My kids have been after me to write my autobiography for some time. Alas, I’m no storyteller as I fear you’ll see when you read my story. Frankly, I seldom reminisce past experiences; it all feels so indistinct and shadowy, even ‘prehistoric’.
Nevertheless, I’ve decided to try; after all, I wish my parents had done that for me. ‘Times of Yore’ is the tag I’ve been using for post that refer to something in my past. The memories that seem to come most easily are those that left a philosophical impression on me. So this autobiography may turn out to be more of an auto-bio-philosophi-graphy. We’ll see.
Times of Yore: An Introduction and A Summary
I spent 15 years wandering around the world (see sketchy map below) from the age of 20 to 35. The Cuban Missile Crisis of the early 60’s changed my destiny. I was plugging away at night college and working full time at an electronics firm when I was called up. My National Guard unit was to be sent to Germany (It was said that the National Guard was ‘cannon fodder’). I had to drop out of college and ‘pack my bags’. When the situation cooled the mission was called off and I was left without a ‘vacation’ to Germany or my college. My life was up in the air; I had to go somewhere. Older friends at work talked up Australia as the great place.
Initially, I immigrated to Australia, and it just snowballed from there. I fill in the details, such as I can recall, as they bubble up into memory. Fifteen years later I finally returned to my native land. Why was I gone so long? I really had no reason to return. Why did I return?
‘The further one goes, the less one knows‘ became increasingly apparent to me as my years on the road grew. Now, you might think this to mean that by going further, you know less. Not exactly. Rather, it was only if I expected to know more by going further, did I end up knowing less.
The idea that ‘without stirring abroad one can know the whole world‘ became more and more true for me as I realized the world I thought I was getting to ‘know’ was actually merely a reflection of my own personal needs and fears. Where ever I went, there I was. Thus, the better I knew myself, the more I ended up knowing about the whole world. To put it another way, I can’t know anything ‘out there’ more deeply than I know the ‘in here’. And what was the best way to know the ‘in here’? Being self honest was, and still is, the only way I’ve found! Circumstances bring us to maturity, which is in the end simply self honesty.
That was my philosophical angle on ‘why’. The simpler reason: I was just looking for a home. A place to settle, (which I did several times, for awhile). In the end, I tired of being ‘the foreigner’, and decided to return to America and blend-in, and I found, blending-in to be ‘home’.
I should add I’m referring to a subjective blending-in, and not the outer trappings we often use to feel we blend-in (e.g., ‘wearing’ the same clothes, religion, politics, music, etc.). I’ve never been able to do that. It must be genetic! Chapter 56 speaks to what I am referring to by blending-in:
Knowing doesn’t speak; speaking doesn’t know.
Subdue its sharpness, untie its tangles,
Soften its brightness, be the same as dust,
This is called profound sameness.
For this reason,
Unobtainable and intimate,
Unobtainable and distant
Unobtainable and favorable
Unobtainable and fearful
Unobtainable and noble
Unobtainable and humble
For this reason all under heaven value it.