Monday, 16 February 2015

On Reflecting.

Reading VS Naipaul’s A Bend in the River is starting to have the effect that novels of acknowledged high quality are supposed to have. It’s taking me into a viable alternate world – far removed in time, place and culture – and encouraging reflection. Is this a good thing?

Tonight it led me to reflect on the end of my mother’s life – how I took hold of it single-handedly and tidied it up. I felt a brief sense of a job well done, but then I asked myself whether it mattered. For whose benefit did I do it? The system’s mostly, to avoid the inconvenience of having loose ends floating around, cluttering up one tiny, relatively unimportant corner of a complex social organism. It certainly wasn’t for my mother’s benefit; her little life was over.

But this is a minor aside. The question is really all about the road and its purpose. The majority of us engage with our road and its individual structure of fine detail, but none of us knows why we do it. It’s just there, and so we do. I seem to have reached a floating stage in which there is no road, just a relentless drive to observe other people not observing theirs. There seems something ironic and frustrating about that, but maybe there’s a purpose to it. Is it part of some learning process, I wonder. How can I know?

It brings me back to Mel’s complaint about the unfairness of being thrown into life without a blueprint, and then expected to make sense of it. Do we need to? Does any of it matter? If you’re inclined to reflect, then reflect you will. But is that a good thing?

On a simpler note, there is one thing I still seem to be able to connect with – the game of rugby and the annual Six Nations Championship. It’s the only sport I get excited about these days. Not much of a tethering post, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

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