Min Jung left about 4pm because I got sick. I don’t know why, it was probably just repeated lack of sleep. I started to sneeze a lot, and looked like hell, so she said I should just sleep and then went off to meet another friend before returning to Iksan. (I think that’s what her SMS message said.)
And I slept. It’s an index of how tired and sick I was feeling that I didn’t do the dishes immediately.
And now I have woken to find that the water is not working in the building. I don’t know why, but nothing is coming out of the faucets, so I won’t be able to wash dishes until tomorrow.
That’s ironic, because it is raining and windy outside. It was incredibly windy before, but now it’s tamer, calmer. The rain, though, is relentless.
I can hear the music of cars and their occasional honks, the pizzicato plinking of rain on the roof, the percussion of drops raining down onto the ground below.
It sets my mind to wandering about things I don’t know (which seems to be the commonest pastime I have). I think about undiscovered things, the future and such…
It occurs to me that Shakespeare was wrong: death is not the undiscovered country; nor even is the future. It is the self that is the undiscovered country, the only country that each of us must discover, or at least find himself blindly living within, during his life.
If one can grasp at what he really is, look through the algorithms and the processes that we follow because we think we must, and look down into the deeps, I think the human creature is a perplexing organism. While they do a good job of explaining how it came to be that way, scientists offer us no insight on what we ought to do now that we find ourselves in this situation. While they don’t understand why we are this way, poets often speak more honestly the problems of discovering ourselves in this position.
I have never given credit to the idea that every man is an island… nor do I any longer believe that every man (and woman) is an archipelago, or a mine that delves deep into shadow; I feel more like every man and woman is a pair of things: that which he or she self-observes in himself or herself (which is as a moon) and the vantage point from which they observe, which is itself unobservable (which would be the earth). Crowley’s dictum “Know thyself,” seems to me (as I think now thanks to a comment by my friend Marvin elsewhere) a Sisyphean task.
And yet, as Camus reminds us, we must imagine Sisyphus as happy. There is no creature so fascinating as man; no beast more perplexing or so renewably worth further study. There is, on this planet, no creature as complicated and yet also as comprehensible as the human animal. If one makes it his life’s task only to understand himself, he takes on a job that is too great for one life… or sufficient, at least, to fill a single life with small goals and aspirations that shall never be extinguished without producing goals anew.
Sometimes it seems like life is so very long. But then one must simply strive to appreciate small things, the taste of this morsel of food, the memory of that kiss, the feeling of a sunbeam through a window on a snowy day. And then life seems dreadfully short again, but also spotted with moments that render it all to much worth following through to the end.
Rain and winds come, as they have now, and they go, and that is simple fact. We could do no better than to understand the same about everything within us as human beings.