Thursday, October 27, 2011

On Cognition

   Who does not desperately cling to the notion that there is, if not benevolence, then at least ambivalence, in the workings of the fates? Show me a person that is indifferent to their destiny and I will show you one who is either enlightened or insane.

   The possibility that the states of enlightenment and insanity are co-mingled has, to my mind, never been properly refuted. That is not to say that I recon they are intertwined out of necessity, nor do I believe that coincidence mandates a causal interconnectedness. But on matters of our individual consciousness(es) there is little concrete understanding and much wearisome dogma. I do not comprehend what it is that constitutes an individual intellect, and I am dubious –contemptuous, even– of those that profess such knowledge. Still, knowledge is fruit borne of a tree which is by inquisition fortified. I do not begrudge examination of the issue. I merely disdain those that arrive at their destination without first making the voyage. For my part, a deep innate laziness allows me to be convinced only of my ignorance.

   I am tormented by fish. I am drawn out of myself by fish. I am pleased and rewarded and edified and damned by fish. Fish are my muse, my prison guard, my confidant, my companion, my ruin. I am held hostage by their watery visage, their alien grace, their solem and mute testimony. Why? Why? Why? If I may myself not answer this simple question, who may perchance offer a solution? I hate them at times, the way that we do all the things we love. But out of the deepness of my affinity comes a rage and contempt that would be impossible to conjure for a less beloved thing. I desire to possess them all, at last, and to gain the thing that eludes me. That thing is... nothing. And everything.

   I mentioned in a post this spring that I set goals for my angling. I am abandoning that practice. There is only one way that I can arrive at the end of this madness, and I am not yet eager for it. I am Sisyphus applying my shoulder to the rock. It should be enough that I have the rock to apply myself to. Many lack even that.

   My stated objectives in the entry dealing with my goals for this solar cycle were to catch a lake trout, a wiper, and a tiger muskie. I was able to capture an admirable specimen of both the hybrid and the lake trout in rapid time and with little effort. It was looking very much like it would be the first time in years I would meet my goals. And then a funny thing happened on the way to statistics.

   I quit caring.

   Not that it would not please me to catch a big gorgeous tiger muskie, but I just lost interest in chasing some arbitrary accomplishment when I might actually prefer to go bass fishing or to toss Stimmies at brook trout. And what of it? I may not know why I am addicted to angling, but I do know that I do not enjoy my fishing when it becomes obligate.

   I quit fishing competitive events because I did not relish the sensation of being held accountable to anything tangible, the other competitors, luck, the quantity in standardized measurements of fish-flesh that I could bring in a bag to the stage.

   Five alive, what a pointless objective.

   But then, aren't they all?



  1. To rephrase a popular quote: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting the SAME results".

    Welcome to the nuthouse. Here's your jacket.

  2. Do they come in size "extra stupid"?


  3. Enjoyed reading this post, Shaun. I am in agreement with you. I am sort of "twisted", too!

  4. I came to reading your post here, having just finished a chapter 9 of Ted Leeson's "The Habit of Rivers." And, having just underlined "all powerful emotions seem to me now tinged with their opposites" (p.121). Yes, I underlined because I'm in the nuthouse too...

    Great writing, Shaun.

  5. Erin,

    Thank you. It means a lot coming from you.