Monday, June 21, 2010

Constantly Struggling The

Constantly struggling: the mark of Cain among the fucked.

A friend was describing to me what she was looking for in a man. She'd been widowed suddenly in her mid-thirties and now, a few years removed from her husband's death, with her children in high school, she wanted to meet someone for she'd been alone too long. She is beautiful, determined and fierce, but also weary of meeting half-men. She said: "I just want to meet someone who isn't constantly struggling - with money, with their ex, with their life. I had no options but to get on with life after Hank died. Life is short and these guys dick around with useless shit. I want a man, not a boy."

* * *

They say that life is struggle, but that is a Darwinian construct for it assumes the survival of the fittest, that those who make it through the maw of time are uniquely adapted to the world. It extends out of biology and also has a home as social Darwinism. But is being fucked a successful adaptation to the rigors of life? Is there some social benefit that accrues to the population by being fucked, by fucking up your life, by simply being a fucker?

Apparently so, for the world is filled with the fucked.

But why the constant struggle to live? Why Ann's complaint about men in the middle of their lives constantly struggling to put one foot in front of the other (emotionally, economically, spiritually, physically) when she had to face the death of her spouse and the shepherding of her children across that chasm without the luxury of dithering?

Because we misunderstand life. The fucked are immature in that they possess the child-like belief that there is all the time in the world to get it going, to get it on, to get it right. And once the fucked reach their middle-age and sense the speed of the calendar, they lock up, freeze, paralyze themselves with fear - fear of their death, fear of their lack, fear of having fucked it all up, but fear writ large and so they continue to drain away their days in futility.

Now that is fucked.

And I should know.

* * *

The fucked struggle because there is a payoff for that struggle, there is a Darwinian benefit (but only in the short term - like the span of one's life) for being incapable of living a complete life: the absence of responsibility.

The fucked want nothing to do with owning their lives.

Many years ago I was given a great gift by a great and uncluttered man. He told me, "We are constantly being called into our name. Every moment is ready for you to embrace it." My life was pretty well fucked when he told me that. In the years that followed those words stayed with me and have been a tonic, a balm to my own mistakes.

The constant struggle ends when you decide it ends. When you decide there is no longer any benefit in being absent from your life and are willing to learn how to walk upright and feed yourself.

"The first steps toward wisdom are the most strenuous, because our weak and stubborn souls dread exertion (without absolute guarantee of reward) and the unfamiliar. As you progress in your efforts, your resolve is fortified and self-improvement comes easier. By and by it actually becomes difficult to work counter to your own best interest.

By the steady but patient commitment to removing unsound beliefs from our souls, we become increasingly adept at seeing through our flimsy fears, our bewilderment in love, and our lack of self control. We stop trying to look good to others. One day, we contentedly realize we've stopped playing to the crowd."

Epictetus, The Art of Living

* * *

Only the fucked have the luxury of wasting their time.

The rest of us must content ourselves with living.

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