Friday, January 18, 2013

King Frankie and Philosophy

My son is the most amazing being I've ever witnessed.  He is so curious, and preternaturally kind and sensitive, and funny, too.  Just this morning when I was holding him against me, chest to chest, as we took the elevator up to day care, he kept pointing (a new skill) at the little flower on my locket, and looking up at me inquisitively.  Then I opened the locket for him, and he just about lost his mind in happiness and amazement to see the two tiny photos inside my locket:  one of him, and one of me with my husband.  this moment, him discovering himself inside my locket -- it just stands outside of any temporal boundary as being something too precious, like to precious to exist terrestrially, you know?

The past few years, I'd taken to calling myself a secular humanist, mostly because I've been going through a hardcore Vonnegut obsession since at least 2006, and that's what he considered himself.

before that, i was just an athiest who took comfort in the thought of everyone rotting in the ground or getting burning into ashes to scatter on the wind after we die.

before that, when i was a huge pot head, i was a big believer in reincarnation, based on some "epiphany" i had.

i'd long flirted with existentialism, though.  Through all the little en-vogue french books I read as an undergrad, however, I am still awful at defining existentialism, and am going to have to just use the merriam-webster definition here: 

"a chiefly 20th century philosophical movement embracing diverse doctrines but centering on analysis of individual existence in an unfathomable universe and the plight of the individual who must assume ultimate responsibility for acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad."

What I liked about this philosophy was the concept thatlife is an unknowable and wily adventure and so you just have to chug along,trying to have (sometimes 'amoral' fun, except that yay, amorality doesn't really exist in the framework of existentialism), knowing that there's no universal judge of fairness watching over us.  But I had a hard time truly believing in any of this, because I have this naive attachment to the concept of fairness.  

Except I don't anymore.  Now i have proof, PROOF, of an "unfathomable universe."  because now i know that my miraculous little boy has inherited Marfan Syndrome, that same rare and alienating syndrome that led to the major open heart surgery I had in my twenties, and the major and more urgent one my dad had to have in his twenties as well.  I knew there was a 50 % chance of me passing this on to my son, but the genetic tests took months to complete, so I just had all this time to wish as strongly as possible that he'd escaped my fucked up genes.  but nope.  

So now I think I can truly embrace existentialism, because my poor, amazing little boy has a life of physical problems to endure, and all i can think to say is c'est la vie.

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