February 9, 2016: Push, Part II

The saying “it’s all going nowhere,” could infer that nowhere is a destination. Hoo-nōs

The young man, a kid really, was bright-eyed, full of hope. “We just have to make it better,” he offered. “Otherwise, it all seems so needlessly stupid.”

“Perhaps it’s just a push,” the old man said. “Perhaps hope lives in the future lives of such folk as you, until later down the road, good intentions or not, you realize hope lives in the future of other folk, like what you once were.”

“So, you’re defeated,” the kid stated evenly. “Life has beaten you?”

“Life doesn’t beat anyone, kid. We simply give up after a time.” The old man realized that would be misinterpreted. “We quit fighting so much,” the old man edited.

“Why would anyone do that,” the kid asked incredulously?

“Because we realize we’re lucky at best and only smart enough on a good day to know that,” the old man offered. “It’s like we’re middle rungs on a very tall ladder and this time around there’s not enough time to get much past that.”

“Pathetic,” the kid, full of hope, judged.

The old man grinned. “Nothing is pathetic, kid, except what we imagine. A middle rung is just a middle rung. Not much to celebrate for folks loving starts and finishes, but no middle rung, no further elevation. After all, the last rung in a journey isn’t a finish exactly, it’s just the last rung on that ladder.”

“Ladders,” the kid offered, “if you’re going to use that analogy, are to be climbed up or down—otherwise we’re talking platforms. You seem to be stuck on a platform, sad and full of loss.” The kid was very, very serious. “There is so much more to it all than that, that loss.”

The old man knew what the kid felt. He had fought with what seemed like decline, like loss. It wasn’t even the good fight that mattered, if anything did. It was just noticing what was. Sometimes noticing led to doing, which mostly didn’t turn out quite like it was imagined. But noticing was about the best it got, even while life seemed to calve away like a melting glacier.

“There is no loss, kid. There’s just attention. Put it where you want, but even while you’re dying—and you are—and even while you’re living—and you are—what you accomplish is more about shedding than it is gaining.”

“It seems to me you think reality is to be apprehended and then accepted. Has it occurred to you that we can influence and create realities?” The kid was clearly exasperated.

“Of course,” the old man said. “Certainly it can look like we’re in charge of much of the navigation, but our machinations are for what: building sandcastles we think are permanent symbols for others to ponder in amazement? Ultimately, we’re going nowhere—it’s all a push, which is the point. The push doesn’t mean it’s all for naught, it simply means we already had it all before we set out to have it all.”

“You sound defeated, the kid said pointedly. “So don’t even brush your teeth because it ultimately doesn’t matter!? Energy may be energy, but there is a difference in the quality of energies. You’re feeling loss and just choose to cover it up with some lofty philosophical words, like it gives sustenance and validity to your failure to live as you could—as you should.” Now the kid was furious.

It was a large gap, the old man thought. Perhaps a necessary gap. For a moment the old man felt irrelevant—though it was not the first time. After all, his life was anything but pristine.

The kid knew he did not want to—would not—turn out the way the old man had. The key was to not get all tangled up like the old man—that would be like trashing paradise.

The old man and the kid looked at each other before turning away. It was like the interaction was nothing more than a push. In one case, it seemed like there was not much time and so the unrealized would clearly be unrealized. In the other, there seemed like there was time and the unrealized could—would—be realized.

Soon enough the old man would seem to be no more than a memory of some kind, and maybe not even that. Soon enough the young man would be an old man, assuming he lived long enough. Maybe it was all just human attention adhering to stuff because human attention just seemed to need something on which to adhere, even if it’s all going nowhere.

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