"The meaning we're concocting happens nonetheless,
though I'm only rarely aware of its blooming presence."

When I speak of brains, I catch myself slipping into the realm of electronics metaphors. Though no wires seem evident when a brain's dissected, I confidently speak of wiring. Impulses morph into imagined circuits. Scientists search for underlying designs just as if designs just must hover to be discovered in there somewhere, and I believe. I suppose that I'm exhibiting some characteristic of brain behavior in the ways that I imagine my brain working. I deploy metaphors as though they are much more than they were ever intended to be. I concoct then buy into extended allegories before imprinting on the allegories as if THEY are the reality. I suspect that the reality lies far beyond the ability of my brain to comprehend.

Much of life seems to inhabit this same territory.
Fundamentally incomprehensible, so I construct some structures I can comprehend, before I engaging as if I really understand. It might well be that understanding lies well beyond me, though I know of no way to confirm this suspicion. I find it more convenient to engage as if I understand, though I deep-down doubt that I actually do.

Science moves forward at about the speed of a screaming turtle. Scientists make well-intended assertions about our world before setting off to disprove their claim. I'm no scientist, for I rarely expend any serious effort to disprove what I so quickly and so firmly believe. I make believe instead. I act as though my beliefs were actual facts, as though my allegories were the genuine article rather than abstract stories intended to explain the incomprehensible. Still, the better the story, the better the experience of the story-teller, at least in the short run. Later, sometimes much later, even the better-crafted stories catch up to even the most masterful story-tellers, and once-confident assertions turn to naught.

And even now, I rail against "the literalists" surrounding me, for I can see through their stories much more acutely than I can ever see through my own. Those who accept the Bible literally, annoy the heck out of me because, for me, that politically-concocted volume contains nothing but extended allegory, intended to be appreciated every way
except literally.

I understand that societies have existed where allegory was consciously employed, where it comprised the whole of the spoken language, as if every utterance was poetry, as if every statement carried multiple meanings, open to a vast array of essentially personal interpretations. Could such a society ever hope to scale up into mass communication? The citizens of this society might have maintained a form of consciousness that, it seems to me and my presently-wired brain, just must have experienced continuous transcendence, hyper awareness when compared to our more clean-cut communications. If the meaning of your statement depended upon my mindfulness to decode, what could either of us claim to really know? If the simplest transaction required that you and I somehow concoct a shared subtle awareness, would we find ourselves more naturally understanding, forgiving, and generous?

Some days, I sense that we inhabit that society but hardly ever come to glimpse its presence. I can quiet any odd ambiguity with a briskly literal interpretation and walk away confident that I completely understand when, of course, I don't and I didn't. I think myself careless some days and in later reflection, sense that I've tromped all over some exquisite possibilities, distracted by something seemingly more urgent and important in the moment when I might have slowed down and recognized an opportunity to make a significant difference. I believe that I might become a better person, whatever that means, if I engaged with everyone as I try to engage with my eight year old grand daughter, the euphonious Grand Other. She spouts what I might easily interpret as meaningless gibberish much of the time, but I'm learning that when I receive her seeming garble as some sort of allegory and engage as if deeper meaning resides in there somewhere, we sometimes discover together some deeper, more personal connection. It's a heavy lift most all of the time for me, and no less for her, for she's growing accustomed to being rejected for her continuing apparent irrelevance, for simply being a silly girl, making no sense at all.

I think it perhaps part of the wiring of The Grand Other's brain at work between us. I'm embarrassed to notice that I cannot always maintain any semblance of transcendence when we interact. She, slapping at my fingers and face. Us making up lightly ribald nursery rhymes together. Frosty The Grandpa had some mighty soggy pants … . We rhyme in absolutely, literally, meaningless, hilarious couplets. The meaning we're concocting happens nonetheless, though I'm only rarely aware of its blooming presence.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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