An Elusive Creature

By Will Baker


Perhaps there is a great notion that exists undiscovered. This idea, wondrous in its simplicity and perfect in its elegance might be exactly what folks down through the ages have sought after. For it’s application could very well cure the ills: physically, mentally and spiritually of many an ailing people. But it is an elusive creature that affords folks only a glimpse of its form, as if it were a wild animal hidden in the underbrush, some can see its flanks, while others can discern its snout, yet others its belly but none can see the whole. Therefore it remains unfathomable and unapplied.

And there is ample evidence of this idea’s existence. One can measure its effects in much the same way that a black hole’s location can be determined by the manner in which it makes nearby stars wobble. But in making this comparison an important distinction should be noted. For many of the effects upon us, of this undiscovered idea that we measure would surely disappear were the idea to come to light. For the consequences of this notion, in its undiscovered form are often negative. Greed and hatred, apathy, gluttony and selfishness can be numbered among them. And it seems to me that at its core, the main effect is a feeling of emptiness, which we seek to allay by consumption, as if it were a sort of balm for our incomplete psyches.

Yet even in its undiscovered state there are some positive outcomes. For when we catch a glimpse of this thing we sometimes wake up from our stupor and take notice and react. And in response many times we feel compelled to share, create and rejoice. I would argue that art, music, literature and all of the philosophic sub-disciplines flow from the reality of this idea’s existence. Of course I have seen glimpses of it myself, in those rare, fleeting, perfect moments-- pieces here and parts there, as perhaps have you, but I’ve never seen the whole.

We grapple with concepts such as meaning, justification and redemption yet the subjective nature of our interpretations of those ideas invariably leads to a lack of connectedness to the thing that dances before us, ever out of reach. The greatest among us shoot nearly true; yet fail to hit the mark but in doing so perhaps they advance our cause. Humanity is ever striving; perhaps this is our saving grace: that at some point we will grasp the perfect notion.

In the face of this conflicted reality we sometimes feel small and ignorant, yet by virtue of our existence we sense the right to participate and ask questions. We search for first causes and when we fail to find them we create them, naming them as God-perhaps the wisest among us content themselves with their journey, knowing full well that for the moment this is all that we have.

I see you, but do you see me?                                                                We have our physics and philosophy.
Upon this fabric we do our dance.                                                           We roll the dice, we trust to chance,
Hoping all we do is not in vain.                                                              We sow life's crops and pray for rain.



 (Essay Collection)




Life's meaning