Abigail Bysie





Needing a jacket in late June freaks me out, but I stay so freaked-out anyway that it’s not much of change. For instance, I was outside digging a foundation for a deck just now, and I suddenly thought:

“Wait a minute; this isn’t right. What happened to 1955? I’m six-years-old and living with my parents, my Granny, and my year-old-sister in an unpainted shack in the south Mississippi heat.” “But, no,” I thought, “that’s not right either. This is a different century; I’m growing old; I live in Eugene, Oregon; my parents and Granny are dead, and I haven’t spoken to my sister in 19 years. What's more, I’m cold, and being cold scares me, especially in summer.”

When old people used to tell me that life would seem shorter and shorter, and time would move faster and faster the older I got; they weren’t kidding. Life not only seems short; it seems like it didn’t happen. Like last night when I couldn’t tell if I was lying in bed awake, or if I was dreaming that I was lying in bed awake. Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing here? I used to think I knew, but now I think that maybe I wasn’t asking the questions deeply enough because the more deeply I am able to ask them, the more it seems to me that our lives are built upon so little that that little is indistinguishable from nothing, yet it is this that we stand upon. I expected the opposite. I expected that a prolonged contemplation of life would lead to a certainty that would become solider and solider until I found myself atop an unshakable foundation, but no, my certainty is that nothing is solid. We live within the abyss and the abyss lives within us and all else is illusion.

Would I prefer an optimistic outlook? No! I want to know the truth, and I think I do. Maybe an unyielding desire for truth represents a threat to my species’ survival, but if my species needs lies to survive, why should it? What good are we anyway?

The fish is the abyss; its mouth is death; its teeth are time; and its light is illusion. The abyss is our common destiny whether we accept or deny the illusion.

22 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

There was once a time when philosophy ruled intellectual thought and it was believed that "truth" was universal and could be understood and agreed on. Unfortunately, those days are gone and we are now forced to consider "individual" truths. Yes, there's freedom in this but also tremendous confusion and apprehension. I would never claim to know any truths. Like Hamlet said to Horatio: :...There's a universe in what you don't know." Take care and I hope you have a good weekend.

Snowbrush said...

"Unfortunately, those days are gone and we are now forced to consider "individual" truths."

We're not forced to do anything, my friend. The trouble with a lot of academic philosophy is that if we say one thing while doing another, our sincerity is open to question. For instance, to say that only individual truth exists is to eliminate morality. If someone says he or she does indeed believes that way, fine, but I would hope they would have the consistency to keep their complaints to a minimum when the tanks of the enemy roll through their own streets and herds their own families into the camps.

Snowbrush said...

"'Unfortunately, those days are gone and we are now forced to consider "individual" truths.'"

"We're not forced to do anything, my friend."

I should elaborate. Everyday, we are steered in the direction of seeing the world through the eyes of those who would control us. For example, advertisers, the government, the churches, our neighbors, our employers, the people who are "in," and so forth, but we don't have to buy into any of that. It's damn hard to be free, but it's not impossible. With maturity, we can see crap for being crap no matter who says it or how large their numbers.

Helen said...

'with maturity' is the key ....

Snowbrush said...

"'with maturity' is the key ....'"

Thanks, Helen. Writing as I did could be interpreted as a dismissal of the young, but I wasn't talking about physical age but emotional and intellectual age. There's hardly an age barrier against childishness, and a great much clearheadedness to be found in many of those who are young in years.

angela said...

Had a similar conversation with the hubby just yesterday. I look in the mirror and get a fright, who is this old women. Where did the time go, and omg can we slow time down. It's going crazy. I do not fear the end of my days, but because I have been stopped in my tacks with an illness I will not recover from, I fear getting to those days with regrets. I'm so trying not to do that.

Elephant's Child said...

Perhaps the clearheadness of some of those who are chronologically young is because they are not clinging (tooth and nail) to illusions they find comfortable (and comforting).

Charles Gramlich said...

Some good writing here, man. AS for the time moving fast. indeed indeed.

Snowbrush said...

Stephen, I hope you come back here. I went to your blog just now, and I can't find any posts, just links to other people's posts and to old posts on your blog. Am I missing something? I tried to leave a comment, and I couldn't even do that because I'm not a member of Google Plus.

"I look in the mirror and get a fright"

Yeah, I know the feeling.

"I do not fear the end of my days, but because I have been stopped in my tacks with an illness I will not recover from"

If I didn't have Peggy, I don't know how I would feel about death because I'm getting a bit weary of life, and I don't see much in front of me except a worsening of everything that's already bothering me.

"I fear getting to those days with regrets. I'm so trying not to do that."

I relate to your first point but I don't see myself doing much to avoid such regrets.

"Perhaps the clearheadness of some of those who are chronologically young is because they are not clinging (tooth and nail) to illusions they find comfortable (and comforting)."

The hard part is to not become so cynical and jaded that it impedes one's enjoyment of life. Cynicism and jadedness is ugly in the old, but tragic in the young.

"Some good writing here, man."

Thanks, friend.

Snowbrush said...

I just wrote a post about Google+ after finding that I couldn't get into blogs I've followed for years unless I join it. I pulled the post a few minutes later because I didn't feel like I had enough information to write intelligently, plus I frankly didn't want to devote a post to the subject. The point of my post was simply to let you know that if you join Google+, people who aren't members of Google+ might not be able to get into your blog even if they're on your followers' list.

Kerry said...

I don't get Google+. I think I'm probably a member but without anyone in my "circle." Google+ is a weak response to Facebook, and completely unnecessary...actually I have no idea what I'm talking about here, I'll stop.

But back to this post. Wow, I'm swept away by the power of your words.

In facing the abyss it would be easy to become overwhelmed by it, and to be unable to fathom any purpose to life. Trying to divine the purpose of most things is an exercise in futility, at least for me. Instead of looking too deeply or too far ahead It seems more helpful to follow each day as it comes & concentrate on the things close at hand.

Elephant's Child said...

Googly plus is a bit of a nightmare like that. I am thinking I should go off it - but am not sure how. And I have been on it for months and you have been able to visit. Some new treat they have given us. Hiss and spit.

Lisa said...

You are great reading this windy, cold and wet Australian Sunday morning. Lisa x
PS that is one scary looking Nemo !

Strayer said...

Yahoo Mail "upgraded" again also. It was aggravating. The new mail is not nearly as functional as the old yahoo mail. I believe tech companies and techies cannot help themselves and improve programs and websites to the point where they lose practical function and the company dies. I said as much in a message to yahoo, although it took a long while to find how to send them that message. They like to hide.

As for the abyss, all of us will fall into the black nothing, even the ants. I send ants there, routinely. And who knows if the ants also, in their marching lines, and dutiful life, don't contemplate their place or the why. We exist. I will never know why. I don't really care why, although I like to read about the theories to explain. I like the latest wild thoughts. Some scientists, I read, intend to test somehow whether we and our world might exist as a computer program, a game, created in some alternate reality, still played, or maybe abandoned but left on. Who knows. I never will.

lotta joy said...

My comment didn't show up on your blog, but I wrote you to let you know I'm still alive...kinda sorta. Now I'm going to do some backtracking and play catch-up.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Snow, sometimes I just wonder if you are on a bad trip!

Seriously, I agree about time getting shorter and shorter. Health is wasted on the youth!

possum said...

First, internet improvements don't seem to be! Been fighting with yahoo lately and google seems to have taken things over on my computer.
2nd, your post reminded me of my aunt who prayed loudly and with much emotion to Jesus everyday of her life, truly believing He was watching over her and would be there waiting with open arms on her final day. She believed this so absolutely, I figure she might have been able to have him waiting for her. And in some ways I envied her belief. I could not share it, not even the tiniest bit, but it seemed to give her so much comfort "knowing" that He was THERE.
I tried, I really did try numerous Christian churches hoping to be convinced... but it never happened. So I content myself with my attempt at Buddhism where I can question and doubt, believe or not, and do my best at living with Compassion and Peace...
One of the few things I DO believe in is reincarnation based on numerous experiences I have had - and not on drugs!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Ah what our human intellect does is so awesome. Love your words od speculation. We are all just part of a whole bigger scheme and we can choose how to view what we are able to see. But our vision is really rather limited. We guess a lot! Imagine having our brain and the ability to see like an owl or any bird of prey?

The Bipolar Diva said...

no, nothing is solid. nothing.

The Blog Fodder said...

A very thought provoking post, and follow up comments too. I have given considerable thought to the abyss, more so as I grow older and as you say, time moves more rapidly. I see people I have known for years especially my parents generation falling off the edge of the abyss one at a time and soon it will be my generation's turn and my turn.
I too envy people with a firm belief in an afterlife, which I once shared. They may be right; they may not. No one has come back to tell us, so I guess I will just wait and see.

Snowbrush said...

"I tried, I really did try numerous Christian churches hoping to be convinced... but it never happened."

Same here.

"Imagine having our brain and the ability to see like an owl or any bird of prey?"

It's a wonderful fantasy except for the fact that it would make us even more of terror to the rest of life on our planet than we already are.

"I too envy people with a firm belief in an afterlife, which I once shared."

I don't envy them because they believe without evidence, and because nearly all of them believe in some form of eternal hell as punishment, not for doing evil, but for not believing as they do. If they had conclusive evidence, I too would believe (how could I not?), but if the evidence pointed toward hell as well as heaven, I have no doubt but what I would end up in the former because I couldn't love or respect a deity that would do that to a person. According to most religions, the age of accountability occurs around 12, and if you're not "saved" by then, and you die, you will go to a place of pain in which the total number of grains of sand in the universe multiplied by 12-zillion millennia would be as nothing, and they say that this is the work of merciful God.

Kert said...

"Would I prefer an optimistic outlook? No! I want to know the truth, and I think I do. "

Me too. But I guess it's a difficult path and one that is filled with sadness. It's easier to fool one's self and be happy.