Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ideals and reality

Ideals are not solid things. You cannot catch and hold one except maybe in words, and always there is the danger that it will escape. When Rickie sees Agnes and her lover kissing and calls them the ideal lovers he sees the ideal of the lover momentarily alight on their shoulders. Like a butterfly it stopped there for just one moment. Like a ray of sunlight that chanced from a cloud. It is not solid. It is not permanent, not because it does not exist but because it does not stay.

Some philosophers, whose names I do not remember, hold that the soul does not stay with the body but only visits. I think this is true. The soul is our ideal. It may come to us in certain moments. It may speak to us but it will not stay. We cannot hold it. It is not the same as a chair or as my hand or even as a piece of bark or a melting bit of ice, although to that it is closer. It is not closer because it lacks, although if this is reality there are times when it is not real, but it returns. It will be real again. It will be forgotten and remembered.

I never held to images of romantic love. Candle lit dinners make me awkward and slightly queasy. But there are times when I am with Thomas, such as the first time I met him, when our actions invoke universals, ideals. I first met him Swing Dancing. We did not know what we were doing. I really had no interest in him. But somehow we were dancing and it was perfect. There were no clouds and the stars were bright like stars in the rural municapality where I grew up. Some baby bunnies were huddled by a sign and we stopped and tried to catch them with my beret. I knew if we were not careful the spirits would flit away. That moment was an ideal. That moment was what the writers write about. We are not that moment. It is separate from our bodies. It might even be separate from our souls, although I think they must have been present at that moment.

But maybe there is no soul. It could be that those moments when someone would declare a soul present is a moment when some god or spirit passes by. It is not the same soul each time but a different entity. The body and it's breath, which can give words to those spirits, are as much as we have of a soul.

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