There's the mind that finds this life consistently dismaying, frightening, that teeters on the edge of despair and hopelessness, exists by the skin of its teeth and from one day to the next. And there's the mind that despite this finds joy in people and art and nature, interest in many things, comes here and lines up these findings like a row of treasured little objects on a windowsill.
Is this a mind on the edge of breakdown? Or is it normal, 'just life', to feel like this? Sometimes I think it's just life and sometimes I think it's just me, that I never learned to live and with age it gets only harder to pretend.
Sometimes I think this is how it is for every rational mind - dismay for much of the time, for every beating, emotional heart - so much pain and fear.
Sometimes I think that what keeps people going against the odds is not the mind and not the heart, but instinct, appetites; that my problem, the reason I live so close to the edge, is my lifelong all too effective inhibition of appetites. It goes back to those days of my earliest memories, two or three years old, when my instinct was to scream and kick, but, convinced that my parents would give me away if I kept on doing this (a harsh parental discourse, but also, even then, my own over-reaction), I started learning to at all times inhibit the instinctive, not to act.
In the absence of appetites, of primal energy and resilience, there remain thought and emotion, pleasure in the beautiful and interest in the intriguing. Not enough, but something.