Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Defying Gravity.

A year after I started this very self-aware project, and what do you suppose has changed? I don't gamble or want to gamble nearly as much as I used to. Big deal. If you ever thought this blog was about gambling, you sort of missed the point, I think. Although I'm grateful to all the poker players and what have you who found me in the past year. But it's not about those things. Even if I thought that it was about them when I started writing. So what then?

It's about the void. It's about self-destructive compulsions. People pick at scabs even though they know they shouldn't. Or fail to wash their hands after urinating. We all know we should. Some of us don't. Why? Is it just laziness? I think it's not just laziness. To wit: I've faked washing them for the benefit of others within earshot, which requires just as much effort as just lathering up, rinsing, and drying for real. I offer to you, the 15 people who still check in from time to time, the sum of my wisdom: some people don't wash their hands because they want desperately to test the notion that "bad" actions don't always have consequences, and neither do "good" actions, for that matter.

In other words, a test of the basic tenets of what I'll call moral physics-- namely, that good people are rewarded and bad people are punished. Some of us would be condemned by such a literal correspondence between actions and outcomes. And so we quietly resist: by not brushing after meals and still expecting to not get a cavity; by not doing our homework and still hoping to pass our classes; by playing a game we're doomed to lose and still praying to win.

There is a kind of bravery in it, don't you suppose?