(Trust, but verify)
Looking back, I guess the whole day boils down to a question of love.
Everything else aside, love.
And with love comes trust. Trusting the love of others. Trusting others.
And with trust comes the question of human nature. ‘Everyone has his price’ and all that.
Is that a grim thought? Do you think so? I’m not sure I do.
I don’t know if that’s a universal truth. And I don’t know how you can test it. Perhaps we all like to think we can’t be bought. Perhaps that’s naive.
So let’s say some people can be bought – even if it is just some. And let’s believe that it’s hard to judge who is or isn’t open to being bought. It has to depend on a huge range of variables. Whatever. Regardless, the question becomes, what’s the simplest way to live your life.
I think the answer is as Russians say: ‘doveryai, no proveryai’. Which is to say, ‘trust, but verify’. On balance that sounds sensible. And do-able. A valid approach. A realistic approach.
You can lament that some people can be bought. That love can be bought – or, rather, bought-off. You can lament as much as you like. Human nature is what it is.
Trust, but verify. I can look back on the day happily enough.
(I Can’t Escape) The Dreadful Roll-Call
Covid-19 and the saturation media coverage of its dangers can only heighten one’s awareness of oneself.
Heightened awareness – for whatever reason – is strangely disconcerting.
No, I’m wrong.
Awareness is merely what it is.
It’s what it can make you aware of that can be disconcerting. Perhaps depressing.
Obviously and commonly enough, with a heightened awareness of one’s mortality comes a sense of urgency. Do it now – whatever it is. Don’t put things off until tomorrow because your tomorrow might never come.
I’m aware of that, and that’s fine – even if it can be hard to live by in a practical, day-to-day way. And yes, if you end up feeling that you have to hurry all the time as a consequence, that can be damaging.
But what’s nagging me now is an awareness of my recent past. It means I’m forever learning of my failures since the crash.
The dreadful roll-call of failed intentions.
The failures over the first few weeks and months, as I first started getting better, weren’t a reality for me. As I became more aware of what I at first hadn’t been able to do but now could – that was all positive. That felt like progress. They were big steps, big advances. I was aware enough of myself to know that.
That I didn’t know I was failing time and time again in other areas meant that it didn’t bring me down. Or if it did, these were more-or-less momentary slumps.
But as time passed so the steep progress levelled out. Inevitably the failures then loomed.
Yes, initially I could rationalise them. Failures were still depressing, but at least I knew why I was failing.
But that’s talking about the past. The brutal truth is that now, years later, my failures still catch me out. I will find something – a written note or something; some plan, some intention – and I find I’ve totally failed at it.
These failed intentions might still be old goals, but they are relatively recent. I’m failing at goals I still have.
And so I can’t avoid the lasting worry. The lasting legacy. I was damaged enough that I didn’t know I was failing in the first few months after my crash. I was damaged enough to find more recent failures that I’d forgotten about, perhaps even been unaware of. So how can I know what other things I’m failing at now – right now, as I write?
How can I assess myself?
And how are others assessing me? What do people think? Is there a gulf between what they think and what they say?
Am I still adding to the dreadful roll-call of failed intentions?
All I can do is trust those around me to do the right things for me; to say the right things to me. That’s the same trust I’ve had to have from the start. In effect unconsciously at the time of the start of the coma; and all the time since.
And that trust had to have been built on what was there before the crash.
I’d be a liar – to you and to myself – if I denied I’ve never questioned – indeed, tested – that trust. Either wittingly or otherwise. Confusion; being overwhelmed: these things are bound to push everything to the limits.
That that trust has never been found wanting, by any measure you could possibly devise, says as much as can be said about the people I’ve trusted. The people I’ve loved and love, and who love me.
Before I wrote this, I wrote about the challenge of love. With love at the forefront as I rail against my failed intentions, I can think of nothing to add to those thoughts. But I will never tire of recognising the immense value of love.The Challenge Of Love
Arguably … There’s a balance to be struck. Heightened awareness, on the one hand, is essential to appreciating all aspects of life. But on the other hand, broad awareness can’t be allowed to undermine focus. At least, not when focus is necessary.