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Old 03-07-2013, 01:56 AM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 394
Default A Skeptic's Delight

There are times when, strange as it is to say it, a pop song captures the mood of the moment. A few lines from a Peter Gabriel song, "Only Us", popped into my head this afternoon as I was mulling over some recent revelations.
Seduced by the noise and the bright things that glisten
I knew all the time I should shut up and listen
And I'm finding my way home from the great escape

. . . The further on I go, oh the less I know
Friend or foe, there's only us
Let me try to explain the connection.

Too many of my posts to this forum in recent months have been little more than expressions of my own misery and self-absorption. The pain, confusion, and self-pity throbbing in my brain made it impossible to see or hear what was really going on around me, to assess the true magnitude of the problems that confront me, or to really appreciate all that is good in my life right now, in this moment, for all that it isn't what I once thought it should be.

I think what I need to do, in a sense, is to live up to my user name: hyperskeptic. I need to be skeptical beyond all bounds, and to turn that skepticism mainly on myself, on my perceptions and reactions, my judgments, my expectations.

The throbbing misery in my brain was a kind of filter applied to my perception, in much the same way a brick wall is a filter. It was skewing everything, shutting out too much, driving me to despair over what may in fact be a trifle.

Somehow, today, I changed filters. Somehow, I silenced the throbbing. Somehow, I managed to shut up and listen.

(Okay, that "somehow" included some rather stern posts from other forum participants. Thank you very much for those.)

To switch metaphors, it was like taking off a pair of glasses that had darkened to near opacity and putting on a new pair with clear lenses at more or less the right prescription.

With those new glasses, I could look more closely at the actual disagreement I've had with my wife over the care of our children and say, "That's it? Really? That little thing?"

I could look out our marriage, our family, and see all that is still strong and good in it.

I could look at my own limitations, and see the fairly straightforward things I could do to manage my time a little better, to make some room for warmth and companionship with others, should they happen along at some point.

I'm less sure of myself than I was, I know less than I did, and that's almost certainly a good thing. I'm more open to possibilities that way.

I'm humbled and wonder-struck.

. . . which is as good an excuse as any for a fresh start.

So, I begin this new blog thread with a promise to myself. I will not use this thread - or this forum, any longer - to whine and complain, or to vent my spleen, or do any other such fool thing.

If I find myself facing a difficulty, a disagreement, a puzzling circumstance, or any such thing, I'll use this blog to rake my own perceptions and assumptions over the coals, to make sure I'm not making mountains of molehills, or straining out gnats and swallowing camels, or whatever other disproportions you'd care to think of.

In other words, I'll use this blog to unlearn things, to remind myself of what I don't know, and to remind myself to shut up and pay attention.

That's the skeptic part.

As for the delight, I also intend to use this blog as a record of good things that happen - limitations overcome, conflicts resolved, discoveries, um, discovered, connections made.

That's my intention, anyway.

It occurs to me to wonder whether some of this shift in my mood has to do with impending spring. It rained here, yesterday, and afterward, as the sun set, the world smelled and looked and felt very much like March, very much like the possibility of green things growing.

Around this time of year, another bit of cultural flotsam lodges in my brain, almost without fail: scraps from the poetry of e.e. cummings.
i mean that the blond abscence of any program
except last and always and first to live
makes unimportant what i and you believe;
not for philosophy does this rose give a damn...

. . . (While you and i have lips and voices which
are for kissing and to sing with
who cares if some oneyed son for a bitch
invents an instrument to measure Spring with?

each dream nascitur,is not made...)
why then to Hell with that:the other;this,
since the thing perhaps is
to eat flowers and not to be afraid.
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