251. Light

But my experience is – esp. from when I was terribly ill – that we do turn to God in times of need, to something Higher. Or the belief in it. Many of us do just that and it is natural and well. So those words the priest writes down for us from the Bible, at baptism or birth, they might not mean much while everything is going well but when everything is not, they will.

250. The Two Sides

This Saturday I had not problem being preoccupied by “Society” for I was never a moment alone, cleaning, preparing, working a bit, helping look after Jay. But one of the beautiful parts of it was of course that my brother and sister-in-law and my mother-in-law and my grandmother-in-law all turned up to help us make the place ready which we had rented for the party after the baptism. So there was both the feeling that I wanted to be alone and get away from people and the feeling that I was full of joy because I experienced the best sides of people – what they can do for you when you need them.

247. The Beauty of Seeking

There is an urge in us to search for the ‘real’, the single Cause, the Explanation.

But is it a ‘bad’ urge? To seek the ‘real’? The ‘true’? Etc. … even though the real world so often turns out to be marvelously more complex?

I think it can be in so many situations – just open the news.

But … there is also something beautiful in wanting to seek the real, the truth about a story or an event.

Perhaps that urge is not mine alone. To seek the ‘true’, the ‘real’, the ‘first cause’.

It definitely is not.

And yes, it can be perverted and warped, esp. among closed-minded fanatics of all sorts, with or without gods.

But in this case … it feels right.

Even if the truth turns out to be that the book of Robinson Crusoe shaped the story of Alex Selkirk and not the other way around.

246. No Diversions

But in my experience we, the people, forget so often to ask them ourselves: What makes me really happy? What I do now? The way I do what I do now to get something better in the future? Or … ?

We forget. And run in all sorts of directions for peace, happiness and joy, even if we are so often missing them. Chasing wild geese … like that stressful drive up the career ladder or whatever it is that makes no sense to strive for to become happy in the future, if it is done in such a way or if it is for such a goal so as to make us miserable for a long time in the present.

243. Grateful Gruesomeness

I assume Alexander Selkirk kept the lambs in some kind of fold, and that the point was that even in that confined space he did not have to struggle too much to get at one of them and kill it, because they were handicapped so to speak – because he had broken their legs. Gruesome in one manner, if you can forget our own slaughter-houses for a moment. But on the other hand understandable, if you get a tropical fever and barely can get up, and you have dehydrated and shit all over the dried leaves that make out your bed.

There is a strange fascination and yet revulsion with this little bit of story, but at the heart of it is a lesson, about what life is if you take away any kind of help from the outside.

There’s the story, then. Which makes me feel revolted and grateful at the same time. I guess I should remember the gratefulness the most.

242. How Many

Alexander Selkirk (d. 1721) wanted badly to get away and he wanted to get rich. He didn’t want to die for nothing. Or at least die risking to achieve what he felt was his highest dream.

Not as gift-wrapped as Columbus’ dream, I might reiterate, but nevertheless the most precious dream he had. That man of 200 years past.

But how many like him are still here today.

241. No Motivation Is An Island

Again, I’m not trying to equate my own petty considerations about how to keep certain other people at arm’s length in my life to the voluntary or involuntary complete and utter exile.

But there is an interesting door, in both situations, to one major theme – the quality of being alone, of not being interfered with, of being sheltered from whatever ills we ascribe to other people and society at large.

Obviously many decry ‘loneliness’ or ‘isolationist tendencies’ or ‘aloofness’ etc. etc. And they should. Alone-ness or isolation – wholly or partially – voluntary or involuntary is not an end in itself. Or ‘good’ Just Because.

Obviously it isn’t. Whether Selkirk chose his island or not. Whether we chose how much or how little our own ‘islands’  – places of solitude – should fill our lives.

It is always a scale and it is always set in a context – whether or not solitude is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. How much ‘good’? How much ‘bad’? Do we even call it “solitude”? What if we called it … “loneliness?” in Alexander’s case.

Or in my case: “poor social skills” or “being introvert”?

It’s all a bit messy, as usual.
But something shines through. Something like a very important theme, not just for this talk, but for life in general. And that is how I want it.