Saturday, November 20, 2010

What It's All About

The building of civilization is a progression towards reason, oh so we want to believe. I have always tried to be a reasonable person. To choose the most logical course or action....and I have more often than not failed miserably. The problem, at the risk of sounding cliche, is that we are emotional beings always trying to find meaning IN things as much as a reason FOR things. In this way, we are irrational creations torn between reason and emotion, and often trying to find a balance between the two. Sometimes this can be good; yet often it can be very bad.

With this in mind I would like to share some thoughts on a recent event. Today I attended a memorial service for somebody I had only known for eight months. This person was a work colleague who passed away a week ago after a long struggle with cancer. Although the news of his death was a shock, I didn't expect it to affect me to the same extent as his other colleagues who had known him for 20 or so years.

However, I was affected greatly, and not for just the usual reasons. I knew it wasn't only grieve, as a family, friend or long time colleague might feel, although there was a sadness. It wasn't just because his passing was a poignant reminder of our mortality, and of another life lost to cancer, although it undoubtedly serves that purpose. It was, I eventually realized, the impossibility of knowing him that bothered me the most. I had interacted with him just long enough to get a sense of the kind of person he was, the kind of person I wanted to get to know more. His passing, however, made that impossible. I would never get to know the man that others had admired for so long.

This is the eternal struggle that we are in; trying to make sense of reason and emotion, hopefully while holding on to both.