I have, for as long as I can remember, had a nearly insatiable appetite for grand explanatory systems. From the promise of a scientific unified theory in physics to the intricate Hindu cosmologies of astrology and reincarnation; from the just-so stories of evolutionary psychology to the creaking Frankenstein monster of integral theory; from impassioned Marxist frameworks to feminist critiques of just about everything, I’ve tried on each ensuing set of lenses, and found myself, always, distracted by the inevitable blurred periphery, the outside and unincorporated, the necessarily unincluded realm, the whispered mystery dancing beyond.
It’s been frustrating. I’ve wanted some final story, some intricate system of belief or nuanced framework of understanding that my mind–like a gleeful black-beaked and dark-hearted raven–couldn’t immediately pick full of holes, and I’ve found nothing.
Worse, I’ve felt ashamed of my noncontribution. If these systems I’ve tested are so lacking, why not construct my own? How pathetic, to merely criticize; how weak, to merely tear apart; how cruel and petty, and sad. But my mind, it seems, is not constructed for construction. (My mind, it seems, holds other designs more dear.)
For a long time it made me think that in academia I’d find a home. There, no doubt, would come along some organizing cognitive structure into which the world would settle finally into place. For a long time I kept hunting.
I’ve begun, recently, to recast this disappointment, and this search, and though this new perspective is still just that–new–it’s felt so reassuring. Instead of framing this viciousness as a bitterly destructive impatience with systems and ideology, and as a frustration with the frailness of those I encounter, I’m beginning to understand the impulse as , instead, a love–a love for the mystery, and a love for the unknown, expressed an inexorable, magnetic honing on the uncontainable, the unexplainable, and the possible beyond.
I love this aspect of what is (or this outside of it), and feel driven, always, and everywhere, to make room for it, and to be a reminder of–and an advocate for–that vast implacable mystery. There is more, always, and the world far more wonderful than I am able, ever, to bear.
In other, more mundane (or more magical) news, it snowed here the other day. I am fresh from Colorado, where a dusting of a few inches would barely register; here, the entire city paralyzed itself with drama and excitement and ice. Stores closed. People worked from home. Two of my afternoon appointments canceled, citing the weather, and I was the sole attendee at yesterday’s noon-time yoga. Where others were sternly disgruntled, I was charmed. An inch or two of snow and this! How adorable.
(Less adorable was the fact that our heater blew last night, chilling the loft absurdly. We ended up, in midnight desperation, turning to the open oven as a heat source. This–given the exposed brick walls and open floor of our place here–meant that I awoke just before dawn feeling as though I were being slowly roasted in the earthen stove of some fairytale witch, or tasting the nightmarish experience of one of tomorrow’s unfortunate turkeys. Ai.)