Jahresbericht or Soup d’ Journal : REGARDING THE PERSONAL MOTTO
Maybe it’s a bad idea to have a personal motto. When it’s not a senseless burden, it gets me into trouble. I started with JURIS PRAECEPTA SUNT HAEC: HONESTE VIVERE,; ALTERUM NON LAEDERE; SUUM CUIQUE TRIBUERE (“The precepts of the law are these: to live honorably; to hurt nobody; to render everyone his due”). Of course, that never worked: my peers thought I thought I was better than they were. My superiors thought I was trying to hurt them by making them look bad. As for people subordinate to me, all of them seemed to think that I was trying to take away the nothing they had. Both of them savagely accused me of trying to render to them what they deserved.
So, I took as motto what became my shibboleth : SEEK TRUTH, BE LOVED, AND MAKE A LIVING. At least this motto was not in Latin, a language of arenal failures, and ancients who erst-whiled away their time burning libraries, and crucifying Zionists for which they blamed the Jews, triply victimizing their victims. Secondly, it contains a vector of direction from the tension of an expanding trinity, a sort of Hegelian dialogue, suggesting that in practical action (the artifice of “making” a living out of Doing and Being) can be found the common ground between the incompatible antipodes of Truth and Love.
But this has not worked either. A motto becomes a rut, a sewer, and not in a good way. The motto only reminds me of my flush, epidemic, broad, and abundant failures - my axle-broke cart dragged to the sunken shoulder. I am road killed, over-run by a million, count ‘em, Sport-Utility Vehicles. What I thought had utility has become someone else’s sport. My wheels are not merely broken, they do not fit any known chassis. I have not found truth. I have not glimpsed even a passing resemblance.
As for the second clause, it is harder to be Loved than I ever imagined. It feels like an un-natural act. It may even be that “crime against Nature” which is so often discussed in the literature of pricks. It is clear to me, it is often spelled out and spoon-fed to me, that I am not loved outside my immediate family members, a dwindling group which is calling in help as we speak . Most people have never even “liked” me – we are hardly in the swill ball-park of Love. The mutuality of open hostility appears to be growing. Large parts of me seem to have joined the “other” side of this issue.
As for my livelihood, it has never risen to the level of being a “livelihood”. There is no “there” there. I struggle for existence, overwhelmed by the details of survival. Just the other day I was accosted by a man who owes me money for services I performed at his request – and he wanted to know when I would pay him. Whatever I seem to have made, is not a “living”.
It does not appear productive to pretend to a motto more painful than aspirational. So, I am looking for a new motto, something more appropriate to a man of my station: A terminal station at the end of a parallel line of rust in a jungle of desert at the bottom of a dry sea. A slogan suitable to someone who has been handed the remote which controls no known appliance.
I am thinking of “To sow the sea, reap the tears, and fake a dying”. This ought to give pauze to myself as I plunge into the rigors of remorse, remonstration, and regret. It may also give bone to that jaw of steps, a run of landings in that “hindsight” of the brain – its espirit d’escalier – which can see patterns of Guilt emerge from the shadows of the past, and which is really the only window in my log-cabin.
Or perhaps the cheery bon-mot “Memento Mori”, for those of us who love life, but not particularly this life. Unfortunately, I do not think there is any other “life” – after, or extra-terrestial, or otherwise – so perhaps this adversion to death, as if it has consequences, is too hopeful.
Well, I have not found a suitable replacement. And having lived so long with the “tape” of a motto, replaying the worm so to speak, with the having of a motto, I will try to find one before I jettison my old one. But you should know, for the record, or for the DVD in the sky, that my old motto – Seek Truth, Be Loved, and Make a Living – is no longer, if it ever was, invoked.
Under the circumstances, no decent burial arrangements are being made. We cannot afford the fuel for a pyre. We were thinking of exposing it to the sky and letting eagles tear out its liver every day. Eagles eat fish and this one is fishy enough.
- Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable. I am filled with joy. It can't be helped.
Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired. Filled, just filled, with Joy.