That composed our days
Where times I lost
In the seeming haze
I found out too late
That they were to be lived
For any other use
Is sure to be grieved.” —
We humans are plagued with a wondrous and elusive burden. The search for our origin; our cause; is a glorious voyage we embark on. For what purpose is life, if any? Willful design, or chemical chance where others produced no such effect? In this charge I do stand with science and the skeptical mind, but it is a duty and a calling that we are all moved by, no matter the path we tread.
Aldous Huxley taught a young student named Eric Arthur Blair French. The boy Blair would grow up to become George Orwell. Jerome Salinger, during quiet moments away from fighting soldiers of the Third Reich, visited a journalist and author named Ernest Hemingway whenever he could steal the time. Percy Shelley married a young sixteen year old named Mary, and some years later, along with Lord Byron, along the coast of Italy, started a night-time game that resulted in the novelFrankenstein. A young Christopher Hitchens met a contemporary, Martin Amis in a bar one night and both would form a friendship that included dating the same women, albeit at different times. Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker would compete over the same woman, but that was before Wilde finally surrendered to his attraction to fellow men. David Hume and Adam Smith were great friends.
I wonder if in these pairs, either one could have imagined the eventual literary and intellectual weight of the other. Clearly, Hemingway had attained some fame before Salinger met him in the battlefields of Europe, and Hume and Smith were men of credentials by the time their bond was formed, but for the rest, it is a pleasure to muse upon.
I hate it when people say, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” That is simply ridiculous. They are not, for your opinion can not be in conflict with facts. Facts are the truth, and all deviations from them are not to be taken seriously, which makes opinions borne of such deviations entirely and completely useless, and not at all worthy of respect or deference.
There are some events, and indeed some people who, owing to genius or profound imbecility truly astound by way of accomplishing the feat of making one simply wonder in some shocked amazement. In this case, it is not an event but a man, and one not of ingenious, but appalling stupidity. I speak of Donald Trump. Who would have thought thebirthermatter would resurface? I had assumed that a settled matter to the extent that it was indeed a matter worth settling. The president’s birth certificate was made public and authenticated by the State of Hawaii. I certainly needed no proof of his natural citizenship, but whoever was foolish or racist enough to demand one, should have been satisfied by that.
Apparently, not Donald Trump. I had supposed his ridiculous reputation badly damaged by the one-two punch of the president revealing his long-form birth certificate and ridiculing Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner (in which the seriousness of the president was further noted in juxtaposition to the clown-fest of Trump by the killing of Osama bin Laden the very next day). But, like a true man lacking in shame and the ability for self-reflection, Trump has waddled back into the affair of questioning the president’s place of birth.
That is of course singularly ridiculous on its own terms. What makes it all even more absurd is Trump’s attack on conservative writer and thinker, George Will, when Will, owing to his concerns about his party, questioned why Romney would associate with the likes of Trump. Trump would go on to say Will was not an intelligent man, and even questioned why anyone would listen to a word he has to say……because of course, there is no truer intellectual than the host of Celebrity Apprentice.
The present is built on the past. The future, built on the present, with help from the past. All moments going forth to birth new ones. It is inescapable, inevitable. This linear path of life, from which one can not diverge.