Evil Ages

The last of the evil ages had come and gone. Things will be better now, I told myself. Things will certainly get better now. Things always do get better when the last of the evil ages has come and gone. That’s common experience…

 

For a while I mused on this. ‘Ah me,’ I said to myself, ‘the very last of the evil ages has come and gone and how very evil they all were.’ ‘Dark times,’ I said to myself, ‘those were such dark times. However did we endure them?’ One thing about dark times is that we never know how dark they are until they are over and done with, it occurred to me. That’s always the way, isn’t it? That’s definitely always the way.

 

Dark days my friends, dark days. Very dark and very awful days, although – as I say – the actual horror of it was largely unknown to me at the time (as it was to us all). It simply was what it was. Things always are what they are, are they not? Unless they’re not of course, unless they’re not. We can’t always be cheerful and in splendidly good form of course and I understand this as much as anyone. No indeed, we can’t always be buoyant and good cheer – sometimes our bellies are scraping along the floor, making an unpleasant scraping sort of noise. Sometimes every single thing that happens grates. On a good day events are lubricated and so they unfold with the most delightful ease. There is poetry in them – there is marvellous poetry there for all to see. How very delightful the ease of events is on a good day! What a truly splendid spectacle it is on such days to observe the unfurling and unpackaging of latent phenomena as they become transiently and yet marvellously manifest! It does my heart good to think about it, I must say…

 

On a bad day nothing flows however, as we are all only too well aware. On a bad day everything grates; on a bad day every single thing grates and the overall effect is rather dire. Life itself seems to have ground to a halt and there’s nothing to do but to hang around impatiently, drumming out frustrated little rhythms on the tabletop with our fingernails. Nothing ever happens easily on a bad day and everything takes its time. Fretting about it doesn’t help either because the more we fret the slower time passes. Being terribly anxious about whether life will eventually resume or not doesn’t help either because that just has the effect of bringing everything to a terrible standstill. It’s a pretty tortuous business altogether when it gets like that and there’s nothing very much to recommend it. It’s hard to see the positive when things take a turn like that. At times like that it becomes very hard indeed to ‘turn the negative into a positive’, as the man said.

 

The worst is over now however, I tell myself. The bad times are over and the times that are yet to come will be better. There will be better for sure. They could hardly be much worse anyway, I remark to myself a grim humour. I often find myself musing about the nature of reality. ‘What makes reality be the way that it is?’ I wonder. ‘What makes reality so contrary? What makes it so awkward?’ Reality is a hard thing to figure out as we all know. You can scratch your head for weeks on end and not be any the wiser. All you’ll get your scratch marks on your head. Many is the time that I’ve sat there wondering why reality is the way it is and not some other way. Although what other way it could be I don’t really know. That’s a bit of a puzzler too, come to think of it.

 

‘Suppose reality wasn’t the way that it was’, I asked myself, ‘what other way could it be?’ How could we possibly ever know, given that it is what it is and (as a result) isn’t something else? What would it be like if reality wasn’t reality but something else? What would it be like if there wasn’t any reality, what would that be like? Do you wonder about that I wonder? I expect you do – we all wonder about that one don’t we? That’s what you might call ‘a classic conundrum’. It’ll come back to haunt you. It’ll come back to haunt you every time. Some questions you can’t ever get away from, I’m afraid. Or can you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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