Friday, September 3, 2010

Learning to Give the Physical World Its Due

PLATO: It is the things of the mind that matter.

ARISTOTLE: These steps here, bud? If you don't watch where you're going, they are going to break your mystical ass.
I was unreasonably angry at myself for spilling coffee on my laptop yesterday. I think I was mostly angry because I got caught out for ignoring the messages the physical world's been sending the past couple years.

Little warning messages like:
"Dear Fresca,
Please be advised, if you continue to perch china items on the edge of counters, you will continue to bump them occasionally and they will continue to fall off and break.

Yours sincerely,
The Court of Physical Reality"
You know the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? It goes into the storage spaces of your psychology and tallies up how many of what kind of dry goods, canned/bottled goods, spices, and cleaning products you've got in there, and how you organize them.

Results indicates, among other things, whether your approach to the world is more intuitive/Platonic (N) or sensory/Aristotelean (S).
My results have always come back S FAIL.
In other words, I break a lot of dishes.

Mostly my approach to the physical world has been to keep contact to a minimum. But there is so
very much of it... in the long run, that tactic wasn't serving me so well.

Myers Briggs (and your barista) point out that at midlife, people may start to stock up on types of goods they've lacked.
All of a sudden, they're buying turmeric and coriander. Or turning a cupboard into a shrine to Mary. 

Or, in my case, just this summer I'd begun to think maybe I should Be More Careful about physical things. Those messages were starting to come stamped PAST DUE in red ink.

So it was very galling to blunder physically in such a potentially major (expensive) way, just when I'd become willing to change.

But that's just the point:
I feel as if the desire to change, which is a Platonic factor, should be sufficient, whereas sensory things (like china) need S attention.

So, I don't hate myself this morning, I'm just humbled by the reminder that my computer doesn't care what my intentions are, it cares how I act.

Mind the gap.

Painting: "School of Athens," by Raphael


momo said...

Huh. my version of this lately is that I have bruises on my thighs from bumping into furniture because I haven't figured out yet that I'm wider than I used to be.

By the way, Mercury is retrograde until Sept 10.

Emma J said...

But from a life over-run with Sense - dishes and stairs and responding to the ugly unavoidable details that accompany another's dying - may I just say it is the lift into Non-sense - like this morning reading this clever silliness - that keeps me climbing the stairs and balancing the crockery. Thanks.

Margaret said...

Your Plato/Aristotle subtext is brillius.
(brilliant/genius hybrid)

fresca said...

MOMO: Mercury retrograde explains my life this week.

EMMA: Oh, my, yes---death is a big S project (and N too, of course). In fact, my own brush with illness was one of the "messages" I've been getting.
I'm glad this silliness lifted the spirit a bit.

'RET: Good word, brillius. THanks.

Manfred Allseasons said...

That Aristotle is such a jerk....!

Jennifer said...

I'm cracking up at Manfred's comment simply because my response to your Aristotle was "You tell him, Ari! That'll show him!"

Odd because I'm so firmly in N category it hurts--sometimes almost literally, like the time I was at an ice cream shop with Dan in Minneapolis and was so lost in conversation with him I didn't notice the flustered guy charging in and announcing the store next door was being robbed at gunpoint. I finished my ice cream, got up and strolled out of the store, trailing a baffled and worried Dan, and walked right into the police cars as they arrived, with the police pumping their...whatever you pump on guns that makes that alarming noise. I almost wet myself. Poor Dan...

nleeklee said...

fuck this stupid picture of aristotle and plato. blow it up! i hate it. it makes them seem great, but really stupid. they shit just like us. destroy this stupid picture, unless you can prove they shit gold.