Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tennis, anyone?

At birth we’re dealt a hand of cards. You stand to gain the greatest personal satisfaction in life when you play it out with skill (retain a trump or two for the end play is my tip of the day). You do that by playing to your strengths. And naturally, your sphere of activity ought to be determined by your inclinations.

My peculiarity is a compulsion to figure out what life is all about. I’m a man after the metaphysical meat in the sandwich. For me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than to engage in philosophical reflection. I want to experience and explore existential enigmas, and thereafter live in accordance with my conclusions. My particular bunch of aptitudes spurs me to ask: What’s it all about (. . . Alfie?). 

Internal forces niggle at me to poke into the innards of existence. I desire to fathom the plumbings of the universe in my veins. I derive great joy from that delving. I love a heavy set of tennis for the brain. 
My forte isn’t fancy footwork, and I can’t serve, smash, lob or volley to save my soul. The only string to my racquet is insight; I have a gift for grasping the human condition. And the technique that I employ is a certain kind of thinking.

I must confess that I'm suspicious of rhetoric, scientific method, philosophical rumination, religious dogma, emotional manipulation and the like. In my opinion, they’re largely gimmicks. They don’t impress or convince me. Sure, I use logic as and where it’s appropriate—in the right hands it’s a powerful tool—but not exclusively, or even mainly. I mistrust the way people wield it (to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail). Even common sense doesn’t do it for me.

No, I’m not a linear rational dimwit. Instead, I suspect that I’m a multivariant and multidimensional thinker, which means that I use both hemispheres of my brain together with the brain stem. This gives you balance. It confers the gift of testing your thoughts for distortion, confusion and dishonesty.

How I’d describe it in real terms is that it makes me heft every hypothesis a hundred times before I’m happy. I need to weigh it, toss it around, taste it, test it and try it on for size. In short, I need to fully grok it (thanks, Heinlein, for that term). This requires heaps of window-gazing time. Decades. This probably explains why it has taken so long for my ideas—and for me as a personality—to Victor Mature.

My way of pondering mirrors Stephen Hawking’s movements. You’ve seen how the world champion of slow pokes painstakingly twitches the cheek muscle under his eye. Letters drip until there are enough of them for his voice synthesizer to drone forth. Me too—it’s as if enlightenment dribbles into me drop by hesitating drop (I must lose a lot through evaporation).

So no, I'm not a quick thinker, but I don't think that it’s possible to act in haste and yet be sure of your conclusions. I suggest, therefore, that you don’t hunt me up for some scintillating face-to-face. I wouldn’t measure up. Rapid-fire debate is not my thing. 


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