Counter-point, counter-counter-point


Once upon a time life was hard, brutal and short. As Thoreau said in Walden, 'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.' How fortunate then, are we not, who struggle not, want not, fret not? Well, the fret part may be open to argument, as we often fret about the frivolous. Agonize over the inconsequential. Despair despite our health, comfort and security. Why so?

Evolutionary adaptation seems an answer. For untold millennia humans struggled to survive, huddled together for warmth and security, and yet, for as far back in history as we can go, celebrated life through music, art, dance, sport, ritual and festival. We've always shared food and shelter. Death was a mystery divine. The world was filled with spirits — and chants to placate or invoke them. Living was its own reason. Loving, a bond silent but strong. Your children were your immortality. The world you left them, your legacy.

And thus must we find reason to struggle. We seek and we must find. The perfect vegetable, most delightful bread, most exquisitely seasoned exotic dish from afar. Wine oh so delicious, flesh most tender and succulent. Architecture well proportioned, statuary most noble, gardens forever verdant, climate always sublime. The senses are filled, spirit uplifted, life ennobled. A quest never ending. A goal never reached.

Great cities offers many things. But there are some therein unfound. In our modern Sodoms and Gomorrahs, though mostly by the sea or a river, seldom does one experience the wonder of a night so dark and star—filled that one is flattened to the ground by the grandeur of a universe beyond imagination. A pleasure and soul—filling experience so simple, so pure, that it defies description. One can revel just in knowing that one has existed for a moment, even if naught for more than to witness this incredible creation.

Carl Sagan once said that we are the means by which the universe knows itself. If we are creatures of God, created in his image, we must be the means by which he knows himself.

If not, the universe will do.

Dennis Sevakis   5 1 05