Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Route 66 to Damascus

There comes a time when "looking for a better life" is what life is. There comes that time when it pays to admit that what one does is what ones life is all about, and there is no different life in the wings after all. The theater's stage is set and the play is already scripted. The actor simply goes through his lines and hits his marks as they come. The acts progress through the genre set out, and the finale is the final curtain of death.

"Tod, I hope you live a long life and never know the blistering forces which sear and destroy, turn men into enemies and sweep past the last frontiers of compassion."

And then, one fine day, everything changes.

The life you thought you were living is suddenly not the same at all. It's like someone changed the channel on the television and you are in a whole different story.

It's the nature of things that life is difficult and that everything and everyone dies. Often in our time and in our Modern West people lose sight of such obvious realities. Often people weren't looking for a better life, not having been blown off the land in the dust bowl years, not traveling Okies on the road to California, no unsettled life to flee from. Just folk. Life is easy and life is good. Till one day it isn't anymore.

But then the dust settles, and life returns to its regular routines and no one's really the worse for wear. The dust settles, the ash is swept away, and the rears dry. Life goes on. And on and on and on, and you never know the blistering forces which sear and destroy, turn men into enemies and sweep past the last frontiers of compassion.

Mmmm, I like to travel the world, going here and there at will, doing as I like and living without anything more than the next adventure tomorrow to excite me and today to thrill me, maybe kill me. So there is no end till the end and the time is now. Others, I don't know them well, just see them in passing, blurry and past.

"Once you've seen that dark, unceasing tide of faces... of the victims... the last spark of dignity so obliterated that not one face is lifted to heaven, not one voice is raised in protest even as they died..."

Most folk in the Modern West have no idea how different they are from everyone else around them and those of our Human past. We are revolutionaries, unique in the world's Human experience. We live lives of quite satisfaction, smiling and occasionally stupid. But you might someday on the road by chance come across a man who'll wish you a long and pleasant life while he goes about some other thing different from what you do. He'll be ordinary, unlike you. You, friend, are genuinely different from all others in Human history. You stay, you live a long and happy life, and that's the whole of the story. All your going is a staying, and all you worries are a calm, and nothing is different from anything in your whole life, just a more of you. And if by horrible chance there's change, then wait till it settles and you go back to you as you were and will always be. You are blessed. You are very different from all the others. No need to look further, you have it all right now.

Except for that one day when everything changed....

The lines quoted above from Stirling Silliphant, Route 66, "The Man on the Monkey Board," episode #4.

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