Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The tapestry of our lives

Hi, I'm back. As some of you have probably noticed, I suffer alternately from insomnia and narcolepsy. Lucky for you, tonight I am apparently afflicted with the former.

Lying in bed this evening, and having given up counting sheep some time before, I was thinking about friends and family and how various individuals have helped shape who I've become and who I am. From this thought, it occurred to me that we are all connected in various ways through the impact we have on each others' lives. This prompted my brilliant life-tapestry allegory/analogy/simile which I'm about to delve into which I'm currently quite happy with. I've never heard of such a thing before and certainly haven't thought of it, so if it's old stuff, please forgive and move on.

Anyway, in France, there's this huge ribbon called the Bayeux Tapestry made by some very bored and very long-winded individuals in about the eleventh century Anno Domini. Though it's less than two feet tall, the tapestry is more than 230 feet long and tells of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. The center panels in this massive comic strip deal with the story itself, and above and below various (probably boring) details are hashed out. 230 feet. That's a lot of jeans.

A tapestry, like any other cloth, is woven of very small threads that come together to make a complete whole. While it's painfully simple to draw analogies from this, I think there's some worth in reexamination every once in a while, and given that I currently have nothing better to do, I'll delve into where my thoughts were going earlier that prompted my rising and enduring the burning torture caused by this computer screen to my dark-adapted retinae.

A common phrase in this day and age is that we are what we eat. Modified slightly, we are who we associate with, esp. those with whom we have significant interactions. I'm sure you can think of odd phrases or sayings from friends that you use, frequently or not, in your own life. Going further, we share experiences and ideas with those we cherish - our friends and family. Just as there are people who are a part of my everyday life that obviously effect how I act and feel, there are friends who I may never see again that shall forever be completely inseparable from who I am because of their impact in my life. It's an odd thing that we should promote so much of ourselves in others, with little thought toward that end. As we continue growing towards our own ends and happiness there will always be these people and these threads that will shape who we are and how we become ourselves.

In a way, this idea somewhat diminishes our individuality, in that it is easy to see ourselves as products of our situations. But in another way, it strengthens the concept of self, because, though we ARE molded by our position in various realms of existence, we can choose our part, what people and events we will and will not accept, and become accordingly. At least in my mind, it's a rather nice thought.

So the moral of the story, I guess, is to be as good a person as you can. When I hear that I always think selfishly - that I should be my best for my own ends. But when you think off all the hundreds or thousands of other wanderers to whom you reach out in this small bit of time, it makes sense that you would only want to be the cause of good. Particularly because, as time progresses, those little bits of yourself that you have shared will be passed on innumerably and imperturbably to countless others that you touch only remotely. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. Maybe it's true.