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The Sky Gods, Incarnate

What pompous fools most intellectuals are! They think they are accomplishing something by cogitating over the Big Questions, and burying everybody under a mountain of vague verbiage.

Once again, the afternoon sky had come alive and threatening. What a show it is!...this noisy blustering of the Indo-European male sky gods, strutting across the sky, high over our 'sagebrush sea.'

As the Sky built up to its climax, a young man and his dog mountain biked by my campsite. On the ascent the dog finally got the better of the biker, and spurted ahead. My dog ran out to check the dog out. This gave us a chance to talk. We had to communicate quickly because the biker was afraid of cold rain, lightning, or hail.

(It was like that scene at the beginning of the "Wizard of Oz", when Dorothy and Toto are on the run, and you wonder if they are going to get home before the twister hits.)

The dog had a pair of doggie saddlebags on, which carried water, a collapsible water dish, and snacks. The saddlebags were dirty and well used. They seemed to be a part of his hide. The saddlebags certainly didn't slow the dog down.

They had to get going before the storm really landed. Next for them was a smooth, fast descent, where of course the bike has an advantage over the dog. But the young male dog wouldn't give up. He only fell a few feet behind the bike.

The young biker was worried about the storm, so he was plenty motivated. But what was the dog thinking? Why this intense 'lust for life?' This great intensity and fanaticism? Think of that marvelous speech in the Charlie Chaplin movie in which one character asked the second character about the meaning of life. And the second character said (more or less): "You want Meaning? Life isn't about Meaning. It is about Desire."

But, as has been the pattern recently, the storm passed with only a few drops.

I will never forget the enthusiasm of that dog. It is an image stuck in my mind forever, as was that famous scene in Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" when the Tolstoy-like main character took a vacation from his intellectual masturbation and religious moping, to go out in the field and swing a scythe with his peasants. At the end of a day of back-breaking labor, he felt happier than he had in his life.


XXXXX said…

Well said. There are plenty of philosophers who wrote hundreds of pages on the "will." I can't stick with such a "mountain of verbiage" either.

Is the will much different from instinct? Once we recognize ourselves as animals we must accept having instincts that drive us relentlessly and which appeared as "will" to our predecessors. Our instincts (unconscious) become our desires (conscious) and fulfilling them brings great joy. Nature has us coming and going; we are her pawns.

I will always envy dogs who don't try to figure everything out like we do. Seems more a curse than anything else. It never changes us. We can't fix it. We just suffer through it all.


George, The Will seems related to Instinct, and to habit.

I'm not sure that I agree about 'trying to figure everything out is a curse.' Seems like figuring things out is also a desire and instinct.