The old man lived for many years in the world of toil and struggle. He was a salesman, a student, a bookseller, a writer (Hah!), then, in his latter years, a teacher. These days, he has joined the ranks of tose who wish to make climate change action a reality by acting: he is a sind power business development manager [ a salesman].
He has had some good experiences, some not so good; some trials, few tribulations, his life made up of the typical mix of accident and effort which makes up any life.
But as he grew older and, perhaps, wiser, he understood about himself that some ‘habits’ persisted, some ways of seeing the world became engrained, some traits could be marked as describing his own passage through life.
He loved to learn; to acquire new knowledge and understanding. Over time, this became a pursuit of Truth, which led him to a degree in Philosophy, and back out again. It is one of the characteristics of his being in the cave, he thinks.
He also had an almost pathological desire to try new things, to find new experiences. In this modern age, this manifested itself as a tendency to collect hobbies, or pastimes. Name it, and he probably tried it, within the physical constraints of his being: from chess to fly-fishing, rock climbing to managing concerts. At the back of the cave is the detritus of many, many of these ‘games’; he also loved to collect the ‘kit’.
Though the challenges of stimulating the mind were strongly represented, so were the physical challenges; sports and outdoor activities. Having been a smallish child, he was often overlooked for the ‘main’ teams, but this never diminished his enthusiasm. Though he never stood out as exceptionally gifted in any one sport, others were frequently surprised by his competence, which tended to be just beyond the average, without ever marking him as ‘talented’.
By the time he came to the cave, his body showed the manifestations of his physical activities; broad shoulders, deep chest, strong legs, flexible joints, but also the marks of damage; a limp from a knee injury, a less-than-straight nose, the odd small scar; nothing extreme, but points of interest.
If there was anything which made the old man unusual, it was his capacity to accept others as they were, with as little judgement as is possible; to allow others to be themselves. He had also become quite good at awakening others to their potential, to helping them see the possibilities of their own lives. He had learned to communicate quite well, and blew hot and cold as a writer. And it was whilst he was researching for a book idea that he started to study climate science and, in particular, prediction and projection of possible futures. Eventually, the pursuit of this new knowledge came to overtake its genesis; it became an end in itself.
One strange chance in his life has allowed the old man to meet and talk with a large number of ‘famous’ people, talents and athletes, musicians, writers and actors. He is very naughty about name-dropping; it probably makes him feel more significant.
The old man wants to learn the way of being which is described by Levinas, a being which lives in a spirit of equity, justice and love. It isn’t always easy.
The blog was, originally, going to be about pursuing the meaning of existence; early entries are mainly on this subject. But more people read the entries about the climate than the ones about philosophy, so its nature has changed over time. Like the old man himself, though, it will surely change again.
Know that you are always loved.