There is no simple answer.
Some cliches are resounding necessities. The temptation from fiction, television, movies, and mythology is to iron out contradictions with narrative screw-turns; the roof will stay on in a windstorm if you’ve added enough screws, right? I don’t think so anymore. Enough wind and you’re looking at the storm from your couch, no matter what the story. There’s no perfect design, no pure clarity. For some, including me, coming to believe this causes a total turning away. At least for a while. Things can’t be excellent (or great)? I’m out.
And yet, as long as that out isn’t too aggressive, time continues to accumulate. Motives become more complex. That which was absolutely bad or good takes on the character of partiality and confusion. And this does not mean all is permitted, all can be forgiven. Forgetting is necessary, as a sort of archiving, such that one’s dwelling can have its first floor livable, even as its basement stores that which assuredly makes life harder when revisited.
I’ve variously felt that organizations, groups, and individuals had characters that could be described in short; my thirst for aphorisms to cuttingly describe things was endless, as were the things that I felt cause me and other harm. A cynicism-driving set of forces. And while they lead to a break, this break has been partial and engagement pairs well with contemplation when neither is consuming.
It’s a rebuilding year every year. It’s the year to go for it every year. It’s a dark year every year. Time scales and narratives are flexible, relative, and re-makeable. And yet, compasses can be fashioned. One may never visit the Hudson Bay nor completely understand the needle’s action at a distance and still develop an intuitive and logical sense of direction. Something about mutuality and reciprocity and gifts. Something about groups and individuals and small intimacies. Something about movement and reading and writing. Something about sleep and death and birth. An amalgam of nouns and verbs and adjectives develop resonances, and the inner and outer ears become attuned. I don’t think any of this qualifies as philosophy or wisdom or an instruction manual or a set of reminders. It’s something less than all this. Something that stays close to the ground. And for want of a better method to explain it, language remains the stand-in that carries this not-so-simple load.