Thursday, November 09, 2006
"Connect The Dots! La La La La!"
I love Peewee Herman. Since the DAWN OF MAN (ooh, how pompous!) humanity has sought to understand his world better by seeking the patterns that appear to surround us. The length of days and seasons, repetitive patterns had to be predicted for our hunter gatherer forebears to evolve an agricultural society which gave them enough freetime to form civilization. Pretty important stuff and by and large reliable. Just by observing the slow progression of the sun moon and stars in the sky, primitives who lacked the wheel created observatories and mathematics so that each season's planting and harvest could be maximized. So it stands to reason that the human knack for identifying patterns is hard wired into us all.
Unfortunately, it doesn't always work so neatly. Take the constellations - also the creation of early astronomers - they are basically "connect the dots" in the night sky. Patterns we impose making pictures from the available peices. But the picture, the order in which the dots are connected is arbitrary and totally individual. Where you may see a bear, a goddess or a hunter, I can connect the dots to make a gorilla, a flight attendant and an aardvark. We make something from the dots when in the end they were just dots.
Our love of patterns, how they comfort and assure us, really gets us into trouble when we apply it to life events. We think that if only we can assemble the events correctly, connect them like so many dots, we can find some overall meaning - the picture of our lives that will make some sense. I labored under that assumption for most of my life. If only I could figure out how all of the events could be connected I would understand the theme or lesson that my life contained and would be all the wiser for it.
Now I'm pretty sure they're just dots, the events that have occurred - the shit that has happened. The meaning of my life is not the result of external events but something I have to make from who I am and what I'm made of. The MEANING OF LIFE (pompous again!) won't ever be given to me. I have to make it for myself.