World As Play
Whelk shells free for taking and examination, a young child’s treasures.
Growing elder by the day, I am enjoying the world as a child of 11 or 2. It is a tremendous playground which constantly excites me, and with which I can interact as I please.
I often anthropomorphized the unknowable universe as a personal God. What rules should I follow, how should I judge my actions? Rules are necessary, whether I accept them by blind supernatural faith, cynical social requirement, or some logical combination of attitude and experience. Most of the time, rules were useful ways to set boundaries and let me concentrate on my duties of each moment.
But now I am free of most of that. I have done my part. Each day dawns and I run to the swings or the sandbox or just dance through the meadow. I am happy, and if I am wrong I accept whatever consequences may arrive.
Beauty shines in expected and unexpected places, if only I train myself to relax and observe.
Religions _ regardless of outward appearances _ address the biggest questions of being. How much control do I have over my life? Which set of morality should I follow, or at least pretend to follow? What is the best direction for my time and energy?
Answers have ranged from rigid predestination to absolute control of my fate. The easiest morality is that which everyone around me accepts, but sometimes it seems better to resist. Often I have felt very little choice in the direction of what I had to do to survive and thrive.
Once upon a time, I felt more in control than a wild duck _ now I’m not so sure.
Most “normal” adults, in a “normal” life of seventy or so years, follow a normal curve of skill and competence. We begin with none, and end with none, and in the middle of our lives we feel masters of our universe.
Unfortunately, power often trails skill. Our early mastery is often recognized in hindsight. Old people with decaying skills retain vast residues of power which they use badly. Some reign as arbitrarily vicious patriarchs or matriarchs of extended families, some wreck fine companies they once created, and some damage civilization by playing politics as they angrily slide into senility.