Becoming wiser

 

I think wise people are all the same, and I think anyone with that many experiences will converge to the same wisdom. An averaged-out boring template of a person. An indifference by knowing happiness will be followed by misery. A calmness by knowing misery will be followed by happiness. But the greatest wisdom is that little evil overcomes great good, and there always is little evil in the world. There is an atom of depression in every wise person.

I am too old to lie to myself, but young enough to reject others’ lies. Most of the potential is gone. I have acquired some wisdom, if only by the sheer number of my unsuccessful attempts. But can an old man push a boulder he couldn’t push in his youth?

Maybe this is the start of my acceptance; this is admittance. With an amount of honesty that only a wise person can have, I say that I cannot look in the mirror and say, even unconfidently, that there is much potential left.

 

Describe to me the taste of honey

Describe to me the taste of honey,
offered by the hand of your lover,
when the night is just beginning,
and the moon is just listening,
when that night is all there was and all there will be.

Describe to me the feeling of the wind,
as it moves through your lover’s hair,
as it slows and as it moves faster,
as you inhale and exhale,
as the sight of of your lover’s waving hair expresses more life than your dearest breath.

I’ll describe to you my drink, and my moonless night.

200ml of poison, that’s enough to swim in pain, but not drown.
Enough to remember, acknowledge, and forget.
And on another indeterminate night, we shall recall again.
“We will pay the price of those memories as if it has never been paid before” (1).

200ml of poison, as I remember and forget.
Human when my mind reproaches, and human when it forgives.
My utmost expression of life is enough poison to remind me that I feel.
Have I told you the worst of all things?

Doesn’t it make you a little bit sad to know that we will be dead and forgotten?
That our dead bodies offer no home for memories?
Isn’t it more crushing to those with memories of sipping honey from sweeter hands?
The grounds that we walked on will welcome others. We will lie beneath them, passed and irrelevant. The memories will live neither above the ground nor below it.

Give me a sip of honey, so that I might live miserably by choice.
The tally is many bitter moonless nights,
and it cannot be repaid, not in one life nor in many.

Even the flood can’t save a yellow plant, and even the honey can’t soften a bitter heart.
The lesser pain is in knowing what wasn’t, the greater is in knowing what won’t be.
But the consolation, the weakest consolation, is that the happy and the miserable are equal after death.

 

(1) Source: The idea of repaying the price of memories as if they haven’t been paid before is something Shakespeare mentioned in “The sonnets and a lover’s complaint”

Good things don’t happen to us, and we don’t deserve them

Today, 10 years from today, and 100 years from today are all the same.

You are only an actor in a play, what is yours is to play the assigned part well, not to choose the part (1). That’s what someone said hundreds of years ago. I find it curious that he was a slave; that he was assigned a terrible role in this play.

Really, why would a happy person bother with roles and plays?

It is curious that his quote is needed only by those with terrible parts. If I believed him, then I might as well believe that there is a special place in heaven for me. Where everything will be compensated.

I might as well believe that incredible patience is the best of qualities. I might also believe I will live forever in heaven, never bored of having everything everyone could want at all times with no purpose but being happy.

I wonder if habitants of heaven are allowed to be sad, or if they are relegated to hell if they ever feel sad. How ungrateful! How especially ungrateful to feel sad despite God’s best offering!

Maybe people with great parts can be equally miserable. But I am unsure if I only believe it because I’m clueless. Clueless of what how it feels to be happy; to be sufficient in what you have and not searching for something unknown.

Even if God offered me the choice between heaven and hell, I wouldn’t know what to choose. It would be unbearable to go to heaven, and to have every possible pleasure, but to still be miserable. It would mean that I could never even begin to comprehend happiness.
But it would be unbearable as well to go to hell. At some point, there will be a confrontation. I will have to explain to myself that after incredible patience comes infinite patience; acceptance, submission, and surrender. I will have to wonder about the possibility that I was one of those who enjoyed their lives, or one of those who went to heaven and remained happy.

It is too much to ask, even of God. It is audacious to refuse the best and the worst, and to ask for something unknown. Something that is either better than the best, worse than the worst, or something in-between.

 

(1) Source: Manual of Epictetus

As helpless as a human

I am one of them now. I am another human being. I have accepted my fate, and realized my limitations.
In a way, knowing that nothing I can do will change those comforts me. I am weak, but there is nothing I can do to be strong.
Doing the impossible, or even the difficult possible, is no longer in my list of goals. It will not change my fate or my limitation. It is a waste of a time I can spend laying down… doing nothing… being another human being. If nothing I can do will bring the kind of happiness I am looking for, then why bother doing more than I need to experience the most limited of joys?
I am not upset by those facts, not anymore. I have accepted what it takes to be a human. I have formed a preliminary vision of my remaining years, and it no longer disturbs me. The comfort of realizing there is nothing to be done will carry me through.