Confusion Is The Beginning of Wisdom - The beginning of an unfinished treatment

, 2006-07-30

Confusion Is The Beginning of Wisdom - The beginning of an unfinished treatment by Chris Gowens

Confusion is the beginning of wisdom -Socrates

It’s amazing, after what, twenty years, as I look out of my window I can see maybe fifteen to twenty houses, houses in ‘my’ street, a street that I have lived in for one fifth of a century, yet I couldn’t tell you who lives there, I couldn’t tell you the names of more than four or five of them,…call them the others. Granted not all of my neighbours have lived here as long as me but still… After listening to it twice, I can remember most of a song or from two ‘meals’, the cooking times of a microwavable meal, stored for future reference, I’m sure I must have heard their names before, and things that may have occurred, so why not the details from this wealth people, a tribe who might own answers, whom I’ve never tried to look at never mind talk to, I mean it would be strange if I was trying to make friends with everybody in the world, probably ostracise myself further than the indifference in me does at the moment….  …. I wonder if they know me… unless they’ve stopped asking questions.

Now as I wonder about names and the things these folk do, I’m asking myself why I’m dissatisfied with my lot ‘round these parts, is it actually the place that’s moribund or just the dead people, like me, who trudge on with full bellies, no hunger in their hearts, people who have stopped asking questions. There are questions that you can’t answer and there are questions that you answer without trying as part of who we are and the things we do…. just fading away, sleeping, working, drinking, smoking, watching, thinking, and moving nowhere,… telling me, myself and anyone else who still asks questions why I’m not particularly happy, today, or yesterday and possibly tomorrow. So why am I thinking so much about it, it’s obvious, to change things, well you do exactly that, change events or practices and habits that occur in your day or week or whatever time frame you want to think about… but it’s crazy, it’s as simple as this, stop doing ‘a’ and do ‘b and c’ instead, so why isn’t it so easy? I don’t know.

 I hope that when I stop asking and wondering it is from happiness or the completion of a goal or dare I say it love, and not from a catharsis or misery, a misery that you can’t grasp just a fog that slowly clouds. Even the people with something to say they state and don’t probe, speak without ponder or wonder as the fog and mist restricts their view to such an extent that they just want to get by without a thorn in their side… at least I’m still asking questions….   One more question, who am I to judge the others.


I’ll tell you who … it as good a place to start as any…. Well where do I begin? With the truth? What’s that? Am I finished growing as a person? Who knows? Some substantial sideburns would be nice.

Ok, I’m 25 at the time of writing, if we get to the last chapter together I’ll probably be very middle aged, I think this could take a while… on that note I hope we don’t get there as I may have stopped asking questions, for the right reasons though! So as I was saying, I’m 24 at the moment and that is a truth, what does that say about me? I’ve seen the rise and fall of Thatcher’s Britain, boom and bust, Blue Labour and relative wealth, but understand poverty, or I can say that I do, and believe I have enough in me to say this. I’ve had an easy ride though, Iron chancellors for parents, never had it all and never had a feeling of neglect materially, however I was forced to wear bad woollen cardigans on occasions in the early eighties when I was dressed by my legal and natural guardians. So I’ve never had to do without above and beyond the basics, but you know I’m never satisfied in terms of having things, not that I want them on a plate, but I want items, products, consumer goods, clothes, electricals, lots of…  you’d think I was an advertisers dream, but I hate them, I think I actively advertise goods to myself consciously and subconsciously, in my sleep, and in the day, I burn with desire, validating mobile phones and new mobile phones with MP3 players built in even though I already have a watch with an MP3 player built in that I don’t use to tell the time, or even listen to music on all that much! The strange thing is though I didn’t want an MP3 player particularly, or a new watch, now I have a limited version of both that I don’t use because they are limited, I made a bad choice. I’ll go on to tell you more about me, more rational things, coherent things and, to you maybe, more relevant things, but this says quite a lot about me I think, I made a bad decision.

So me, I think I am, I know I am, one of the few assertions I’ll make, I am a good person, I am perverted, I must be to think that someone might want to read this, sometimes I shine and make others shine, sometimes I am the darkest most evil spirit imaginable, the dark side I resist however. I think a lot, but I feel like ‘my’ thoughts are exactly that, ‘mine’, and valid and not idiotic, na<ve maybe, but not idiotic. I bet everyone thinks that about their own thoughts, that they own them, that they cultivated them, I beg to differ, I can smell the stench of brainwash daily, I know that people rarely look in the mirror daily and think about things, they just look in the Daily Mirror, and think that they’ve thought, they don’t choose to poison themselves, because they think that they’ve thought what they speak about. Validating their uniform opinion on an editorial which must be good and proper because it’s news and it keeps them in the know, because of the safety net that millions of ‘others’ think that they think the same. I’m not specifying the news or the media or the advertisers or the Church, I mean the World, it seems numb to me, I know this is rich coming from a self proclaimed good person who hasn’t bothered with much more than a pea sized fraction of life’s ocean but I really think if you look and listen there’s not enough ‘people’ anymore. People want to fit into a demographic and be a piece of something big but not exciting, wallow in a safe pool of normality as long as they stand out enough, to like, be loved and to love and be liked, dressed in the right clothes in the meantime of course. I border on all of my accusations, that’s hopefully why I’m able to think about it, I hope I can see it, I hope I’m looking in the right direction and not into the mirror that tricks me into believing in what’s not quite there.

I digress, back to me, well I really don’t know how to define myself on paper, being my friend or lover or something would let you see me, but I can’t understand how to tell you who I am, what are the facts that you need to know? A friend and a lover would see me, but different parts of me. Take pieces from the jigsaw and you get an incomplete picture, people who don’t think that there are pieces missing mistake what they see for the whole nine yards. So do I exist in an infinite amount of ways? Do I have a single self reserved for me and myself, well I think so. I am to you what you know of me, what we have talked about, what we have done together, what other people have said to us, to you about me, told us to do, where we have been, so my point, we are defined by experience and perception, these things that we share.

 So me!  I can’t define, I don’t know if it’s relevant to me, so what do I tell you,  I’m afraid you don’t get a list or much more of a description, I’ll ask us questions and tell you stories and give you some words on this paper, you can know me from hereon in Feel free to love me, or hate me, or vote for none of the above, my story is unorganised and messy and might not make much sense but the meaning will drip through, these words strung together are some of my life, some of what shape me and some of what I think, a neurotic northern boy and his views, a slice of a life and this boy’s thoughts. I hope you read on.