No matter how badly a person might want to escape the tentacles of his society, that desire is virtually unattainable. People already “own” every diminishing habitable square inch of Planet Earth. Even “ownership” does not protect the owner from meddling by the State, which is the name we give to our collective right to meddle in the affairs of one another. Once we established governments—ranging from family units to tribes to consortiums and on and on to nation-states and beyond—we ceded control over our lives. The individual human is not a self-governing entity, but a servant to the body politic.
I have mixed feelings about that. Individualism is not all it is cracked up to be. Only by joining with others who share common interests and/or needs can we survive with any degree of comfort or safety. Yet collective thoughts and actions can stifle creativity and rob a person of the ability to make decisions based solely on what is best for him. On the other hand, one of the allures of individual freedom—personal serenity—is essentially impossible in a societal setting. Only by eliminating all thoughts outside of himself can a person achieve pure, unadulterated serenity. The introduction of even a single thought about just one other person interferes with the stillness of serenity, replacing it with a swirling slurry of mental images outside of oneself. Yet no matter how much I might crave that pure stillness, I know I can achieve it only by forsaking the rewards of social bonds.
Mixed feelings, indeed. I had an odd experience/fantasy this morning, as I rested in bed before getting up. I imagined serenity as an actual “being,” a misty, glowing ball of light who could communicate with me through thought. She “spoke” to me, telling me death would promise serenity. When she spoke the word, a pleasurable feeling of calm washed over me like a warm, comforting wave. But as I rose from the bed, my thoughts returned to last night’s dream, in which I hired two women to fill positions vacated through promotions. Their first day on the job turned sour when I discovered that my superiors had completely changed the job descriptions and had taken away perquisites I had promised to the new hires. The two women blamed me and complained to my superiors, who claimed I was the one who had made the changes and would suffer the consequences. Which, I gathered from their tone, was discharge. Half way between memory and imagination, I wandered out into the kitchen and contemplated eating a slice of cold, two-day-old pizza. I did not eat it. Not yet, anyway.
Heat index values today are expected to reach 107°F, according to this morning’s weather forecast. Triple digit temperatures will continue through next Friday, at least, according to the meteorological prognosticators. On Wednesday, August 9, though, the high temperature is forecast to reach only 77°F, after a low Tuesday night of 68°F. A lot of things can change within the next ten to fourteen days, though. A massive, heat-fueled hurricane could spawn tornadoes and straight-line winds of 275 miles per hour, tearing telephone poles out of the ground and flattening old-growth forests at ground level. Or a sudden reversal in temperatures could plunge us into a new, and possibly permanent, ice age, with daily high temperatures reaching only -97°F; the frost depth would plumet to 40 feet below the surface of the soil. If those possibilities were to occur, I would also expect meteor showers—with 6-foot balls of molten rock falling from the sky like heavy, unimaginably hot, rainstorms. I am not predicting this, by the way. Not yet.
The word “adultery” has an interesting etymology. It is too involved for me to grasp completely at this later-than-usual early hour, but it merits extracting a few quotations from Online Etymology Dictionary. Here are a few:
In Middle English, also “sex between husband and wife for recreational purposes; idolatry, perversion, heresy.”
Good God! Recreational sex?! Such horrid perversion!
As a crime, formerly classified as single adultery (with an unmarried person) and double adultery (with a married person).
I might take that further: quadruple adultery (with two married [but not to each other] couples.
“Adulteration” is another interesting word, obviously related to adultery but broadened to a more extensive and sophisticated level with the description of state of being debased by mixture with something else, followed by mentions of debauchery, corruption, falsification, and a few others. I am easily amused, I suppose. Words and their origins intrigue, but not enough to warrant spending more than a few entertaining minutes with them before moving on.
Yesterday felt entirely like Saturday, so much so that I never changed out of my “morning leisure clothes.” In other words, I was utterly, completely, fully slovenly. Today, an actual Saturday, I will shower, shave, get dressed in clothes suitable for public display, and go to lunch with friends, who have invited us to join them at a newly-opened restaurant. I look forward to that! So very, very much! But, now, I need more coffee to wake me fully. It’s almost 8 in the morning. I woke after 6 today; lazy, slothful, and undeniably lethargic. Time to move!