Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stanislaw Lem's Cry of the Heart

Somewhere, in one of his stories, Stanislaw Lem wrote about the memento mori, the shadow line of human life.  He said something about how we are taken there outside of our control and “we, like children, argue as if we had a choice (sic)”  Or something like that.  It may have been in More Tales of Pirx The Pilot, though that, too, is a strange remembrance from insights long ago, constructed reality from faded, patched up mental debris.  

I loved his sense that “enough is maturity,” that humans would remain adolescent if possible, that we argue as if we had a choice about growing old or dying.  These were new thoughts for me then.  I was just over forty, and aware for the first time that I was getting older, becoming an older person, in spite of feeling no different inside than I did at ten.  

Perhaps I am an anomaly, but puberty made barely a dent on me mentally, emotionally, psychologically.  I still feel as if I were eight and as if I were an agent of my own in very strange company, that the adult world looks alien and fairly stupidly bent on ignoring obvious stuff.  I still think that clothes for women look silly, even demented, and that the grown men around me appear stiff and rigid as if their insides were squeezed all together into too small a space.  There aren’t that many adult humans who seem grown, in these parts even still.

I remember agreeing that, yes, enough IS maturity and that I had enough of everything most of the time, a life of privilege considering the world at large, and that I was grateful, even for the aging that was taking me, unasked, into older age where, at the very least, I no longer had to worry if I was cool and I might dress as I like without forty-seven explanations.

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