24 February 99
--Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is the Massage
I have been wondering lately who and what I am. I have no clear picture or definition. I have no pattern to follow. The uncertaintly seems overwhelming at times, and I have been very worried that I will never find an answer. Today as I was reading McLuhan's book, I came across this:
"In his amusement born of rational detachment of his own situation, Poe's mariner in The Descent into the Maelstrom staved off disaster by understanding the action of the whirlpool. His insight offers a possible stratagem for understanding our predicament, our electrically-configured whirl."
Feeling caught in a maelstrom myself, I thought that I might do worse than adopt the detached role of observer. It couldn't hurt.
For a long time now I have been somewhat isolated. There has been no one in my life expecting anything of me. And, more pertinently perhaps, there has been no one for whom I have wanted to be something or someone. It makes me wonder if we are defined by other people and their expectations.
Today, I don't know who or what I am, but it is clear to me that it is entirely up to me to choose who and what I will be. But, how do I choose? What do I choose? What if I get it wrong? What if I screw up?
I think too much. But, perhaps there's hope: I find it very funny that I worry so much about making decisions for myself when I have no trouble functioning as a decision-maker otherwise. Is this amusement born of rational detachment?
Lao Tzu said, "A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. A good artist lets his intuition lead him wherever it wants. A good scientist had freed himself of concepts and keeps his mind open to what is." Good advice for someone on a quest.
And so, perhaps it's good that I don't know who or what I am. Could be I've been worrying about nothing.
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