My father is a fucking sweetheart, let's make no bones about it.
I was listening to him today at the dinner table when I had been at my parents house, and this was after dinner, which was eggs, chips and, for me, no-chicken kiev. And I listened to him as he discussed first the Edgware Walker, a man who would walk around the town, hunch-backed, looking through bins, and who died in 2005. Then, once my mother had taken her plate away, dad began to talk about property, and in particular, a property he had recently missed the opportunity to procure, that was on the market. And he told me of lease-holdings and free-holdings, and then the discussion turned to the jobs market, and the fact that Eastern Europeans had taken a part in destroying the workplace, due to their ridiculously low wages. And he spoke about his former employer, Anil Varma, who is a millionaire, who chose to fire some English workers in favour of the Eastern Europeans. And then the discussion went on from there to politics, and Boris Johnson, whom I gather my father has some sympathy towards - and whom, I suppose, I do too.
We ended up in the garden, smoking roll ups, and the night was freezing. Anyhow, I noticed as I listened to my father talking, that I didn't have to say very much, and part of the time I felt slightly resentful of that. However, my father himself didn't seem to notice that he was doing all the talking. And I take it now, that this is how my father sees conversation between he and his son: as a chance to educate me on certain things. Indeed, and yes, I was slightly resentful, for the fact that I myself have been in higher education for more years than I care to mention, and I have a deep desire to tell my father of these things I have learnt, and show him the complexity of the knowledge I have acquired.
But overriding all this, I noticed, as I listened to him talking (which, I also noticed, was giving me a slight headache for some reason), was a feeling of deep love and compassion. My father, like many of ours, is not going to be around for ever - although, he is in fact just sixty-seven now, and we have a good few years, health providing - and in any case, perhaps I have nothing of interest to teach my father. In any case, I thought, 'Could I not just sit and listen to my father?'
And that is the prevailing lesson of the day. Is it too much to ask of me to allow my father to at least feel like he is educating his son? I'm not saying he isn't educating me - although much of his lecture was reliant on basic right wing politics; but I do not mind that - I feel like perhaps I am right wing, in many ways. The media, when we are exposed to it, despite its efforts to branch out into perhaps deeper themes of politics and social talk, can be very mainstream, and as a result the basest of social adherents are provided with a point of view, and this is why much of our social media experience is based around navigating through stupid comments and repetitive posts, that say not very much of anything new. But we can't let these things get to us.
My father is not a difficult man, not really. Some men do not understand their fathers. But I feel like I can understand him well, my father. I often do wish our discussions were more like discussions than one-sided lectures. Nevertheless, I am moral enough and full of ethical love to be able to afford my very father the very things he wishes of our relationship. He is a philosophical man, but not a religious man: I feel like, perhaps he could do with a good reading of the bible, or a visit to church. He is a zen warrior, is my father. He is bald and tan. Today I couldn't help but see him as the hairy one, and I the bald man.
Hegel, in Philosophy of Mind, talks at times of 'derangement'. Yesterday I was reading about it, in his words, and he has some very lively ways of thinking. Yet there is a sense of racism running though his works, although such as it seems to be a fact of the time he lived in, rather than a matter of his outlook, and in fact, I imagine the Hegel was rather liberal and forward thinking for a German philosopher of the eighteen hundreds - that is, his work is sprinkled with generalisations about national individuals, yet he is not overt. In any case, he spoke about derangement, and one thing which struck me was the notion that psychosis itself (indeed, in his words, derangement) is a phenomenon that happens when the individual has cast away his objective sense, and his dreams and subjective consciousness have been cast into the fore of the mans mind. That is, the deranged are living in a dream world manifest in objective living.
It makes me think, on the one hand, of the absolute objectivity of the mind, and what is afforded in the educated man's consciousness. That is, as an occasional victim of insanity myself, I recognised the truth of my own psychosis, in that it was in fact a product of dreaming whilst awake, and very much so. I am now fully medicated, and strive to achieve the most pared down and educated existence I possibly can. Although, I am at odds with what this entails in social existence... I have to grow old, and growing old I have to contend with a perpetually extending youth - that is, a youth that continues to extend away from me into the past that is a 'now'.
This objective reality is part of psychology that comes with maturity and experience. It exists within all of us. The dreaming life of the subjective unconscious is something that leaves us as we get older, and it is why the young are able to rely on us, derangement providing. There are certain boundaries that we learn, that strengthen with age, and upon which we build on a daily basis. We need to be solid, that is, we need to accept the conventional life, and accept a transition into old age.
I sometimes feel like my parents will never die. There is a time in life when we feel this deeply. But time passes, and one day they will be gone, and that will be their legacy.
Some people have already lost their parents. I am not ready to lose mine - hence I convince myself that they will live forever; that sixty seven and sixty four are still as young as forty, relatively. In many ways, they are. I am as old as my mother was when I was seventeen, and I thought she was old then. But now I see that she is young. And that she has many years left.
Also, I have been praying for people I love. It seems that prayer is a good way to formalise positive thoughts about those people, and in a sense paves the way for some people to thrive in life. Well, I know what I mean. It's the same as building a path up a mountain, or building a house. Prayer builds, and people can live in what wehave built.
I will close now, but I could go on, philosophising etc, yet I have work to do, which is another story.
I had to reply to this. 1. because you made me chuckle when you said you had a headache for some unknown reason. 2. because you are trying to discuss with someone who is based on his past and what he learned. It's your time now. Perhaps you can still listen, but also interject with your thoughts, too - bring him up to speed with a younger, hugely changing society? Anyway, just be you and learn - after all, it's only you you need to impress. Shine bright - he will see!
xx love xx
Thanks Penelope, and I'm glad I made you laugh.
Yes, my father has some pretty archaic views and opinions. But I'm gradually becoming of the mind to accept this situation, not only as a fact of my father's personality, but also as a matter of my spiritual constitution.
What I mean by this is that, whereas I've once been somewhat 'impertinent' and persistent in pushing my thoughts on people such as my father, I think I'm beginning to find it more and more necessary to allow the old folks to impress their thoughts on me myself. Imagine being sixty-five and thinking you've not much more petrol in the old tank, how you'd like at least to feel as if you're steering the ship.
My mother, for example, hasn't the skin to talk about the deep and complex maths and physics which I'd love to talk to her about. But she loves to talk about food, and tea, and those sorts of things. Also, my mother has been known to appreciate art to a certain level. And I myselfcannot think of a more lovely thing to talk about with her.
That's how I have come to see it these days.