Old Geezers Out to Lunch

Old Geezers Out to Lunch
The Geezers Emeritus through history: The Mathematician™, Dr. Golf™, The Professor™, and Mercurious™

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A 2:00 a.m. Musing

When I was a younger man, I tried lived according to a belief that went something like this:

“I am the author of my own experience.”

It is not an uncommon belief for people in the first half or two-thirds of life, and is probably a necessary one. Most people have this sense, and sometimes hold it to be true for the duration.  Who knows—it might even be the correct equation. Some people would insist this it is so, and I am in no real position to say they are wrong.

But as I enter what is almost certainly the third trimester of life, I become aware of another possibility. What if:

The infinite and wonderful universe, though some unspoken intent, has caused a constellation of unique experiences to come together, bonded by a mysterious gravity of individual awareness. That single constellation is what I’ve conveniently thought of as “me.”

So in my approaching old age, I’ve begun to think the reality might be different, that “I” am not the author of my experience at all, but on the contrary, am authored by the experiences and awareness gifted to me by the universe, by God. Perhaps even my willfulness—which has caused me some pride but also some heartache--is really just the play of natural laws moving within that one little constellation of experience I have labeled “me”.


Strangely, this idea does not seem to reduce me at all; on the contrary, it feels like freedom.

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for putting into words an experience for which I have never been able to find the words. It is this kind of realisation that makes the older years of one's life so wonderful.

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    1. Wonderful and bittersweet all at the same time. The way it is intended, I think.

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  2. Thanks for such beautiful lucidity. As a fellow aging boomer I have become devoted to clarity. We may indeed be vapors or mists in the long arc, but what genuine existence we have. Moments are eternities.

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  3. I think we're all looking at things differently now, but you have worded it so well.

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  4. I think you're right and that science pretty much confirms that we are pretty much shaped by a combination of genes and experiences. But living and seeming to make our own choices still feels good and right.

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    1. Absolutely. Just what constitutes free will, and how much we truly possess and how much of it is complicated cause and effect remains unknown. But I subscribe to William James' view that the key element of free will is the ability to focus and shift our perceptual attention. All else flows from that.

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  5. You know, there have been many times when I could have ceased to be, but survived and thrived? Was it because of my abilities and skill? No. Something must be guiding me. Good insights and as I am entering that last trimester of life, I join you in pondering.

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    1. I agree. Not sure what's doing the guiding, but there is some natural force behind it all. The pain and suffering come, I think, when we lose sight of what's natural.

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  6. Being 71, and with some indications that the end isn't a long way off, I've given this more thought than what I think it's due. Mortality. I remember 3 plus decades ago my sister, 8 years older, getting a late diagnosis of pancreatic CA, stage 4, late stage 4. Misdiagnosed for three years, I was critical of the oncologists.
    Being an MD, I've pondered this too.
    My sister, in the last 4 or so months of her life, renounced her belief that there was no higher being, a god.
    This startled me, because from the time I was 5 or so, my sister made an effort to show me the falsehoods of the catholic training I was getting. She literally guided me out of religion, to science, a path I've followed ever since.
    Now, here she is, on her literal deathbed, saying she loves jesus, and was wrong.
    Caused me some thought the next few years, I can tell you.
    Then, a couple years back I had my health issues, death maybe the next hour or so, depends on how this procedure goes, etc...
    The difference was I never even thought, it never crossed my mind, to consult a 'higher power'. I am confident of my world view, and what happens in the 'afterlife', that maybe decades, centuries from now, someone will taste a huckleberry and think 'man, this is good'. It'll contain atoms from me, deposited there on the wind, or volcanic eruption, or whatever. It's all good.

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    1. A very interesting reply. I do hope the end is a little further off than you hint, because I"d hate to lose your observations too soon.

      I'm quite sure that I don't believe in a "higher power" in the way that it is traditionally defined, but find myself believing that consciousness persists in some fashion after it leaves leaves this particular bag of bones. I don't yet know if it is a reincarnation thing, as the Hindus or Buddhists believe, or a more informal thing, such as the persistence of atoms. I do sometimes get a fairly pronounced and detailed sense of having lived before, so I'm not ruling anything out at this stage. To an infant safe in the womb, birth must feel like the death of something prior, and I sometimes get the intimation that death is really just another birth into a new stage.

      One day, we'll see.

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    2. Or one day you will not see, if consciousness doesn't persist. And it doesn't really matter which is true...EXCEPT if your belief in something beyond yourself becomes a reason to sacrifice even one small part of this glorious life that is, at least in someway, yours.

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    3. I would like to be taken off your blog list. I do not wish to be part of a list that includes the absolute trash that is written in Lone Wolf Concerto. Today's post by him is beyond the pale of anything I would want to be part of, or associated with.
      Thank you,
      Mike Mulligan
      Should Fish More

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    4. Wow. I'm inclined to agree, Mike. I am gong to drop Lone Wolf. If you still wish to be taken off my list, please do let me know. The tone of that piece is not something I want to be associated with, either.

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    5. Thank you, appreciate it. I enjoy your and all the other blogs very much. Hope you guys post more, each of you (and I'm unconvinced there's not just one schizophrenic Geezer) are interesting.

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    6. I assure you Mike, there are several Geezers whose words have graced these pages. Though it is indeed true that many of them are schizophrenic.

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  7. Deep...
    I've pondered that very subject myself. Even though I'm in my "third trimester" I'd still like to think that I'm driving this thing. For me, believing that there was a grand design, ended up with me thinking I was just an observer to my own life. Just waiting for things to happen. I'm pretty sure than I'm going to spend some time tonight pondering it. This is a great and thought provoking post!

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