Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

What a trip - I received an email from myself, 10 years ago, via www.futureme.org.  I was a very different person 10 years ago, living somewhere else, doing other things, with different hopes and dreams.  Quite honestly, I'd forgotten all about it, which was probably my intent in sending so far into the future.  This combined with typical New Year reflections and the fact that I've recently seen Les Miserables has put me into a contemplative mood.  I'm going to go all Live Journal here, so if you came here looking for a light hearted gaming post, you're excused.

As I've mentioned previously, I'm a big fan of Les Miserables, and in particular the character of Javert.  The knee-jerk reaction of most is to label him as a villain, but when questioned, few can find any action that he's taken that is wrong.  He is inflexible in his application of justice, but holds himself to the same standard, at one point offering to turn himself in for filing what he believes to be a false report, for instance.  In fact, he raises a salient point - Jean Valjean, nominally the hero of the tale, uses poverty to excuse his crime, but Javert points out that he was born in the gutter as well, and made his way in the world by adhering to a code.  There comes a point, though, where Javert is presented with a situation where what is Right is not Just, and is unable to resolve the conflict.  As a result, he throws himself into a river, unable to accept the fact that the system that he has used as a guide throughout his life, the bedrock upon which his life was built, was flawed.

To me, there is nothing more pitiable.

The email I received yesterday reminded me of some mistakes that I had made at that point in my life.  Not to be melodramatic, but those mistakes changed the course of my life.  Had I made different decisions at those points, I might be elsewhere, on a completely different path.  Looking back, I'm glad that I made those mistakes - they, and the experiences that came as a result, were formative in my development as an adult, and of course had I ended up elsewhere doing other things, I wouldn't have met my wife.  So while I'm glad that things turned out the way it did, I ended the email to myself with some advice, which sent chills down my spine, and touched all this off.

"Ask yourself - What If You're Wrong?"

There is a bit of Javert in all of us, myself included.  There are things we take for granted in our life - for instance, go through this list and I guarantee you'll find at least one thing that you thought was true that is not.  And if that bit of trivia that you were so certain about isn't true, what other misconceptions are out there, lurking deep in your mind, pulling your strings, setting you ablaze with wrathful fire?

What If You're Wrong?

My New Years Resolution is to listen more and talk less.  It's to question more and assert less.  It's to seek more and be less.  More importantly, it's to assume as little as possible, most of all that my own certitude is indicative of objective truth.

I don't want to be Javert.  I don't want to live my life under the care of a misconception, and only realize it when it is too late.

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

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