November 9, 2010

The best cure for sadness

Merlin and Arthur

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn."
-T.H. White, The Once and Future King

I readily admit - I feel exasperatingly ignorant. I have read myself myopic, but to no avail. There is a hungry ghost inside of me always demanding more. Knowledge is power, he shrieks. I have learned to listen to him with compassion. You silly boy, I chide him, you know that is not why we read. I continue:

Devouring all the libraries in the world
The quest for certainty implodes
Only questions remain
Cracking open life
Revealing beauty

He scratches his head, nonplussed. I look at him gently; it is enough for now. But in my heart e.e. cummings sings:
when god decided to invent
everything he took one
breath bigger than a circus tent
and everything began

when man determined to destroy
himself he picked the was
of shall and finding only why
smashed it into because

My biology professor would ask as he turned from the blackboard, letting his eyes search our faces: Are we together? And when he was satisfied, he would continue with enthusiasm: Very well. Now- let me continue to share my ignorance.
In uttering that very sentence, my professor gave me a lesson in worldview therapy - inviting life through a dance with uncertainty; declining the invitation of violence in certain answers.

Although I don't know much, I have many sources of happiness and wonder that are beautiful to me. I want to share some of these here. I hope you join me from time to time. Are we together?

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