I find myself at times around burning embers of wood listening to people I barely know talk about things that are only too familiar. I find myself, at such times, being opinionated quite obtusely in favour of what I see as the valid explanation of the intrigue under discussion. And so I debate. Relishing the act as much as the fact that the discussion would be pointless. I found myself in a similar situation a few days ago. Sitting in a large group. Kindling a campfire with a stick. Listening intently to a question asked by a fellow camper. In time the question transmuted into one of those abstract topics of discussion that get everyone's attention. The common woe in every heart put skillfully into words. Something of the essence :
What's stopping you from quitting your mundane professions and following your passions?
Well, everyone can give a piece of his mind on that one for sure. For some it is a wait. For some an impossibility. For others, it is unnecessary. Some do not know where their passions lie. Some have a plan. Others give not a damn.
But it was something else in this conversation that got my attention more than the abstract question.
What is success?
Surely something subjective, for everyone had a different definition in mind for it. Money, fame, respect, happiness, completion, satisfaction, etcetros. Many opinions poured from all sides of the fire (which I had been constantly tending to, by the way, but that is not really relevant). Some made sense to me, others did not and others yet were way too abstract to be answers to anything. It amazed me that something so frequently referred to in conversations between friends and didactic advises of parents, teachers or self appointed preachers could have such diverse comprehensions! I must have used the word "success" in many of my conversations with others, never bothering how it was understood by the other. And there must be many more of these words. Happiness? Love? Tension? Inability? Excitement? Pride? Beauty? Divinity? Something? Nothing? Everything?
Leads one to question as to how much indeed is he able to communicate through words? How many things said are misunderstood? How much read between the lines? How much assumed? Could our lives be simpler without languages? Would abstracts still exist if there were no words to explain them? Perhaps there are none that do. But the darned abstracts do exist. They continue to ruin our conversations. Laugh impishly as we try to bridge the gap between the said and the understood. Under such dire circumstances, everything seems so simply and conveniently confusing! Reminds me of a line that I read recently in Alan Moore's 'From Hell' :
Invoke not reason. In the end it is too small a deity.