Thursday, July 24, 2008


This is my 999th post on this blog. It would have been my 1000th, except that a long time ago I actually deleted one post.


It is not the first time I have had reason to think about the fortunate family circumstances I was brought up in. Life is too short, and the arts are too many, for a man to learn his way around the fantastic palace of imagination and knowledge that inspired humans have lunatically spliced together over the centuries. But my family, and the Family to which I was apprenticed, have taught me much.

They, and They, have taught me that no man is an island; that the sea is an apt metaphor for life; that a circus is not life, but artifice. They, and They, have taught me that a man may be peninsular, but not insular; a navigator or a captain; a ringmaster or a clown, or even a human cannonball. But in all these things, remember that God is your Master, whether you like it or not.

For all things come to the person who serves in faith, who continues on in hope, and trusts in love. It does not matter if you endure mortal pain and hurt; it does not matter if history or persons conspire against you, or blame you for things not of your making, or fault you for omissions that were never meant to be committed. In the end, all that matters is that you believed things would turn out for the best, even if you did not think of it as best, in your limited human mind.

We are all frail, weak organisms with curiously imaginative, adaptive and powerful minds. What we need is a healthy disregard for the contrary ideas that we are either the Lords of Creation or the random output of chance. In the former case, it is easily disproved by the things we have no control over; in the latter case, it is clear that either the randomness if supremely self-organising, or that we have no real thought or ideation, and hence it does not matter. If we can disregard these two impositions or impostors, we can start developing an honest opinion of ourselves.

I've learnt that by playing Facebook games, one can eventually draw conclusions about how good one's natural talent is at a variety of mind-boggling exercises. Many years ago, my maternal grandfather conducted a range of intelligence tests on me. His conclusion was that I was pretty smart; probably one of that 1% or so in the topmost percentile of the human population. Well, if that population is 10 billion people, then there could be 100m who are smarter than I. And given the vagaries of test construction, test distribution, and geographical range, it probably means that all those smart people are sitting ahead of me in the highly academic and political society in which I live.

So I don't take myself very seriously. I am serious about being alive, and being human, and having a sense of humour; that is about where the seriousness ends. Life is too short; the arts are too many; and God, above all, is too great.

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