The Pinball Table of Life

17 Sep 07

I have, of late, had more people disagree with me, on a certain online discussion forum which I frequent, than previously. This, at first, I found troubling. I like to make friends, I like people to agree with me and I like to think that I generally have a positive impact on those I come into contact with. But it has just struck me that since some of the thoughts I have expressed have been more – shall we say? – controversial, my standpoint on a number of issues has been strengthened.

It’s easy to talk to people who agree with you. I would also say it is necessary, up to a point, to surround yourself with people who are on the same wavelength as you, who share similar interests and passions and philosophical viewpoints as you. It’s pleasant to have a conversation with someone who is of like mind – fun, even… one might even say life-enriching. But if one is to grow, if one is to evolve into a well-rounded, self-knowing human being, then one must not shy away from conflict.

Life, in its entirety, is Yin and Yang. It is positive and negative, dark and light, with uncountable shades of grey in between. How can one know if one is walking down the right path – how can one even know the shape of that path – if one does not occasionally – frequently, even – come into contact with the walls of that path? How can one keep the little shiny silver ball of one’s soul in play, without bouncing off a few of those triangular bouncy bits, zinging through a few of those little tunnel oojits and setting off a few tings and pings by bouncing off the things that go ting and ping? Okay, so I don’t know the correct pinball-table terminology, but you get the general gist…

I hereby and officially declare my gratitude, therefore, for all those folk who have put up with and commented upon my “asinine drivel”… Far from inciting me to run and hide in the corner with my existential tail between my epistemological legs, I have strengthened my armour, sharpened up my sword and come out swinging, with greater mental clarity and assuredness of my convictions than ever before! My beliefs and opinions used to be a vast landscape of fences – some interconnected, others randomly placed in the middle of conceptual fields – which I endlessly leapt between, never falling to either side, always afraid to commit myself to any particular viewpoint or another… and now I am hewing each fence in twain, one-by-one!

There are still a lot of fences. There probably always will be. I’m a fencey kind of a guy. Sitting thereupon, however, is becoming more and more of a conscious act. For this I thank my enemies, my opposers, who have served as the triangular bouncy bits of the pinball table of my soul! 🙂

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