Thursday, April 5, 2012

Being Bound In Being

All the world's a stage and a person has seven ages, or some such goes. For mankind too. In the long history of mankind evolving from sheer survival, to family groups, to the sway of warlords, to adherence to socio-political constructivism, to commercial lordship, to paradigmatic inclusions, to integration, man indeed performs through seven ages.

First there is the mewling infant. Our dependence on the immediate takes precedence, and we have little empathy or instinct to sustain anything or anyone beyond ourselves. Even at the sinking of the Titanic, men barged ahead of children. But most of us are no longer predominantly affected by survival (until we think of all without, so far from here).

Then the whining schoolboy. We belong to a family, a group, a club, and we abide by its wants and dictates and demands. We will fight the stranger's ways. We will avenge our brother even though he got shot robbing the bank while holding your sister hostage. We will sublimate our individuality and take an oath of fealty; stave off a foreign incursion.

Next is the soldier, he who buys into a greater glory than his family. His ego he crows up against the masses. Unproven, he declares himself victor. He puts down the vanities in his enemies, judges the inferior, the lesser, the weaker, the bankrupt. He is at his most dangerous, invincible; at his most foolish, intractable; at most glorious, unconquerable.

Then the lover comes along, tempers his own vaingloriousness, yields to a greater self, and sacrifices his selfish wants to his self-serving desires. He gives up his personal freedom to a larger group, a larger ideology, a larger socio-political entity, and draws a moral line of affirmation, or of negation, in the sand. He will invest in the culture of his belief system. He fears not being in. He fears being left out. He responds well to fear.

The lawyer is more circumspect. He bends the rules and breaks the bonds and looks for loopholes in the constructs of circumstance and chance. He takes advantage. He yokes the multiplicities of mankind and warps and weaves them to his secular advantage, and hires and fires and judges and condemns those who do not see things, who do not do things, his way. His wit is sharp. His knowledge profuse. His empathy... judicial.

The pantaloon disavows ambition, disavows hierarchy, disavows divisive commentary and fragmentary inequality. Those who are deemed not to agree are fools anyway. The desire is for harmony of outlook, singularity of purpose, honor of action, and integrity of apprehension. For everybody! Fools, idiots are the rest; he'll hoist them on his petard.

But the seventh age of Shakespeare, sans teeth, sans taste, sans ears, sans eyes, sans everything? It is no dolt, no sad Alzheimer's patient alluded to here, but rather the realization of a lack of absolute need, a lack of uttering utter preferences, a lack of myopia, a lack of proving certainty, a lack of being irrefutable. There is certainly nothing that such an one, sans everything, can profess that is totally right, for the world is too full of possibilities. Even heaven, in all its waiting, waits until he's leavened, ready, free.

Perhaps there's then an eighth age, a mercurial infinity, never beginning, never ending? And yes, it's the twist in the middle, the transition through life, 'twould seem, that binds.

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