laissez-aller

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.” Today’s reflections are dedicated to a friend of mine with a startling mind who embodies that, as Robert Frost puts it, “Freedom lies in being bold.” As mentioned yesterday, confrontation does not come naturally to me and I have learnt a great deal from this friend through the sheer confidence and vitality with which he seems to tackle every moment with a mind wide open and questioning.

I agree with Tennessee Williams that life is an unanswered question, but that we should nonetheless believe in the dignity and importance of the question, or as e. e. cummings puts it, “Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.” We cannot have an answer for everything. Milan Kundera goes as far as to say, “The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.” I can only hope to have a beautiful question for everything and the wisdom to ask it with love and grace.

I will let Jack Kerouac conclude: “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

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