Friday, January 16, 2009

not a path, a field

From Salon: Since You Asked: I'm wandering the halls of life on a visitor's pass

I have a weakness for advice columns. I think Cary Tennis is a bit hit-or-miss, but I really liked this one from 1/15/09. The letter writer says she feels aimless. She doesn't know what to do with her life. She has been trying to be "pragmatic" and find her path, but it's not working.

Cary says:
Of course this "approach" doesn't "work." That's not how the universe is structured, my friend. We don't "work" it. It isn't something we control and manage. That's a view of reality based in the industrial world, and the world is not industrial. It is in fact magical and mysterious and if you don't do something soon it is all going to be over and none of this will have mattered and you will have run around trying to fix something that can't be fixed and trying to control something that can't be controlled and create some kind of world that can't be created because you, my friend, are not in control of these things, and all these people you see around you who seem to have it together have no better idea than you do how to actually live a meaningful life, but what they do have is some prior operant conditioning that took well, and the good luck to have fallen onto this mottled surface more or less shaped according to the slots currently existing for them, which is fine if you want comfort and a good slot to fit in. But otherwise what good are they going to do? What are they going to discover, what are they going to create, and why are they going to go through their whole lives having never glimpsed the existential terror that you, my courageous voyager into the heart of the beautiful and terrifying and meaningless, have made yourself contentedly comfortable with (as comfortable as one can be with the screamingly terrifying and chaotic knowledge of the void)?
Most people don't know what they're doing.

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