What propels people is the same thing as a computer – a combination of software and hardware. I liken the software to our brains which are capable of two kinds of gymnastics – intellectual and spiritual (the real and the unreal). The hardware, like the case that surrounds the computer, is the stuff that surrounds each of us – people and things (the real and the unreal). Each of these four elements – intellectual, spiritual, people and things – routinely interact to create the world in which we live, a world which on one level is the same planet for everyone but which on another level is an immensely diverse experience. The software and hardware of our respective lives define us.
How we control and maintain our mind and stuff is the quick answer to how we’re doing, how we’re managing the real and unreal aspects of our lives. The lines between these different factors become instantly blurred when we realize that the distinction between what is real and unreal is not always an easy one. I for example happen to think that religion (spiritual software) is unreal though for many people it is a compelling reality. Likewise some people diminish the palpable influence of people (real hardware) whereas for many family and friends come first and foremost in their lives. The same can be said of things (unreal hardware), either that they’re just “stuff” or that they provide an uplifting psychological boost. And finally the entire conglomeration becomes harmonized when for example ideas (or projects) translate into material manifestations and art (or fashion) become iconic.
Most of us have spent our entire lives integrating the software and hardware of our being, what I prefer to reduce to a balance of the cerebral and the visceral. In my early years I got on my horse and rode off in all directions, trying to accomplish as much as possible on every level at once. In my later years I was equally enthusiastic about unraveling the knots I had got myself into or at least paring their constituents to manageable proportions and seeking to understand what I had created and who I had become involved with (commonly called “downsizing” and “aging”). The thesis of this unfolding awakening was simply to retain the best ingredients of the lot. When faced with the diminishing prospects of existence I find it hard to imagine why anyone would not want to narrow one’s focus if for no other reason than to isolate what’s best and afford an opportunity to relish it. Let’s face it, if the panorama is too broad or busy, something’s going to go unnoticed. I’d prefer to have a handle of what remains, more of that control business I mentioned earlier.
On a philosophical plane the Universe is ultimately personal. In practical terms that means life is a collection of what are sometimes the most thoroughly mundane attributes. While I have always shied away from disclosing what I consider my more personal aspirations (not because they’re private or wild in any sense but because I’ve always thought them rather trite or unreasonably biased) I am discovering that it is these very common and “human” traits which, as inconsequential as they may be, characterize us all and which often form a material part of our psyche. Eventually we find ourselves shamelessly admitting what and who we like in spite of any apparent lack of depth.
So here (in no particular order) is what I like: funny and clever people, cigars, Sherry, citrus fruit, mahogany, oak, brass, silver, gold (18K or 24K), clear soups, green salads, oil and vinegar, cotton clothing, leather deck shoes, white wool socks (very hard to find by the way), watches, sedan automobiles, cashmere sweaters, Apple products, Rufus Wainwright, Jane Austen, martinis (vodka or gin), Moissanite, off-beat destinations, art (ideally oil paintings and sculpture in almost any medium), opera, sunshine, sailing yachts, oceans, family and friends. And computers – software and hardware.