Friday, August 9, 2013


It's raining like a bandit this morning as I await the visit of an singer-song-writer who lives, ex-pat fashion, with his wife and three kids in Buenos Aires. He had a concert up-country from here last night and expressed an e-mail desire to visit because, after a lot of years, he is getting back into the Zen Buddhist flow. How he picked my name out of the Internet hay stack, I haven't got a clue. Whatever the reasons, I am always happy to meet someone new ... everyone has such interesting stories, whether Zen Buddhist or not, and I am a sucker for a good story.

Earlier today, I was thinking ...

Maybe the whole trick to growing up is simply to outlast whatever sophistications anyone might have accrued over time.

-- the quality of knowing and understanding a lot about a complicated subject
-- the quality of knowing a lot about things such as culture, fashion, and the modern world
-- the quality of being complicated and advanced in design
Power, money, furniture, religion, love, simplicity, alligator hunting, skate-boarding, intelligence ... who is not sophisticated about something? Tying shoes is not an unsophisticated task.

Sophistication requires two things, at least: 1. a willingness to reach for the stars, to seek out what is not currently under anyone's belt and 2. once having attained a sophisticated understanding, the recognition that being "sophisticated" requires a separation of one thing from another ... and separation, while not exactly wrong, is unsatisfactory to an adult lifestyle. The sophisticate and the bumpkin are very different indeed ... or are they?

So much blood-sweat-and-tears effort may go into attaining one expertise or another that it may be understandable when the one who has attained the expertise separates him- or herself from those who have not made such an effort: Understanding and ignorance are not the same thing, right? Or are they?

But the separation quotient gnaws and nags. Fifteen minutes of fame is only fifteen minutes and leaves out all the other minutes before and after attainment. I may feel better when I climb on your shoulders, but standing on someone else's shoulders is a precarious business.

Over time, I think that sophistications naturally wear themselves out. There's no pushing the river -- no espousing some delicious "equality" position -- but, well, sophistication wears out. It's nice to be able to do something and do it well, but, well, done is done. Time for breakfast.

And I'm hungry.

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