This Article is About
tragedy
time passes
whims
sabbath
sadness
conversations
priorities
gap
So What’s The Big Tragedy?
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So What’s the Big Tragedy?

The great tragedy in life is that ‘meaning’ is individual. The things we assign meanings to are ours alone and we are often surprised when someone close gives no meaning to what we treasure, or will obsess over what we ignore.

The great divide between parent and child is made of ‘meaning’—the accrued meaning of the adult against the whims of youngsters. Our children simply cannot see things we see, or understand what we have lived through, perhaps fought through. But still, these meanings they can never know, until time passes. And even then, though they be separated from their own kids, they will still see differing meanings from our own, because so much of our understanding comes from our trials, our milieu.

Time is a gap that can never be bridged logically, only by heart and blood. Even in the pews on the Sabbath, we pray abreast, but never to an identical God—our meanings define our concepts, our priorities, and our values—my creator is not equal to yours and yours is not a duplicate of anyone else’s.

What we each care about and how much we care can never be exactly the same. To quote T.S. Eliot: “Words reach..” And we all do, likewise, reaching towards each other from within our separate universes, which differ by being centered in my head or in yours.

Do you scoff? If you’re thinking that the differences are tiny, insignificant, just ask yourself how you can be certain—question why conversations take so long, why we argue so often, why we cry. I’ll never know precisely why you love me, or just exactly why you hate me so—you’ll never feel the hammering of my heart when you are close; you’ll never know the sadness you bestowed-you cannot know, me neither, we can’t know. We’ll never know each other, only marvel at the thrill of love that binds us and shake our heads at cruelty and at blame.

Is there no way we ever touch, mind to mind? Perhaps not, but this ‘olly-olly-oxen-free’ call is about the trying, the will we use when we try to see things ‘their’ way, the sacrifice that makes all of us a part of one, the charity that shares with others, the tenderness that keeps our children safe, and trying to keep to the honesty that never hires a lawyer.

The ignorant, the cheaters, make it harder—but their bile has a reason—they weren’t new-born ‘cruel’, and so their troubles come back to all of us. They need mercy, more than to be caught; their violence calls for restraint, more than torture. And that is why the civil of us keep on going—because there is no other way.

But that doesn’t make it any easier—do you know what I mean? (Probably not.)


Street Talk

I think I do understand what you mean. It's complex but I believe each of us live in our own world and never truly understand anothers pain or love

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Yep. Although, when you put it that way, I'm thinking maybe I was being too much of a downer-debbie...

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Actually, yes, I do follow you Chris. What a very good article.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thank you for reading (and following-LOL) Shawn.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
C4rmen  

we are all experiencing life and existence, except through different windows. but may we all come to know peace. very nicely written, thank you.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thank you for reading, C4rmen.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Interesting journey through writing an article!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks for reading, Cynthia Ann!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Lemuel  

Wow I'll try to comment on this one. I think being unique as an individual cannot be phantom. We have seen best friends who have totally opposite personalities and people who hate each other but they have similar personalities. I think these make our balanced world. And even though most of us have mentors, the path we tread is still different from them. And yeah, 'meaning' is an individual thing, even how much we know our God is based on a personal journey.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks, Lemuel--that IS another way to look at this idea--We are attracted or repelled by certain people, but not because we 'know' them, but because our observations of the other person intrigue us, or affect us in some other way.. The philosopher F. H. Bradley (1846–1924) said that people's minds were like bubbles--we can touch one another at various single points of contact, but we never get inside the other person's bubble and see what they see the way they see it.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

do you know what I mean? Chris on this occasions I must admit I don't. You have me running all over the place and have me thinking "I don't get it". This one I'll have to save and when time allows reread.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Sorry, Rob--I was torn about whether or not to put quotes around 'meaning', since I use it as a noun throughout, but I hate to put that much emphasis on a word when I repeat it as often as I did here.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Christopher I got lost somewhere in there but was left with one of my favourite saying "People mean, words don't". I find this a delightful thing. As you so aptly said, even (or especially) God is not the same for each person. This is true of every word in language because hanging on those words are our thoughts, feelings and life experiences. Every time we open our mouths we are imparting a piece of who we are. How can anyone else possibly feel the same, have experienced the same or, for that matter, use the same words to relate the experience. Not sure if this was what you were trying to say but it's what I've taken away from your article. Perhaps that's the point of it all anyway?!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Well, I can't really say--I think I got lost too. Thanks for plowing through, regardless. In a way, the point was ephemeral- I started this as a poem and then re-wrote it as an article. Here's a larger swatch of the T.S. Eliot quote: "Words, after speech, reach Into the silence. .... ... Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still. " - excerpt from "Burnt Norton" by TS Eliot

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Oh that's thought provoking... words that reach into the silence. Hmmmm....

  
  about 8 years ago
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