Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Generations the same; planets different
Everyday decisions often change our lives
"I think it is true that [Ernest] Hemingway's tales of hunting and fishing and war appeal mostly to men, and mostly to young men, at that, but some of his work carries with it timeless truths, and he will be read long after [we] have gone to the happy hunting grounds.
"His stories also carry very romantic and deeply emotional moments for the young ladies. His life was filled with worldwide travel, with art and with artists in all disciplines.
"We mostly read the poets who sing to us and the writers of novels whose stories we either have been a part of in our own lives or wish to become a part of before we die. My life as a young man was very similar to Hemingway's. The departure came in that he was wise and went to Paris after his war; I was stupid, and returned to Minnesota after mine. Cosmopolitan Ernie; provincial Fram."
This is absolute truth, not just for me, I think, but for most. I wrote those words in response to a comment about my piece on Ernest Hemingway a few days ago, trying to explain a bit further why his life and his work have appealed to me over the years.
As we pass through life, we make decisions which we believe are best not only for ourselves, but for those around us, family and friends. Too many considerations might affect the wisdom of our decisions. But, even without considering family and friends, we do not always make the soundest choices. Narrowing the process down to determining our decisions based solely on ourselves, only on our self-interests, does not guarantee the best choices.
Possibly, I am making a poor decision now in terms of myself, to leave my work and to "hit the road," and to do it without regard for friends or family. Poor decision or not, I think it is time to wave goodbye and to just start running without care or concern whether the end result ultimately is to my benefit or not.
I read the poets I prefer. There no longer are teachers to give me assignments. I read the novelists I enjoy. There no longer is the advice of others to consider unless I ask for it. No governments to serve; no work to "keep me occupied." No nationalism or political parties to recognize, much less to parrot. The time to gallop blindly into the future has arrived, for me, I actually believe.
Our individual lives are ours to do with what we choose. Too often, I have listened to government plutocrats or to employers or to family before making decisions. A man once described me as a politician, able to negotiate anything and with the ability to reach a compromise on anything. I was flattered at the time; I am ashamed of it now.
We are what we eat. We are what we drink. We are what we believe. We are what we smell, hear, see, read and dream. The people I feel most sorry for are those in their late teens or early 20s, for they are the ones who most likely swallow the bait -- hook, line and sinker -- no matter if the prophet is Marx or Lenin or Nietzsche or Russell or Hitler or Reagan or Obama. Those "leaders" are all alike in one sense: They are ardent zealots in a particular belief, and will promote it to their last breaths.
I think it is time for me to allow Semper Fidelis to fall by the wayside, and to permit Nature to envelop me. She (Nature) rules, at least in these times. I cannot describe how much I want out of this country, but there is no place left to actually be a free man. I am tired of listening to absolute idiocy in the form of platitudes presented by narcissistic hedonists whose primary talent is being good at giving a sermon. More rights and freedoms have been taken away from the American people in the last 90 days than in the 190 years preceding them.
How was that? Noisy or what?
There is a novel I have read a few times entitled, "Fathers and Sons," written by a noted Russian author named Ivan Turgenev. As an aside, I will mention the politically-correct crowd has made efforts to re-title this book, "Fathers and Children." It actually has been printed with that title. In my mind, this is censorship at its absolute worst. This is more corrupt than burning the book.
In any case, among my favorite lines from the novel are these:
"I finally told her that she was incapable of understanding me: 'We belong to different generations,' I had said."
I still love those lines, but the difference is not so much generational these days as it is planetary.
Music Note: Listening to Boston ....
Some out of sequence lines from "More Than a Feeling:"
I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away
So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
As clear as the sun in the summer sky
When I'm tired and thinking cold
I hide in my music, forget the day
And dream of a girl I used to know
I closed my eyes and she slipped away
She slipped away. She slipped away.