Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bridge Collapse-part 2

After looking at the comments I received on my first entry about the bridge collapse and after listening tonight to some tapes about Langston Hughes and Wallace Stevens, I finally have something to say about meaning.

I have never been afraid to cross bridges. Of course, it goes through my mind, "What if," every time I'm on a bridge. But then I calm and trust everything will be fine.

For many years, I was trusting. I took people at their word, and I trusted that the people who designed bridges knew what they were doing and had my best interests in mind. The same with leaders, people in authority, like teachers and doctors.

You live and learn. Slowly my trust began to crumble and erode. Now I fight cynicism almost every day. There's plenty to be cynical about, but I don't like feeling that way. It really bothers me. I hate it.

I've built many bridges in this life. I've tried to make meaningful connections the best way I could.

If one of my bridges should collapse, I have others. Hart Crane saw the bridge as Faustian, as a symbol of human intelligence, ability, and power, but bridges aren't forever.

Listening to the lives of poets on my tapes, I was reminded of how poets of that time were influenced by the philosopher William James.

How do we make meaning? What happens when we have the will to believe and nothing to believe in?

There are no large solutions. Truth is momentary.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, Theresa. With all the lies we've been fed by by people in positions of power, I have also been feeling cynical, and I don't like the bitter taste. Many times engineers will identify a problem, and have their managers ignore it--I know, I used to be an engineer, and became disillusioned. The ones that stay must adapt, and often that means not saying things they know will get shut down anyhow, or brand them a troublemaker. Recently read an article on how to tell when a potential employer is "not that into you." Number one on the list, if I remember right, was that they don't call you after the interview. Every other point was a similar lack of courtesy. Instead of telling you they are not interested or they have another candidate they like better, they say nothing at all. I faced this when applying to be the editor of a magazine--I called several times and never got a straight answer. A young bank manager told me she wanted to buy one of my pieces of art. Later, she avoided me like the plague, and when I said hello, she said, I'll call you. I had already figured out that she was backing down from the purchase, but why couldn't she just say, hey, I'm sorry but I've changed my mind? What is so difficult about that? When did it become the norm to be rude? One of my daughters, age 20, says she grew up with it and doesn't expect an email reply or a return phone call unless the employer is interested in her. I'm afraid I went off on a tangent, but maybe there is a thread here, that connects to the discussion of the bridge collapse. Teagrapple

Erin said...

Theresa,

I feel the same way about cynicism. I hate to feel that way. There is so much to be cynical about, but I think there are also many things that have truth and meaning, and many things to believe in. I count among these literature, poetry, music (not all of it, but the best of it), and the goodness within people that drives them to kindness, charity, and love. (In purest forms.) I may be too much of an optimist.

Love,
Erin

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