McCuster is talking about a lot of good stuff today. Back before I bought everybody.org, Jeff told me I should post my rants to a website. That way, whenever I wanted to go off on something for the 42nd time, I could just give them the URL and have it done with.
I bought the domain name and had some fun playing around with mod_perl and the like, but didn’t put too many of my thoughts out there. I think this is because, as McCuster alludes, I had several close friends nearby. Now that my close friends have moved away, I post a lot more to this site.
Anyway, he talks about loss as well. There is this great quote from Dave Rogers (who brought this all on, anyway):
How much of our economic activity is devoted to preserving the illusion of youth? […] [T]here are marketing efforts in virtually every […] industry that are designed to appeal to youthfulness. Automobiles, entertainment, travel, recreation, and others all make appeals which rely to a great extent on preserving the illusion of youth. They certainly don’t have to, all of these activities have virtues or worth quite apart from the preseveration of any illusion of youth, but they rely on getting us stuck in denial and bargaining, because it works so well. Because once we reach “acceptance,” well then, what motive is there for buying the latest fashion?
At the end of this piece, Dave refers to the ending of Cast Away as an example of acceptance. The castaway has been on an island for four years and returns home, to find that life has continued without him. This is difficult for everyone involved, but he explains to a friend that, while on the island he discovered “I had power over nothing.”
Too often, we live with the illusion that we have control. We lack the humility to understand our limits and live within them. Listening to LOTR again, I get to see that Gandalf had a good handle on this humility. As a wizard, he was very powerful and very wise. He recognised his weakness, the lure of the power of the ring, and recognised that it would overpower him, while granting the illusion of ultimate power.
Frodo was successful in his quest as the Ring-bearer not because of his power or wisdom, but because his lack of these attributes gave him the humility to eschew the lure of the ring.
So, what does this have to do with youth and grief? In our youth, we believe ourselves to be invincible. We are more powerful than we were as a child and, somehow, we get to thinking that this power is invincible. As we age, we lose control. The marketing that Dave spoke about targets this loss and presents products as a cure for the “disease” of old age.
This ends up being a never-ending (until death) quest for the ring of youth which, like the Tolkein’s ring, cannot be owned.
Just some loose thoughts, jumbled together.