Hello, imaginary reader. Yes, I know I owe you a couple of “challenge” posts. They’re coming. Don’t be so impatient.
Being the attractive man that I am (see figure 1), I get the opportunity to think about love and relationships quite a lot. Either that, or because I’m a drama-magnet. One of the two.
Anyway, I was thinking about that well-known expression “the one that got away”. Conventional knowledge suggests that everyone has one of these – at least. But what about the one that keeps getting away. You know the one – you really click but the timing is never right. Either he/she has a partner or you do, or you’re sitting typing in a Mexican Jewish school while she’s in the UK with her husband… that kind of thing.
At the same time, I was thinking about karma. Now, I’m taking baby-steps into a more spiritual pagan path. Dangerous steps for a vehement athiest. Nonetheless, the idea of karma appeals to me – either in a literal, spiritual sense; as a coping method when faeces hits the air conditioning; or as a psychosomatic effect of having fucked up and knowing it.
It appeals to me in a literal sense in part because of this quote (0:38)
The idea of “what goes around comes around” is so much more elegent than having a self-richeous giant with a beard dictate the rules. But then you have to assume that all starving, HIV-positive babies in wartorn countries were high-ranking SS officiers in a past life. Dubious, no?
As a coping method I can kind of get it, too. “I can get over this, because it’ll balance out when I downloaded a movie illegally and would be destined to firey hell in certain Southern US states” for example.
As far as pyschosomatics goes, (don’t worry, I’m coming back to love, sex and parallel universes -stick with me) the idea that we allow ourselves to enter into difficult situations or incite certain concequences upon ourselves without consciously knowing it is the kind of crap our Western civilisation does all the time. Just look at 9 out of 10 diet plans on sale in your local bookshop – “one cake and five hail-marys” kind of stuff. The need to redeem ourselves through flagellation (self- or otherwise) has roots in the history of many big, angry organised religions.
So, I’ve started to look at it like this – all those missed opportunities and mistakes and karmic just deserts are there to help us avoid a much less positive parallel universe. Think about it: what would you have missed if you had married your high school sweetheart. What would you have failed to learn if you hadn’t dated that weird girl in college. Would you have ever tried tofu if not to spite the guy with a pathological hatred of vegans?
Back to my original example, what if you stayed in the UK with that girl with whom the timing is never right, and never met the cool Welsh teacher in Mexico City?
If you try to look at karma, at those that got away and all the shit life throws at us as the universe trying to keep us from a grim alternative timeline, it has a way of making life look a little more positive. It also allows me to post this poster: