07 November 2009

Reflections 1


I have said often enough to not a few listeners that I can see the boy in each man here, but I realize now that I can also see the man who evolved from the boy. Of course, there are changes, but we are palimpsests and, depending on the light, our layers are more and less visible. I appreciate the complexity that this means for character. As for myself, sometimes in my responses I move through time and stand as a teen-ager with my peers and experience now how I felt then, though now at least I can give the emotion some precision and meaning, whereas then I experienced a great deal in confusion and muteness. And I sometimes wonder to what extent others feel this way as well at these meetings. I think this refers to the concept I have always referred to as ‘leaking,’ the wilIingness to allow our neuroses to be on display rather than to expend the energy holding them in. Of course, if I was less neurotic I would myself be more apt to display my neuroses rather than use my energy to hold them in. Alas, I am not yet so free.

I have wondered during these meetings to what extent my own palimpsestic nature can be read, and the book reading last evening (following a wonderful dinner where my wine glass was too, too large) allowed me to define to others my current layer by acknowledging the earlier writings and erasures and rewritings which underlies it. I was visible and available for reading. As I read the book, I was the book read. I think that my depths were perceived and not yet fully sounded. There is certainly more day to dawn.

Perhaps these annual meetings serve some definatory purpose for us all. We act as a GPS system (thank you Alan for the availability of the simile) for each other: we send our signals out and we are located, and a voice outside us sometimes helps us locate where we are—if only we can understand the accent and we take no offense at the impersonal nature of the voice. Last evening, I sent out my voice, and I was located, and in that location, I found the others. I am interested, of course, with how differently we each read our development and understand our own subjectivities, but the only way to ensure an intricate reading is to have written a complex text and to live a full and readable life. There had been moments when I did not have a sense that I could be seen as anything but the boy who lived a bit on the margins for what were perceived (by whom, I wonder?) as serious inadequacies and failures to arrive. It was own reading then, even though then the texts were more complex than I could have imagined, and today, now that I understand this palimpsestic process better, I can read myself and others with greater insight. It improves my satisfaction at our meetings.

Each of the boys as men finally entered the world they had early designated to be the measure of public and private success, and each achieved as men a measure of success in those worlds. Perhaps one thing we learn at these meetings is how to read our achievements with greater degrees of skill and sympathy so that we might continue to acknowledge the lives that are lived and brought to our gatherings. As these meetings continue, I hope that we continue to learn how to acknowledge presence, to recognize our entrances and departures, to focus our attention to the conversation of the other, and to recognize their presence. I hope we remain curious, and to ask many questions and be seriously engaged in the responses.
The wine may not have been the bottle recommended, but it was a superb vintage nonetheless.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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08 November, 2009 17:52  
Blogger Anna said...

Love reading your blog Dr. Block. Makes me think. Too much. My head hurts. In the best way :)

13 November, 2009 17:34  

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