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03/29/2010

Comments

Robert le Diable

Matthew, I have a question for you and this quote:

"Whatever it takes, I vowed to myself, I will live in a tree tunnel before it's too late"

...is germane to that question. In fact, that sentence sort of boils down my question into a few words: Is it ever too late?

By that I mean (okay, here's where I get wordy) when/if you ever find the "right" thing after years or decades of being in or doing the "wrong" thing, is there regret over lost time? I know you're a bit younger than me, but I respect your opinion and I'd like to know what you think.

To be more specific, if you're in the wrong job/career/relationship/city/area... you name it... and you finally find your place, do you think there's a lot of regret over not having found it sooner? If you do find your tree-tunnel (and my experience has been that such discoveries tend to be accidental or serendipitous), do you just move on and be happy about it or do you think you'd wonder why it hadn't happened sooner and how different would your life be if it had happened sooner?

Robert

Matthew Gallaway

Whoa, Robert -- I think its probably impossible to generalize about the questions you ask! That said, here goes! I believe that life is inherently filled with regret about paths not taken but at the same time offers the opportunity to reframe the past (which, as you correctly point out I think, is often a question of luck or contingency) into something that was meant to be, if that makes any sense, which can be a source of consolation, assuming weve arrived at a place we feel is better (at least in some ways) than where weve already been. (For more on this, I recommend reading Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity.)

Robert le Diable

Thanks. I think you generalized pretty well, LOL. And thanks for the recommendation. I'll try to check it out. The reason I thought of you, I guess, is that you seem to have experienced things like that, as most people do, but you seem to think about things more deeply than most people. And for me, there's probably more behind me than before me, so maybe that's why I'm thinking about that sort of thing. Also, I can't say that I've ever really felt settled or satisfied, and I want those feelings. Sometimes I wish I could turn off my brain and just be numbly happy as some people seem to be.

Life, she is a funny thing, no?

Robert le Diable

Two more things...

I looked up Rorty and found this:

"It is his goal, therefore, to recontextualize the past that led to his historically contingent self, so that the past that defines him will be created by him, rather than creating him."

Wow. What I could do with that. I think I will have to follow up on your recommendation.

And on my way to Rorty, I accidentally (serendipitously?) stumbled upon a song that I had never heard of: "The Irony of Dying on Your Birthday." That hit me like a sledgehammer. My father died on his birthday a few years ago. I'll have to look into this song a little more.

Matthew Gallaway

Yes, I believe that quote by Rorty is in reference to Proust.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Gods final
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Music: Death Culture at Sea and Saturnine

Listen or download songs and records from my indie-rock past with Saturnine here and Death Culture at Sea here.

Music Video: Remembrance of Things Past

Watch the rock opera Remembrance of Things Past written and performed by Saturnine and Frances Gibson, starring Bennett Madison and Sheila McClear.

Video: The Chaos Detective

The Chaos Detective is a series about a man searching for 'identity' as he completes assignments from a mysterious organization. Watch the first episode (five parts) on YouTube.

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