“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have lately become quite fond of the Transcendentalists, chief among them being Ralph Waldo Emerson. This has not always been the case - my distaste for their idealism remained trenchant throughout my teens and early twenties - but a question that keeps recurring to me seems to have softened my view of them: Do people change, or does the world change them? It's a trite expression, of course, but I am solipsistic enough to ignore its application elsewhere, and it is a damned intriguing question.
As I get older, and I am still relatively young, my yearning to search out Truth has taken me, well, very few places physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (even in my atheism, I can think of no better existential metaphor), I feel I have traveled to a variety of different places. I am all the richer for the search.
I can say, somewhat, that it is my perception which has changed. I used to believe myself running from something, but I think the camera itself had been positioned in the wrong place all the time, because the wide open space before me has never seemed more intriguing and enigmatic.
While I cannot relish in lingering silence even still today, my need to be immersed in the noise of life has subsided somewhat. I have begun the necessary steps to transcend my more prohibitive notions about existence. I am going to die. Someday. I will grow old. Someday. My life is but a tiny wrinkle surrounding an aged eye. A blind eye, though one which is as intriguing a spectacle as any out there.
This is me at my most vague, my most oblique. It is freeing to know these things, or, rather, to be able to try them out. I am not one of those people who can know about death or age, but only one who can have intense moments of knowing, like someone who has been pulled to the surface of some raging ocean for a desperate moment every now and then. Either way, you drown, but the drowning isn't so bad as long as you're not contemplating it. It's when you flail your arms, see the way your fingers have pruned, that you realize how dire the situation really is.
It is difficult to be free enough to see the water for what it is. But I am trying.