Our lifework always leads on

Wednesday July 6, 2016

5 a.m. Anybody have something to say? Rita?

As you edit the final volume of our work together, realize that nobody ever knows what their work will amount to, any more than they realize what their life amounts to. And your life work may sneak up on you so quietly that you are well into it – maybe even you have completed it – before you realize what it was.

Yes, I’ve been having that feeling.

But recognize, also, that your work – anybody’s work – is also going to be open-ended. Your life work always leads on, and it is up to you whether you seal it off.

I don’t quite get the sense that this is what you mean. A Churchill, say, a Macmillan, surely knows that the work he can do has come to an end.

It is a finer point than I appreciated before trying to put it into words. Your life is choice within prior constraints. Such choice may be consistent, inconsistent, wavering, and may or may not trend in a direction. Your work is an integral part of your life, and will share those characteristics, or rather, will result from, and influence, the rest of your life.

The work may be public and obvious – a statesman, a writer, a painter – or it may be entirely private and subtle – a grandmother, an industrial worker, a soldier. Regardless the external manifestation, the life will have an effect on “external” life. No one is so much a hermit or is so insignificant that he, or she, does not affect the “external” world, because as we have said, the “external” world is only  way of seeing the unknown “internal” world.

Nobody’s life is lived in isolation, even if they live in solitary confinement, or out in the woods. There is no separation to allow for it. In 3D appearances, yes, of course, but in reality no. We are all part of one common life, however separate we may feel and however much autonomy we may have in the living of our lives. Therefore, there can be no irrelevance, no isolation, no failure, not even any failure to execute a design. Even a refusal is a contribution.

My point in reminding you of this as you finish editing what you are thinking of as Rita 3 is to round it off. Life is an adventure as well as a chore; a meaningful set of decisions as well as, sometimes, endless routine. It is private, concerned with yourself above all, and at the same time is unswervingly public, in that every input has its influence.

There isn’t any one meaning of life, any more than there is any one future. What life means to you is different from what life means to someone else, and neither of you can be wrong, nor can your view be universally applicable.

You and I set out to answer some questions about life “on the other side,” and we wound up going on a much longer journey than either of us had reason to expect. This is an example of the way opening up before you as you step into it. We did not come to an ultimate ending-place, nor did we come to understand everything. No one ever does, and surely that is all to the good? Besides, you might as well get used to the idea of never knowing everything; it won’t be all that much different when you reorient to the non-3D.

But after all, would knowing everything really change your life in an important way? Would you not lose as much as you gain?

Some of us would be willing to take that chance. You should certainly understand that.

Oh, I do. That’s why this long effort.

A consolation prize for us?

You don’t need to know everything; you need to know as much as you can handle, as much as you can wield, in order to function as best you can. The more you understand and incorporate within yourself, the greater your capacity to learn even more, to make yourself able to become yet more. Knowing “everything” would not in any way assist this process even if it were possible, and erroneously thinking you knew or could know everything might easily bred despair.

Interesting. I don’t know that I would have thought of that.

Well, consider it.

So, it’s a good goal to work toward, even if it can’t actually be achieved.

Ideals are to be lived toward, and if they can be achieved, they are not ideals but goals. Where did I hear that?

For that matter, where did I hear it?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.

So, then, are these in the nature of last words?

Consider them encouragement, and affectionate regards, to all who ever read them.

I may use this as a final entry.

In any case, I again bid you an affectionate farewell.

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