Brian is one of Thought Theater's regular readers and I always enjoy his thoughtful and engaging comments and observations. In his most recent comment, he begins with an apology...the details are, for the most part, irrelevant to this posting. First, let me say to you, Brian, you need not apologize to me...it isn't necessary. I've never liked apologies...but before you conclude what that means let me attempt to explain. I fully appreciate that you are willing to offer one...but you may not realize that you offer something far better than an apology each time we engage in a dialogue.
You and I don't always agree...but far more important than that reality is the fact that you are always open to the pursuit of more "truth". All too often dialogue and debate involves two people intent on being heard rather than being determined to communicate. In that subtlety is the difference between intransigence and effecting change that has at its core a sincere desire to enact positive outcomes that serve the greater good. Frequently, individuals are more desirous of being right than being an actual agent for meaningful change.
There are days when I struggle to find a subject upon which to post...not because there aren't ample issues to choose from...but because if I can't be an agent for advancing more "truth", it just doesn't seem to be a worthwhile endeavor. I tease that I have an opinion about everything...and there is some truth in that statement...but it goes far beyond having an opinion for me. I don't want my opinion to be accepted as right because I am able to impose it in the most forceful or influential manner...I want my opinion to "become" right because it is the product of distilling more "truth" out of that which I have heard, read, and observed. I want that which I believe to match, as closely as possible, that which "is". For me, nothing holds more value than what little "truth" we can extract from the essence of our human condition.
You and a few others that I have encountered in life seem to share this same objective. One of the most frustrating things about the blogosphere for me is that as much as we identify it as a means of communicating, very little communication actually takes place. Sadly, we humans have learned and embraced some of our lesser qualities...by that I mean we often seek the power to impose "Truth" rather than seeking "truth" because it is ultimately the only real "power" we can obtain and possess.
It saddens me to see people embrace ideas simply because they offer a reprieve from the complexities and disappointments of life. I find the fact that many people can construe comfort from numbers (affiliation with like-minded individuals) regardless of their collective proximity to that which is actually “truth" very troubling. Perhaps I’m too pessimistic or fatalistic but I find much more comfort in knowing that I have not sought to enact the ultimate deception…that being self-deception.
I am rarely afraid because I endeavor to be rarely unaware…I live with the inevitable dangers that inhabit this sphere we call life…including the acceptance of my pending death. That awareness provides the motivation I need to pursue “truth". Here is the equation. What can I, as an individual, obtain between now and my death that will bring me comfort when I must exit this existence? It won’t be things because they will remain here in this realm…it won’t be people…though they can offer comfort…they cannot provide comfort as they too will remain behind…the reality is that they can offer nothing upon which to grasp as we each must expire alone. Therefore, what I can obtain is an awareness of as much “truth" as I am able to ascertain…and then I will have in my living already incorporated the “truth" of my dying. The process is one of acceptance whereby each piece of “truth" brings me closer to the finality of the ultimate “truth"…death.
Let me offer an example to explain the feelings I expect to encounter as I die. Everyone has been in a situation where they realize they have made the wrong decision or the wrong choice…which is another way of saying they ignored the “truth" of a situation. Perhaps it is finally admitting that a marriage was a failure and that you cheated on a spouse because you were unwilling to face the “truth" of the situation…maybe you were a bad match…maybe you married because you were lonely at the time…maybe you married because you didn’t believe you were lovable without some external reinforcement…maybe you still don’t believe you’re lovable so you found another person to offer more reinforcement.
At that moment of realization people often break into a cold sweat…they have a sinking feeling…they feel foolish…they feel they may have wasted part of their life…they feel lost and alone…they feel worthless…they feel they deceived themselves. All of those feelings can be equated with failing to pursue more “truth". More importantly, at that moment the only apology available is the one that can be offered to ones self…the one that says I’m sorry I wasn’t willing to be aware…I’m sorry that I ignored the “truth" and let time slip away. Nonetheless, it is at that moment that we again embrace the notion of time…time to make changes…time to try again…time to become more aware…time to live.
However, at the moment when one is dying, there is no more time, there is no comfort if we have failed to seek and embrace “truth" and there are no helpful apologies…even the one we can offer to our own self cannot suffice. Therein lay the pivotal “truth" of my assertion…we must move beyond apologies to a shared pursuit of “truth". We humans are living the same life with the same “truth" and the same outcome…we are all in the process of dying alone with only one real thing that we can obtain…more "truth". The construct of an apology is therefore detrimental to the pursuit of “truth"…it derails the human endeavor and destroys the human spirit in deference to our fear of the ultimate “truth"…death.
Brian, in my knowing you are seeking “truth", you needn’t apologize…you have already moved beyond. More importantly, I thank you for that.