife is sharpened by hardness // the jellyfish sustained by being what its world is
One must imagine there is always, at the least, a third choice.
You are the third choice — just practice.