Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Turtle and the Snail and an Old Question


August 16, 2015

Dear Friends,

Today’s blog is brief: a story, a smile, and a question.

The story:

Two turtles had a severe collision on the garden path.
The turtle police were called.
They soon located a snail who had witnessed the accident.
“What happened?” they asked.
“Well, I don’t exactly know, officers,” the flustered snail said. “See, it all happened so fast.”

The smile:

When I laughed, my friend who had told the joke, added his own punch line. “See,” he said, smiling himself, “Everything’s relative.”

The question:

It is my strong conviction that all experience incorporates its context. However, I am by no means convinced that as a result everything is relative in the sense in which my friend was arguing his point. 

Recalling the joke later, I wondered again about knowing and meaning (not a new question).

Granting for the moment my friend’s argued point—i.e., that relativity shapes all knowing—I asked myself: Was Freud right? Does biology determine destiny?

If so, does biology do this through limitation of knowing? Does who I am biologically determine what I may know? 

The problem that my friend’s clever joke ignored, of course, is the human differential between perception (sense-based knowing) and meaning. 

For example, I may (and do) perceive diminishment in the context of the aging process. I know my present strength as relative, remembering the young woman who ran up the hill, wind in her hair, for no reason other than the sheer exuberance of strength and energy that made this possible.

Today, my diminished strength limits not only my capacity to run but limits as well my capacity to create a product. No question: today’s blog will be short.

But. . . what does that mean? To what degree does limited physical strength reduce my capacity to create meaning?

Thinking with you today that it is not possible to consider biologically-determined, sense-based perception without considering another factor.

Is it not in our choice to make meaning that our essential human freedom lies?

See you next week.

Gay

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