Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Accounting

“The Gold-weigher” by Salomon Koninck (1654)
An Accounting
“Who are you?” you asked.
“Egoist? Eudaimonist?
Stoic of Grand Style?”

If I'm a very lucky man

I'll reach a ripe old age

'ere I do my accounting last

and sum up every page:

all good I've willed, all ill I've illed

tugging war on the scales,

determining the mood in which

I'll set my Charon Sails.

Last moments come to one and all,

prepared for it or no;

Fate always deems the middle scene

best place to close the show.

Thus tragically end all our lives,

so much unsaid, undone;

great questions not answered or asked;

great journeys unbegun.

So accountings from time to time

a humble man will make,

knowing soon comes the final hour

and final breath to take.

In such accounts truth can be found

by those who seek it so:

to place more good upon the scales

then oneself one must know.

As such, I must ask who I am

with each accounting's mark

and, as I answer, ascertain

the import of my arc.

And since I am a lucky man,

I find this same concern

drove wiser men than me to write

so men like me could learn,

could read, could think, and then decide

which methods echo true

inside that place one calls The Self,

and so a path pursue.

And so I've read what I could find

and tried to make some sense

of ancient, current, of sublime,

of foolish, wise, of dense.

While more there is still left to read,

to understand and weigh,

of all I've read, of all I've thought,

here's what I am today.

I spurn Progressive petulance

and finger-pointing twist:

Bad Karma comes from shaking of

Mad Marx's angry fist.

The Liberals of Classic kind

are more my cup of tea.

Locke, Hayek, Rand is where I stand;

Freedom rings well with me.

Deontology leaves me cold.

With Duty as baton,

Kant's grand list of Imperatives

makes man automaton.

Utility falls short as well.

Joy through Adding Machine,

despite all of Mill's Calculus,

End just won't pardon Mean.

Epictetus, Epicurus?

I like The Stoic best:

care of the things you can control,

pay no mind to the rest.

And while Fate has its final word

I'm still allowed some say;

Compatibilist Nature leaves

man room to choose his way.

Thus Emerson and Nietzsche urged

do so in Style Grand,

from Emerson: God manifest,

from Nietzsche: Will to stand.

With Nietzsche's Dionysus and

Emerson's “Thyself trust.”,

I find myself as Silenus,

gold Self inside clay bust.

Imperfect, flawed, yet meaning well,

ideal self as guide,

I chart a path to tip my scales

onto the better side.

So to Aristotle I nod,

The Ethics of Daimon,

what works in a life of extremes,

a humble faith, my own.

In all I work, in all I think,

in all I rest and play,

I try to stay true to myself

and out of others' way.

And so I finish this account,

course set to fickle sea,

'til next time Fate says “Sit you down.”,

my humble hero, me.