4/25/2018 05:08

Whatever Will I Do?

I woke up very early this morning worrying -- dreaming -- about how I will deal with Christmas and Easter after my mother dies. Never mind that my parents died more than a decade ago or that I've been dealing with holidays all that time, apparently successfully. Never mind that the real reason for waking up at this early hour was that my bed still has winter covers and it is no longer winter and I was overheated.

You'd think modern thermostatics would maintain a uniformly unwavering temperature through the changes of weather, but it isn't so. Modern technology is good enough to obscure the natural cycles we were born to live with, but isn't good enough to maintain an unchanging stasis.

Thus a technological product of the human mind becomes a metaphor of the humanity which conceived it. Our thoughts and mental constructs, our friendships and social structures, our assumptions, presumptions, prejudices, and beliefs shape our interactions with actual reality. They give us order, predictability, confidence in the future, and certainty about the past. They do this until actual reality breaks through and leaves us intrigued, astonished, confused, frightened, or overwhelmed.

Why would I be dreaming about how I will be able to live successfully in the past? It's a dream! There is no explanation, but that is not how the game is played. The game is played by finding connections and interrelationships: It is April (and my mother died in April). I biked over to a friend's house two nights ago (and that family still is complete with parents and children, albeit the children are now growing into adulthood). There is an upcoming performance of the high school musical (which like all plays is about human relationships, in this case not omitting family and religion). The concert last night featured five women playing brass instruments.

No, even I can't imagine a plausible causal connection between the dream and the concert.

My waking rational self believes that my sleeping mind was a ferment of thoughts and images which ran up against the physical reality of being uncomfortably hot. My waking rational mind is just as adept at making tentative connections among available thoughts as is the sleeping brain, but the wakeful mind is more competent at discarding connections which are likely to be unproductive. And thus I easily explain away any significance of my predawn anxiety.

And that's my move in the actual reality game. I assemble the facts of my life, some of them, and prune the resulting bushy intelligence until I create a sufficiently pleasing topiary to ease the emotional discomfort and restore the illusion of rational control. I wake up and go forward, but is it the best possible play in the game?