In dreams, begin responsibilities. Yeats 1912.
Relating back to my own dime-store view of morality, being, namely, that it is a side-effect or conclusion of our capacity to plan, hypothesize, envision other worldtimes, other paths, roads not traveled, and roads yet to be traveled, ergo.
Introductory rhymes of WBY in said Responsibilities follows:
Pardon, old fathers, if you still remain
Somewhere in ear-shot for the story’s end,
Old Dublin merchant ‘free of ten and four’
Or trading out of Galway into Spain;
And country scholar, Robert Emmet’s friend,
A hundred-year-old memory to the poor;
Traders or soldiers who have left me blood
That has not passed through any huxter’s loin,
Pardon, and you that did not weigh the cost,
Old Butlers when you took to horse and stood
Beside the brackish waters of the Boyne
Till your bad master blenched and all was lost;
You merchant skipper that leaped overboard
After a ragged hat in Biscay Bay,
You most of all, silent and fierce old man
Because you were the spectacle that stirred
My fancy, and set my boyish lips to say
‘Only the wasteful virtues earn the sun’;
Pardon that for a barren passion’s sake,
Although I have come close on forty-nine
I have no child, I have nothing but a book,
Nothing but that to prove your blood and mine.
I am only twenty and nine, yet as of yet am equally barren, having not even a book as even that poor consoling progeny, not even that, merely the solicitude of cases, of sitting in rooms with other people and their smaller tragedies (no large tragedies for this small rhetorical warrior, if I am a shark, it is a small shark, a dogfish, nipping at the heels of careless passersby who step without looking into unsuspected flowing water) ((& a second digression into the plural of passerby, which is, to rely on the noosphere, passers-by)
Twenty and nine, with sometime silent and sometime fierce old man of my own, to whom I cry out poetry to him actually and to him hypothetically; blood of my blood (or maybe I am the blood of his blood); his strange leavings, his cunning miracle, the twinkle in his eye;
I am but mad north-north-west, sayeth he, sayeth me: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
We are set apart from the world. It’s shadow’s shadow arrays itself in the mind’s eye, before the illusion of the Cartesian Theater, which is itself a dumbshow in a larger Theater, and that in turn, a further dumbshow, and a further, and a further, dumbshows all the way down.
But the shadow dances, quickeningly, so quick (so lively) that it refutes solipsism due to the required bandwidth alone. (I.E., we see in such high definition there must be something analog to be doing this constant projecting).
And yet even in the absence of the Real, the Theater-in-the-Theater-in-the-Theater-in-the-Theater remains ready for other uses, and our Emergent Selves uses it, surely, even as nature abhors a vacuum.
To what effect? To dreams, first, dreams of little reason, but other dreams as well, dreams of reason, of other days, and other choices, and seeing how the world could be, and seeing how such worlds could come to be, We the Living, who are nine times out of ten moved merely by circumstance, can in those moments of reflection move ourselves and others and in so doing, cause these other worlds to be. Directors of a New Production.
Responsibility transformed and inverted is merely choices re-chosen.
I know not whether the poem/proem speaks of fathers & Claudius’ constant theme of nature which cries “this must be so.”
Other dreams. Dreams of responsibility. That says, aye, that must be so, but this, this, need not be so. That says that all must die, but none must murdered be. Choice. Morality. The heart of the matter.
Or a bit lower. In the very middle of Fortune’s body, and occupying there her secret favors.
The wheel spins us, and we spin the wheel. Reflecting. Dreaming, in our electrical fog that appears to be, but is not, a Theater.