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The shortening days, spent and yet to spend
Have focused my gaze on expanses
Just outside my backdoor

Imagined yet unknown, nagging me to roam
Mocking my attachments
Life's accoutrements, my home

Buffeted by all those things I know I need to need
Struggling with those vital facts all learned from a TV

In silent moments, hovering doubts
Ask what do you know, for sure?

Thinking to reach out and touch
But touched only by thinking

No footprints left behind
To know from whence I came

Convinced I know that which I know
Pride in ideas conceived
Is no more significant a show
Than recycling what I read

So naked, unprotected
In this universe of choice
Status gained by reason shown
Gives a man his voice

That group, the need to hear aye, aye
Proof we're real as them
Warm comfort, fitting in

What could possibly compel me
To move from where I stand?

Sufficient unto just myself but never to
Those shortening days, spent and yet to spend

Pat Pattillo

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The following comments are for "The Shortening Days"
by ppatt

the shortening days

( Posted by: unseenwriterx [Member] On: May 3, 2006 )

Your feedback
Thanks so much. I appreciate you ever-thoughtful impressions more than I can adequately express. You make me think too.

I can always let you know what was on my mind, aside from the question of why it was not evident, implied, alluded to etc. in the writing.

I did get a giggle myself regarding shortening asking how many might think it to be culinary writing...but I did it anyway. I had really been thinking about how long days seemed when I was young and how fast they seem to go by today.

You are right about that being no solution. I had been thinking how hard it is to be original, to find something meaningful in common with another (my fault if I can't I suppose) and how easy it is to go about our lives day by day living at a superficial level.

I was thinking about how important certain things become to us like our specific religion when it is nothing more than accident of birth. If we were born in Bali we would be Buddhist...

I was thinking about the times I have traveled and gotten so completely out of my element and that with which I am familiar yet found things so overwhelmingly human that I learned something about myself. It was almost as if it took stripping away all the cultural and societal specific, that do in some ways supply the glue that make our actions seem reasonable to one another, that something deeper can be realized or learned.

I am less interested in differences and more interested in what we have in common with one another and those in other cultures. There is so much in the way of finding just what those things are. I feel like I am seeking answers to things forh which very few I know are even asking asking the questions.

I think we manufacture superficiality that stands in place of what really might be important. I worked with someone who had 3 cancer surgeries. The company really...well, un, "sucked" if you' pardon the indelicacy. I groused daily and he came to work with a smile on his face. As I learned more about him I learned that every breath he took was a job because for so long he never thought he'd take another. In a way I envied him and wanted to somehow learn how to live in that "happy space" he had seemed to carve our for himself.

I think there are ways to do that and it is often a matter of what one reaches for rather than flight.

That was most observant to notice the detach/attach thing and I like the winter metaphor.

Maybe I strayed from the sense of days which seem to be growing shorter adding an immediacy and even impatience to occasional feelings of inadequacy.

I am not overwhelmed this way but there are occasional undercurrents that make we want to leave everything I know behind, for just a while. Absence also makes the heart grow fonder.

I read a series of articles in a Journal of African Philosophy once that raised many questions about societal norms and law. It claimed that communities actually tend towards norms of relating that fall outside of what we consider fair. They really do not tend towards identical rules for all but rather different consideration based on who you are. This is as profound as the entire question of deservedness. For example, does someone with more have it because they deserved it (presumably for being smarter, better, or somehow more worthy) or deserve it because they got it? Anyway, there is just so much constructed by humans, quite cleverly at times, to justify what they have, have done, and want to be able to do quite often at the expense of those with lower standing. The calculus intherent in cultures operating more at the subsistence level bursts a lot of the myths we have about ourselves. The world would be a better place if we could all get a taste of what it is like when we strip away a layer of assumption that we have built up around ourselves. In some ways culture is good but it also prevents us from seeing what, at a more basic level, is human.

I suppose I could get off into Huxley and comment on ways to cleanse the doors of perception, ways different that his books "The doors of perception" suggested.

I think culture implies both home and a certain degree of alientation.

Thanks again! Your feedback always makes me think.

( Posted by: ppatt [Member] On: May 3, 2006 )

It was Eugene Garver (oddly enough Professory of Philosophy, U. of MN) writing for "Quest: An African Journal of Philosophy"...

"The modern state has figured out ways of living without friendship. Consider the contrast to Machiavelli, who says that a good state needs both good laws and good arms, but where good arms are found, good laws follow automatically, while without military strength, good laws are worthless. Nothing about friendship and trust there. It is the genius of liberalism to dispense with friendship and to found communities on rights and thus on a form of justice that can do without friendship."

"Truth is disruptive. Most of the time, communities get along by looking for agreement and consensus instead of truth. They reasonably assume that “what everybody knows” really is true, and so take agreement as a sure sign of truth. The community can tolerate peaceful dissent, because disagreements are differences of opinion or taste that are not worth fighting over. Different people see some things differently, and that by itself need not threaten the community."

He says this so much better than I. My other reading on cultures has led me to believe that custom is the glue that makes our actions readily understandable, without which there is more conflict. This is largely due to our puny minds being largely incapable of grasping the abstract and more readily digesting the customery and the habitual. This certainly makes for easy misteps as cultures consider one another. How quickly we discover our true nature once our typical means of communication prove inadequate.

I've seen this in the south in the 60's and 70's and in the melting pot that is Los Angeles.

So, to answer your question posed about manufactured consciousness, I'd say it is manufactured but not contrived. It is arrived at honestly but often inadequate.

Truth? Ha! That just depends on where you stand. FOr something we should be so careful about, it sure comes easy to many. I wish it were for me.

( Posted by: ppatt [Member] On: May 3, 2006 )

ppatt: Quickened...
Was led here by respected fellow writer..

Glad she an interesting read...

Look forward to more...
falling apart, without going to pieces..


( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: May 5, 2006 )

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