Peace. Security a year into the future. A feeling of knowing where one stands in changing sands. Suddenly, one feels inferior to the turritopsis nutricula, a jellyfish, which after growth can revert back to its polypoid state. But these are almost all lies. And the human promise of endurance is so much more.
It may seem as if for all of life, one can but grit the teeth, already the poorer imitation of one addressing the senators, hic manebimus optime. Optime, indeed, to restore that last piece of hope, to make the best of whatever lot is cast. It is all one can do.
What does one need it for? Maybe one already has what one needs. This very post already contains sand, a jellyfish, one man's decision to stand against the Gauls. A seaside holiday and a battle all wrapped in one. It helps on cold nights to make a blanket of words, frightening just enough so one's third ear listens for the beasts, but warm enough for rest.
Eliot once wrote, "When a poet's mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experience; the ordinary man's experience is chaotic, irregular, fragmentary. The latter falls in love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do with each other, or with the noise of the typewriter or the smell of cooking; in the mind of the poet these experiences are always forming new wholes."
Who is this ordinary man who may not have picked up on the red thread from all that talk of blankets. Is this the same ordinary man who cannot connect words to action? Who claims humanitarian principles but has no problem concocting poisonous broths for brethren, made from the tittle tattle of, "He did what?" That question always formed in the noxious fumes of first appearances. What a good thing this ordinary man is not a judge, oblivious as he is to any story but that which makes other people look bad.
This ordinary man also has that irritating habit of raking over the same old stories, day after day. As if life hadn't moved on, as if the weather itself hadn't indicated change. "I'm not such a bad ordinary man," this ordinary man all but says as he sets traps for the unwitting just to see them scramble. His notion of good and his action of the trap incongruous. And cold.
So distant from the disinterested blanket. Wrapping, like ancient histories, myth,shards of gossip, moralizing, and wishful thinking all into one warm embrace. Of words. And the ordinary man of discord becomes the friend of he who he has been moved to speak. We may modify the phrase culte of Henri Lacondaire to read that there is no such thing as solitary eloquence: every orator has two geniuses, his own and that of the century that he responds to.
Maybe one needed to be right, needed to appear superior or always in control. I suspect this of the ordinary man who lacks the gesture of self deprecation. But maybe one needed a hand, or the truth. Somewhere, it was repeated, recorded, and recorded again by Czeslaw Milos, that if someone is honestly right 55 per cent of the time, that's very good, and there's no use wrangling...
What did I need it for. To be free at my best in the situation, at the location, none of it to be judged by the ordinary man with his first glance, depraved, deprived of the noise of the typewriter to call him away from petty thoughts. What did I need it for, to make the journey safely, to make it whole, in one piece:
"The day of the Ratha-yatra, the Car Festival, has arrived when He shall come out on the highway of the world, into the thick of the joys and sorrows, the mutual commerce, of the throng of men. Each of us must set to work to build such cars as we can, to take its place in the grand procession. The material of some may be of value, others cheap. Some may break down on the way, others last til the end. But the day has come at last when the cars must be set out," writes Tagore.
Update - a kind soul asked if I was being menaced. This post was not so much inspired by personal experience as the collective tales of a few good souls similarly afflicted by others' tongues, and I wondered what the need was of certain people to talk that way given the fleeting quality of this life.