The Fog of Everyday Life

35  54%  34%  7mph  windroseENE bar rises dewpoint20 First Quarter of the Snow Moon    Holiseason

The great tragedy of Science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

Thomas H. Huxley (1825 – 1895)

Whenever I read something about war, especially from a general staff perspective, this observation comes up:  “A battle plan never survives contact with the enemy.”  This represents several attitudes at once.  Humility, in that no plan can entertain every contingency created by others with free will opposed to it.  CYA, in that it provides cover for even the bad plan, for it too will not survive contact with the enemy.   Hopefulness, in that it apparently assumes that despite this problem, somehow, things will come out ok. 

A paraphrase might be, no plan survives contact with reality.  That is to say, no intellectual effort, a non-dimensional rendering of a complex, 4-D world, can guide us unerringly in the nitty gritty of daily life.

                                     Reality is a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs.
                                                       – Lily Tomlin

All this explains why I’m not done with my tour.  The cursed enemy of groceries and filing and e-mails were ugly facts, real obstacles that rose up and overwhelmed my plan.  In days gone by I would become anxious about this, troubled.  Now, I’m merely frantic.  I have all the stuff out, I’ve done most of the objects before, and I’m bound to know more than the high school students.  This all provides me with the long ago experience of college when a report or test was imminent and other ugly facts like beer and women and politics had crossed my path and torn up my plans.

At some point in all this mental milling around, I come back to this, “This is why you’ve not done more with your life.  You bum.”  This occurs especially when I read about someone like Jacque Barzun who, at age 100, just published his 38th book.   If I publish one a year from now till my 100th birthday, I could just catch him.  Well, I guess there is still time. 

Next comes:  Oh, geez.  Come on now.  You love your life and realize how lucky you are.  How grateful you are for what you have and for what you’ve been able to do with your life.  Then, I nod, get up and go work out.  Out, out, damned fact.