Some days I feel like I've been turned 180 degrees. And I wonder if everything I know is wrong.
Which leads me to the question: “What do I know?”
Looking back, I see that the knowing I had as a child, the knowing I had as a teenager, the knowing I had as a young adult – have all changed. I must admit, it seems likely that such knowing as I have now will change too.
When I consider the history of the world, I notice a similar pattern. Many concepts that were once widely accepted as true, later came to be recognized as wrong. The world isn't flat. Bleeding doesn't cure disease. Margarine isn't healthier than butter. A woman’s place isn't invariably in the home.
It follows then that many of the facts the world knows today will also be replaced by a more advanced understanding of things. It seems that both in my life and in the history of the world, the older I get and the older the world gets, the closer we each get to certain truths.
But the closer I get to the truth the more I feel like I’m coming closer to something familiar. It's as if in my old age I'll see the flower of the seed that was me as a child. The flower has always been in the seed. The truth, it seems, unfolds.
Right at the moment, I can’t quite make out that flower of the older me. I can merely sense it. I imagine that older me will be ideal (of course!). I'll be the embodiment of love, serenity, joy, peace—and most especially, wisdom. What I can’t imagine is sustaining those ideal qualities. Thus far, every perfect moment in my life has been, like a flower—ephemeral.
So how will I achieve a lasting wisdom? I guess that I will not. I guess that the older and wiser I get, the more aware I'll be of how much more I have to learn.
So I wonder, is the growth of a single soul – is the evolution of the world – infinite? I can’t conceive of an infinite journey. Because the journey, I am told, is toward oneness – toward that end where everything that knows itself as separate also knows itself as one. And that seems like a final and finite destination. Can it be reached?
Why not? After all, it says so right on our money: E. pluribus Unum.
Painting: Gift for Romney - 2003 - 11 3/8 x 7 ½ - Watercolor and Gouache - By James Stephens