Wondering at life’s subtle beauty is not exactly easy when one is subjected to tailored ideas determined to replace one’s thoughts: impressive ads that define likes and dislikes popping everywhere, supplanting the hoary eye stuck in the triangle observing us as kids. Maybe Heraclitus’ principle is still nagging us as everything flows forward; nothing stands firm! Yes, easily one feels confined to a self-consuming rush to somewhere, though it’s not exactly easy to define where – maybe a dreamland-like glittering Las Vegas? Of course, our politicians, depending on who’s running the show, keep telling us that we are living in paradise, while the other half keep insisting that we are in hell! No, it’s not exactly easy to wonder, but do I really need to do so in the first place?
Things get complicated! Driving through the man-made jungle daily, moving shadows slipping into each other’s tracks cussing, I often can’t afford to think, let alone wonder, about life. And yet, as years accumulate and things amass, one questions if this rushing to and fro is really worth the trouble. But maybe the no longer fashionable Beckett might have a point as Godot, still enclosed in his windowless slot, searches for the mysterious door that somehow merges into the white surrounding walls of desired apartments crowding the “golden mile” lately turned green as roads closed and beer flouting, we celebrated St. Patrick.
On the other hand, searching for life’s meaning is not necessary a guarantee to a happy ending, thus one may wonder whether it’s really so important to do so. In fact many prefer a blissful experience called ‘weekend’, which might prove to be one answer to life’s dullness. But does it suffice? Of course, as old Socrates knows from experience, asking too many questions is perilous: a troublesome gadfly, the hemlock eradicated the old philosopher! Insisting, should we not at least be weary of a busy life’s barrenness?
Yes, wondering at life is not wasteful, though many might disagree and who can blame them! Even Mass is often just an accumulation of noise: no room for silence really, as ‘meaningful’ gestures replace old measured rituals, the human voice imperilling Divine proclamations, while wheezing shadows are ignored by the pulpit. Does undisclosed fear underline this nirvana-like façade? After all, whilst providing precious insights, awe elicits an awareness of our place in nature’s life cycle: a frightening experience for some, because in a waggish sort of way it forces us to confront our precarious selves.
One salvific answer might be noise: blissful, thinking is not necessary. Silence? Well, it might be difficult to comprehend, but maybe at issue is not the principle, but rather the inability to practice it. As noise infiltrates all aspects of our existence, silence is increasingly hard to fathom. On the other hand, rather than mere noiselessness, silence implicates an attitude determined by one’s desire to encounter and grasp what underlines one’s existence beyond the clamour.
Noise – cranes shredding, infuriated cars buzzing, background music … it’s tough to acclimatise it really! Wedging through, we create our own – thus not infrequently people walking briskly with their ears bleeped by small wires transmitting something. The story doesn’t stop there, because the Television-Internet phenomena have been joined by a third: the mobile phone – a trinity of sorts arises from the ashes as Owens’ 1984 overshadows our resolve to freedom.
A nagging thought: unless we are willing to grasp childlikeness, it’s hardly possible to speak of Good News, because Sisyphus awaits us with his rolling boulders. Deceived, we can no longer wonder: growing old, we die off!