Brooke is a fan of the StoryPeople. For a while, I couldn’t think of them without thinking of her, and this made it impossible for me to consider them objectively. This last week, while she was out of school, we found a box of StoryPeople prints at a store, and panned through them. Whimsical, sentimental, new agey, clever. I found myself enjoying many of them.
Previously, I had been discussing bounded rationalism with a friend, and struggling against this theory of the limitations to our rational problem-solving capabilities as humans. This dude Simon posits that humans are not only limited by their own minds, but by external considerations like time and opportunity. In any given situation, we will consider multiple solutions to a problem, but rarely will these solutions be exhaustive, or even the best solutions.
Yeah, maybe. But maybe the best of us is evident in our limitations. Our shortcomings. Our failure of imagination. If we could think of everything all at once all the time, what would be the point of relationships and seeking and love? Our tumbles, our frailty, these are the moments I love. The unrelenting weakness in us, that cannot ever get it quite right, but carries on anyway.
Bett Norris shared this poem with me this morning. It’s a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and illustrates my point. Rationalism is all well and good, but frequently beside the point.
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food. It well may be.
I do not think I would.