One Way Passage!

After seventy-five years it occurred to me this afternoon as I breezily motored along the Appleton Side Road that life is a one way passage. This may initially resound as uninventive and unnecessarily restrictive but my inspiration is in fact quite the opposite. Contrary to the diminutive nature of the projection, the synthesis is the coalescence of both ambition and reality which I trust you’ll agree are less than trifling ingredients for philosophic reflection.

Seemingly it is within my nature to confute and knock the bottom out of disagreeable events and postures. The so-called “cards” that one is dealt in life, or the summary of its features, dilemmas and episodes, are upon certain analysis regrettable and infuriating. It bears repeating however that in this circumstance of introspection one is frequently inclined to recall only what is off-putting. At this juncture it behooves one to surmount the hurdle for the plain, toxic reason that there is nothing to change the past. This is such a frequently proclaimed adage that the sharpness of the bayonet is as often disregarded. We are literally cut off from our past notwithstanding the ensuing poetic representation of it. Being a product of one’s past, or a reflection of it in some imaginary way, does not defeat the precision of the separation nor revive its erstwhile preponderance or cultivation or insinuation.

But here’s the good news: The defeat of the spectre of one’s past means not only the burial (whether solemn or otherwise) of all that it contains, but more importantly the shaken reminder that the passage forward need not include the identical and possibly circuitous route. Assuming as I do that each of us clings to particular elements of our past which succeed only to drag us down, the epiphany is not what is to follow but what has preceded; namely, that incoherence is untrustworthy logic. This, as blunt as it is, is by another reduction the simple truth to the direction forward; namely, one way passage.

The further exudation of that solution is the equally axiomatic corollary that we only really know and trust one way forward in the dark that is life; and that is the one guided by the lantern of our own prescription (what is sometimes called instinct or gut reaction to conjoin the mystical and medical perspectives). It is a simplicity complicated by the failure to ask the proper question before proceeding to the right answer. To illustrate I confused my own thoughts with a labyrinth of ideas formulated first by the imperious justification of religion and social breeding in prep school; followed by the patently narrow schisms of thought called philosophy in undergraduate studies; then meshed into the presumptive purity of legal fictions at law school. By the time I was ejected upon the roadway called career I was essentially diluted and configured.

In spite of the manipulative persuasion of thought and consequence, after three-quarters of a century I find myself gleefully surfacing through the stretch of swampy and boggy ground to the recognition of a perfectly complacent and inspiring motif. The freedom is not, as one might be inclined to suspect, the liberty to misbehave; rather it is the unfettered resolve that the only elements by which to adjudge and confront one’s conduct is that predicted by oneself. It hardly need be said that, as easy as it may sound, it is not. There are for example within oneself unparalleled urges and inclinations which revolt against one’s better judgement. The ultimate confrontation is beneath one’s skin. And while that ain’t no easy passage it is irrefutably the one and only passage.

One Way Passage