Monday, December 27, 2010

Randomly Miscellaneous Words, Life and Love

I discovered a word : Serendipity.

I came across this before, indeed, but never understood it. This was one of the more exotic bits of my adopted language, which I kept neatly tucked away, never needing to use it. It was as beautiful and as unnecessary as the three Persian princes of Serendip, the story that gave us the word. I traveled around, but never liked the expression - if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there. For all what I am, I am a dreamer, a planner in disguise.

It made no sense to arrive somewhere I did not plan for. Or not to want something that I do end up having. The real life experiences are just the opposite - I do not get where I want to go, I scramble for what I want. This is indeed exotic, out of the way, as unreal as those little princes of Persia. All wonderfully miscellaneous for the busier ends of life.

The point is, indeed, as it must be said at this Christmas pause, that all the busy ends, all these busyness, all planning, are as wonderfully miscellaneous, exotic and out of the blue as some of the accidental ones, like those princes. At a day when I can sit on a Monday afternoon and write this pointless note, which aspire never to be read and still less to be understood, when I make no attempts to sound knowledgeable or to make a reasoned argument, the whole charade of my life, all the bits I thought were carefully planned, choreographed and executed, look like a series of accidents, serendipitous. It seems order and reason only exist at the hindsight, and the more we pretend to be orderly, the more we lose it.

Love is surely similar, though I rarely talk about love here. This goes with my pretension to be business-like, and besides, this is supposed to be intensely personal. The point is though, everyone loves someone and everyone has a theory about it. And, it is, like that work-life illusion, supposed to be wonderfully orderly, structured and full of expectations. One plans for love - to meet THE ONE - and search, sometimes without an end. But, in reality, it is as completely messy as the other bits of life: Love is only apparent at the hindsight, I shall say, and it never exists to be pre-judged or anticipated. It is therefore possible to fall in love in a bus, in a office, in a concert, or on the Internet, and that makes it no less valid than the traditional courtly love of the past generations. The point, perhaps, is that the illusions of order, and indeed morality that follows, exist only at the hindsight: The possibilities of love are entirely serendipitous.

I discovered, in the last few weeks of my somewhat depressed loneliness, that most things in life are quite accidental. It is false to pre-judge them. Take, for example, conversations, the modern art which makes ideas possible. It is easy to say that - we are talking about a subject - but good conversations are accidental, like love and life, in the beginning as well as in their ends. The question of end makes it even more interesting: A good conversation may never actually end. One may run out of words, the context may change, the language may be forgotten, but, a good conversation stays, treasured, may be only in minds of its participants, to give a context to everything that are said afterward.

This pause in my life allows me to marvel at the wonderfully accidental nature of our life, love and everything else. Everything may happen for a reason, but reasons alone do not make them valid or real. It is the story of human sensations, that we talked, loved, walked and imagined together, makes all these random bits real. Order is our attempts to limit the possibilities after the event has happened, and our moralities are fossilized versions of the order; but, while you are at it, life is a messy swarm full of possibilities, twists and turns, each to be taken in its own merit, each moment as valid as any other in the past, each conversation as full of possibilities, each sensation as desirable.

Understanding this messy nature is key to living, I shall say; I shall not want to escape the past unless it comes on the way of creating a future, but it often does. The relationships and their definitions, handed down to us, are no more valid than those we create ourselves, and our own senses are not to be prejudged and subjugated in the altar of scripture-worship. This is the context I discover serendipity, and this allows me to start all over again. It is not just about finding something, but knowing that what I found will change my life forever, that matters. For me, this Christmas was full of gifts - of people I came to know, of friends I earned, of ideas that I discovered; but, the word is not just another gift, it is the one to define all the other gifts I received and all the expectations I build from now on.

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How To Live

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Last Words

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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