Ramble to Utter Confusion

MYRLN is a non-blogger friend of mine who is the guest-poster here on Mondays. It’s another MYRLN Monday.



Diminishing daylight hours recalls the ambivalence of the first day of summer. It’s that longest day of the year on which we celebrate reaching the peak of daylight’s supremacy. But at the same time, it’s also the day when we begin again the slide into winter’s cold, dark dreariness. Oh, some will say, what a pessimist. They will ask, is the glass half full or half empty?

Well, actually it’s both at the same time…from an holistic viewpoint. And from the same viewpoint, the first day of summer is both a beginning and an ending. No matter how much you might want to ignore the duality, it’s there: the summit of light and warmth but also the descent towards dark and cold, a pattern likely the basis for the myth of Sisyphus. Push the stone to the top of the hill only to have it roll back down and require another and endless repetition of the task, while knowing full well its eternal nature.

So the glass is always both half full and half empty. To insist on one or the other is to require factionalism, partisanship — those things that inevitably lead to disagreement and extremism (e.g. al Qaeda terrorism vs. U.S. terrorism) and often to war between the extremes. So how does the holistic viewpoint deal with such extremes? Not well, actually. Simplify the question: is murder good or bad? The holist must say it’s both. The opposite viewpoint insists it’s a moral matter; it must be one or the other. So is holism amoral? If it refuses to distinguish between good and bad, then yes, it is, the partisan would say…if not downright immoral. And if no distinction, then humanity’s response is paralyzed when it comes to extremes of behavior or event. So the glass must be either half full or half empty. No holism allowed. Partisanship required. Like the Pope recently declaring Roman Catholicism the only true path to salvation, all other aspects of Christianity and other religions, in fact, false and useless. Or like the good prez, George Dumbya’s, “I’m right and everyone else is wrong so follow me or die.”

It’s a tough world for holists. The first day of spring or fall are the best days of the year for them: days and nights are of the same length, the glass half full and half empty at the same time. The Pope and prez must hate days like those. Or maybe not so much the Pope since he recently took a nice holistic view in declaring Evolution and Creationism not to be exclusive of each other. It’s sort of like the holist pointing out the obvious truth that the human animal is and always has been good and bad in one and the same body/mind. Hasn’t it?

Although…well, remember the Garden of Eden? Remember the admonition its inhabitants were given? “…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it….” They were not to know of good and evil. See, even God didn’t want us to differentiate, wanted to keep that knowledge away from us. Or for us to know about it and not know about it at the same time? A holist? Hmmmm….

And poor Sisyphus, that first day of summer. All he can do as that damned rock begins to roll away from him, is watch, maybe cast a “Why me?” glance heavenward, and take a swig from his half-full/half-empty water bottle before starting after the rock…again. “At least it’s all downhill from there,” the eternal optimist would say, never realizing the irony of the remark.

Confusing, ain’t it? Or is it confusing and clear at the same time?

1 thought on “Ramble to Utter Confusion

  1. It never occurred to me that the Spring solstice is the peak to which Sisyphus rolled his stone, only to have it roll down again; but I certainly had the thought myself this year at the solstice that the days would be getting shorter each day from that day forward until the winter solstice, what I call “turn-around day.” I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and live in a cloudy, rainy climate that gets dark in the winter, so I am keenly aware of and affected by the light and darkness of each day. Thank goodness for my sunlight box to help me get moving in the darkness of winter. Thanks for your thoughtful essay.

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