‘”…Jorge feared the second book of Aristotle because it perhaps really did teach how to distort the face of every truth, so that we would not become slaves of our ghosts. Perhaps the mission of those who love mankind is to make people laugh at the truth, to make truth laugh, because the only truth lies in learning to free ourselves from insane passion for the truth.”
“…The order that our mind imagines is like a net, or like a ladder, built to attain something. But afterward you must throw the ladder away, because you discover that, even if it was useful, it was meaningless…”‘ Umberto Eco, The Name Of The Rose, Picador, 1984.
The veteran finds he can remember the name of everyone in his high school class, but cannot remember taking his blood-pressure pill today. As he reads the news of the world going to hell in a handbasket, who is manipulating whose doubt in democracy’s inclusivity, and who is crowdfunding what ego trip, he admires the new methods of driving forward what feels like it must be done, but he cannot remember much about what that was in his own youth. He imagines a reunion of his high school class dividing into contact groups asked to explore one question, ‘What happened?’ How did you lose all your money? How did you rise to those dizzy heights over there? How did you raise five children and foster nine more, alone? How did you interpret the platitudes of the sixties and seventies to make yourself that best self you committed yourself to find after school? In straggling formation like cockatoos, squawking eternity across the timeless vault, they would possibly share an inexpressible need to absent themselves from their children’s resentment, but would be unable to articulate what in the moment they would need to adapt … in these terms, my darling grandchildren, you achieved greatness merely by getting here!
Upon what glistening trackside web in the light of dawn shall time, the flight of its captives, zigs or zags, be transfixed? The zigs and zags of the veteran similarly flutter no more. He remembers the past as the foundation of its future, but karma in each instant depends on karma in the next. The future is indeterminate; the present is a polynomial guess, whether the climate emergency means you, or you mean it. The distinction may already be between a zig and a zag.
As humanity begins to fall apart, the Veteran Moon wonders at the meaning of his velocity, his phases, his background and his gravity. Humans have created history, society, science and religion out of cultures of meaning, which is a great achievement on the face of it, since the meaning of all phenomena, the Moon and your heart, for example, only phenomenologically exist. Rights and duties, and genders, for that matter, circle each other like pugilists, as the planets circle the Earth, and the Sun.
Perhaps you don’t believe in Gaia, but what of the sea and the sky? You may not believe in God, but what of awe, and your vocation and your muse? How do you define your family? How do they define you? Meaning is the situation you create for yourself, your country, in that existential terrain which sustains your interest. Poof! One day it will be gone. How can it have been so important? How will the next generation of veterans define an ingenue? Does your judgment of your elders mean anything? What does it mean to be on the verge of extinction?
Religions abound which offer authoritative measures of the meaning of life, and have ever done so. And as surely, the doctors of the spirit have never shirked from the issues of suffering, fear and despair. Salvation is at hand, cry the wellness spruikers of today, on a million social websites, in the form of answers to questions like, ‘who am I?’ and ‘what shall be my legacy?’, or ‘how may I cling eternally to something which will survive me?’ On the other hand if, unlike Southern Hemisphere Astrology, you believe the rock of permanence is best left unturned for the red-back spider it will disclose, there’s a tour for that, and it heads out well after dawn.
As for the Full Moon near the ‘June Solstice’, the Elder or Veteran in Gemini, it resonates with the overarching values of human community, forgiveness and compassion, because on the other side of the world from the Sun’s woe, it’s the Moon’s job to say, “Keep going, it’s all downhill from there.” Trouble is, 866 crossings of the Lethe to the Sun’s 70 doesn’t make the Moon an authority, it just makes him mathematically correct, one who has done it all, including compassion, without remembering how.
What is the nature of the reality in which an Earthling’s local perspective can find meaning in geometrical intersections of galactic and orbital planes which are no more visible than the Stone Age in an urban streetscape, or a name for someone’s awe? What cannot be disproven by algorithms such as I use, whose formulae are based on polynomial expressions of previous observations, is the good fortune of Earthlings in 1998 CE that the Sun’s crossing of the Lethe did not exactly coincide with the June Solstice (difference 6 minutes), the New Moon (difference 3 days) or the North Node (difference 2 constellations), because the coincidence of all four would have wiped out all memory, tipped the magnetic poles and caused 10m tides, catastrophic floods and bushfires, and hundreds of thousands of fatalities in collisions of aircraft with each other and with migrating birds.
For me, there can be no more satisfactory explanation of contemporary utopian, even soteriological, notions of secular safety, mental and physical health, and identity and personal improvement, than that Earthlings are learning less and less about more and more, and more and more about less and less, resulting in widespread distribution of ingenues who know nothing about everything and veterans who know everything about nothing.
“Dear Lord, may this stone, a symbol of my efforts on the pilgrimage that I lay at the feet of the cross of the Savior, weigh the balance in favor of my good deeds that day, when the deeds of all my life are judged. Let it be so. Amen.” Emilio Estevez, The Way, Elixir Films, 2010.