13 August 2009 2 Comments
The world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness
— Annie Savoy (played by Susan Sarandon), Bull Durham (Ron Shelton, 1988)
I was chatting to a friend a few days ago, who has been having a rough few years, culminating in a rough few months, which for some of us are reflected in (not ’caused by’) the recent summer eclipses. I didn’t speak astrology with her (you just can’t with some people), but I did offer some sympathy, and empathy, mentioning that ‘This is been a very tiring summer for a lot of people.’ Her reply surprised me. She asked, ‘What do you mean?’
As I chatted with her a bit more, I realised that for her, her own suffering was very ego- and item-specific, i.e. there was no connection between her suffering and others: My life is miserable because these specific things have happened to me. That said, my friend isn’t a selfish person and isn’t unsympathetic to others; she can be very kind, very enjoyable to be around, and very self-aware, in that she is able to laugh at her own foibles. She just isn’t interested in the bigger picture.
In talking to her, I became aware that her self-awareness is precisely self-awareness, rather than an awareness that also took into account of the self. And I suddenly became grateful for the lessons of astrology, and Buddhism, these recent years.
I’ll leave my mid-week musings at that and close with that famous quote from E.M. Forster:
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
— Howard’s End, 1910