April 20, 2012

Abstract Life

Is life abstract?  This is a question that I ask myself on a near-daily basis.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word "abstract" holds numerous meanings: the word is simultaneously an adjective, a noun, and a verb.  The definition that bears the most weight is the word used as an adjective--and specifically, definition number four, which defines "abstract" as "having only intrinsic form with little or no attempt at pictorial representation or narrative content."  When applied to a lived life, "intrinsic" can mean one's intrinsic value, or one's set of morals.  Conversely, a "pictorial representation or narrative content" can refer to one's outward "value" or achievements, including one's occupation(s), awards, and how others perceive you.

On a deeper level, the novelist Charlotte Bronte employs a complex literary device that mirrors this definition of life in the abstract.  In The Three Brontes, May Sinclair discusses Charlotte Bronte's use of this literary device to describe the deep psychological processes that Bronte's protagonists must contend with on a daily basis.  The protagonists each have an "inner world," or psyche/mind, which is affected by an "outer world," or outside influences (i.e.: circumstance, one's "lot" in life, etc.).  Substituting the phrase "inner world" with "intrinsic form," and "outer world" with "pictorial representation or narrative content," the abstract can be seen as an analogy for one's intrinsic value and contentment, which contrasts greatly with dominant modes of measuring happiness or prestige. 

You can probably see where my allegiance lies.  I hold tightly onto what contains intrinsic value.  It is not that I shun awards, what others have to say, achievements, and the like; I just prefer quietude to endless noise.  A little fanfare is fine, but when it borders on raucous applause and exuberant photo taking, I pause...and take flight.  Maybe it's a hermit's lot in life.

At this point, my life is abstract.  I attempt to live intrinsically, while continuing to be acutely aware that my narrative content is a bit slow on the uptake.  My resume may not read like an accomplished ingenue, but the intrinsic value is priceless.  "Post-accomplishments," I have learned much about myself, but it's a tough process, this learning to be content! 

So that is why this blog post--with an image of blurry, green baker's twine and a mention of one of Charlotte Bronte's literary devices--is pretty abstract, for it reflects a congruous, abstract life.  And frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.  With tongue-in-cheek humor, I shall leave thee until next time.

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