It is difficult to portray true sympathy. The words fail somehow; they become crass or ridiculous. Language fails often where thought is concerned. However, it is important, somehow, to express what we feel; especially to those we care about and perhaps more importantly: to ourselves.
Life, it would seem, is very short and it is difficult to be sympathetic to this when the workday seems so long or the weekend so far off. This, on the other hand, seems to be a failure of thought but the results are the same:
“Thank god it’s Friday!”
It is as if we are wishing parts of our lives away. But we are unable to be sympathetic to the true consequences of doing so. Those boring days that we wished away are automatically the subject of longing and desire when we realize, in short and few moments, how short life really is. Sympathy seems important to remember if we are to understand that a beautiful day or a starry night is…well, miraculous.
But our thoughts cannot contain such grandiose ideas and as a result our language fails. No matter how much we may love, the word “love” will always fall short. No matter how much we may seem to care, the word “care” never cuts it.
Philosophers have pondered the concept of time and the only objectively real component of temporal ideas: it is the present. And so, be sympathetic to the present and what it contains, which is the whole universe; something that we may never come to understand.
“Fixing things may be a cure for narcissism.” -Shop class as Soulcraft, Mathew Crawford
To be sure, whether this is a moral or factual statement remains to be seen. In any case it is a meaningful phrase. The act of fixing things seems to be becoming antiquated: “fix when you can buy” is no longer a question but an exclamation. This simple grammatical change has moral implications.
As we stare down into the abyss of cellphones, the only time we take our eyes off the virtual keyboard is to look at the battery are “bars” display. Each telling us just a bit of information and at the same time telling us nothing at all. We know we need both for our illusion to continue, but we have no idea how these things work.
Our fix for one becomes walking around in circles and our fix for the other is not a fix at all: toss it.
Fixing things, whether that is a house or a machine (or even a farm) is not easier than fixing ourselves, but is better. Let me explain: the one actually does fix the other but the other can never fix the one. To fix things, fixes the self. It must because, as Crawford states, and as anyone who has both fixed things and put thought into fixing things will attest, the self must take a backseat to the material thing.
The material part is important because it is not a part of us; it cares a whit for us; it has no agenda or empathy; it simply is. This fact is ironically somewhat spiritual in nature. And when things need fixing there is no room for petty arrogance and ignorance will be paid back in full with pain and frustration.
Fixing things reminds us that we are not the center of the universe, something that most of us need to be reminded of quite often.
Everyone makes mistakes; some bigger and others not so much. However, as has been mentioned in this blog on previous occasions: mistakes are useful if we learn from them. That being said, learning from mistakes are rarely enjoyable experiences and perhaps even harder to actually learn from. I’ve made my share of mistakes and have come up with a three-part plan to deal with the mistakes that are inevitable in our lives.
Our societies have somehow made mistakes faux pas’. Interestingly enough talking to individuals we are given advice on how mistakes are helpful. This contradiction is perhaps explainable if we do not assume that people know when they’ve made mistakes. The first step in this three-part plan is to recognize and accept the mistake. Both actions take concerted efforts on our parts and are not fun. But, we are here to rectify mistakes!
Secondly… consider how the mistake happened.
Once the mistake is recognized gnashing of teeth and crying of tears will probably ensue. This is to be expected. At some point, however, we must begin the learning process and this process begins with understanding the decisions that led to and perhaps continue the mistake itself. So, between the gnashing and crying take an assessment of your decision-making processes that led you to the point that you are recognizing, i.e. the mistake. Do this while gnashing and crying perhaps, but do it at any rate. Perhaps a beverage or two, but not too much as we don’t want to lead ourselves down a path that leads us to even more mistake-making.
After the last tear has fallen and the last tooth has been gnashed, a plan is needed. Take a good and honest look at the situation you find yourself in and ask a simple question: where do you want to be? Is it another place? Is it another person? Is it another philosophy or job? and then start the process of making further mistakes again. Enjoy the trip and start the three-part process over again.
Have fun and best of luck!