Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Investigations: a Prose Poem

I tried to give them identities - Columbia seniors or first yr grad students? gay, straight? - but they kept slipping out of any container. Musing on them made me appreciate the vast shallow ambiguity of youth, the unformedness of it, here offered in such appealing promise, a kind of perfection of a moment - as if with exactly the color, consistency, shape, size & temperature, say, a soft-boiled egg should have and be at the 1:46 mark of the 5 & a half minutes their destiny requires them to cook. Every age has a perfection to which it aspires.

Then I looked down at my two-toned because half-water logged brown shoes & mused on what ‘maturity’ could possibly mean. (I don’t see the connection either but that’s the chronology of association.) And the best business of a definition I could think of for ‘maturity’ in sentient (self-aware) beings was that it suggested the condition of intentional life in which economical pragmatism held sway - a stage of life in which navigating the world encouraged questioning reflex assumptions out of the determination to coax out of life what you wanted to appear — marking an awareness of what the full psyche wanted, not merely the presenting self, and the discernment to see in available resources which could be used for what ends. ‘Mature’ most simply implied ‘fully operative.’ It had no necessary moral or other preconceived aim. Then I looked up at these 21 yr olds again. They looked then as they look to me now in this photo: completely transparent and intransigently impenetrable, immune to the importuning of any generality. They still seemed like they didn’t know squat, but that may be because I don’t. 
Is investigation ever really profitable?


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