Metaphor For Life (One cabin boy speaks)

A metaphor about life

Life can be likened to being on board a very large majestic cruise liner. Pleasures abound everywhere if they are sought, as are angst’s if rendered the scope to to similarly intrude. Immaturity, passion, neglect, perpetual searching for excitement and adventure, and others – all ensure this.

 So complete freedom to access the ship with its multitudinous dark mysterious corridors is ours; as is our ability to assess the nobility, or otherwise, of all fellow travellers and other life creatures. Within this apparent limitless opportunity, however, there is but two seemingly non-negotiable exclusions.

Both the engine room and wheel house controlling rudder functions are, by architectural design, well out of bounds to all except a ruthlessly persistent, select few. Even they cannot unduly influence the massive machines of propulsion and control. Powerful motors and unseen systems keep whirling away. The guiding hand of the chief engineer and originating architect are nowhere to be found. The cruise carries on even when we are long beyond mere remnant remains.

From ‘Empathic Insights’

Jonathon Freeman

1999, ISBN 0957761708 1

Spur Line

Use it before you forget it.

 Most people know of the phrase ‘spur of the moment’ and what it means: a momentary impulse. Few people today use the phrase ‘spur line’ as railways have declined as a popular mode of transport. A spur line is a deviation track from a main railway track leading to some alternative destination; and a spur line may also have sub-spur lines running from it to alternative locations. Some maybe just to a wheat silo in the middle of nowhere. For the most people it would have no interest, but for a farmer or grain and feed agent it could be the focal point of their entire lives. All of us dream about owning and controlling our own little spur lines leading somewhere that is important to us. As individuals, however, we are rarely taught to think in terms of ‘I’ and the well being of ‘I’, but the wellbeing of ‘us’. This means, of course, family, place of employment and the wider community at large.

From early childhood this process begins. We are all led to believe that if we learn about the things of life, and live them out according to our learning and understanding, then as adults something  ‘magic’ will eventually happen, with all our dreams eventually coming true. The fact that this destination could be some forty years or so down the track seems irrelevant to us when we are in our (say) twenties. “It is all worth it” we argue. We will have kids, my partner and I will be in love forever and ever, we must buy the right size house in the right location and own the right sort of car to match that socio-economic location. This is regardless of affordability to the family unit itself, or the burden to the individual partners of the relationship who are trying to maintain what many would see as both daring, and leading to an eventual domestic implosion. This is where spur lines are so important to such people.

 All of us need specific realisable objectives in life. Setting ‘bars’ too high is counter productive. We all need time out with our partners to rediscover not only what we like most in them, but to find out where the ‘train’ is on its journey, and where all occupants of the carriages are as well. In a typical family carriage, occupants are also drivers, regardless of gender. They assume responsibility for the whole train when it is cruising between main line stations. To be responsible they must also have joint control.  Life is very, very unforgiving if this is ever in doubt. The meaning of control needs to be occasionally tabled, not debated. Achieving mutual respect is a crucial part of this process, as is full respect of each other’s truths and values, regardless of their own. Expressions of love through token acts of endearment are important, as is tactility, no matter however briefly, conveyed through touch, squeeze or feel. The act of sex in such an environment is not lust, it is a legitimate expression of both parties attempting to reach ‘oneness’, because ‘we’ both care about each other, as well as ‘us’ . That is, as a bonded pair driving a sometimes ‘rickety train’ to a somewhat nebulous somewhere, guided only by rails assumed to be strong; nearly always in a paranoid state of fear of derailment and related disaster.

The choice to deviate the train to a spur line is ours alone to make. The engine and single carriage can take that line to wherever the drivers in partnership want to take it, when they choose, and for how long. The remaining carriages can be sidelined at a friendly station to ensure all regular bits of day to day stuff are cared for whilst they are absent.

To illustrate the point, let us for lighter reading, take insight into how one happy engine felt when it witnessed ‘re humanisation.’

“The engine, however, was now as well in a position to ‘cut loose’. It wanted to be wild too, as its drivers decided to jointly open the throttle, not a little, but widely. The roaring engine silenced the tornado-like wind being scooped into open windows all across the port, starboard and front; destroying any residual evidence of prior social conformity. Undressed flesh, contorted faces and windswept hair prevailed. What may or may not follow next is for readers’ imagination only, but be assured the engine’s pistons thumped along merrily in tandem as well.”

What has been outlined is equally applicable to individuals. Adventure on a separate spur line of individual choosing, in complete non-accountable trust, is crucial for partnership survival. ‘Spur of the moment’ type stuff too? Yes! Be spontaneous. Be funny. A private journey is a private journey. We are all having one. We do not own each other. We simply need each other.

Jonathon Freeman

26/7/04