47. Thy Hoodwinking

To where does this life lead? To what does this life lead? What will this life leave behind? I can't say I can answer any of these questions. Life doesn't seem to be what we're told it is. It certainly isn't what we're shown on TV or in the movies, nor would I want it to be. Writers put words and images out there, but they aren't always about clarity or understanding, nor are they about living a better, more useful or more productive life. What they're about is what life isn't: it's about what we think life should be or what we want life to be or what we hope life will be, but what these words and images do is to provide a place for us to hide from ourselves and from our life. Our disconnect from our individual lives in this culture is staggering and from what I've seen it continues to get worse each and every year.

I didn't use to think of myself as older, but I do now. It helps to have some grounding in reality, so to think of myself as anything but older, as I've gotten older, would be dishonest of me and if there is one person in this world I need to be honest with--it is me.

Polonius said "This above all, to thine own self be true. / And it must follow, as the night the day / Thou canst not then be false to any man" (Hamlet I. iii.) but Polonius hired someone to spy on Laertes, his son, during his travels in France and he used his daughter, Ophelia, as sexual bait to entrap Hamlet (see #14). If Polonius is true to himself, he isn't to his children. Despite this, Shakespeare gave him words that still resonate if said by a person with integrity. So who is Polonius fooling by offering this obvious and somewhat trite (considering the source) advice? Maybe the only person he is fooling is himself.

originally posted September 2015
reposted March 2018

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