MUSING: SINGLE ROOM

As I was reading from Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed novel (quoted below), an author that is quickly becoming one of my all time favorites, a train of thought formed that I thought worth sharing: is this what it feels like when your mind hesitantly but inevitably moves from a myriad of distractions into the calm of focused dedication?

He found Room 46 in a long corridor of shut doors in the domicile. Evidently they were all singles, and he wondered why the registrar had sent him there. Since he was two years old he had always lived in dormitories, rooms of four to ten beds. He knocked at the door of 46. Silence. He opened the door. The room was a small single, empty, dimly illuminated by the light in the corridor. He lighted the lamp. Two chairs, a desk, a well-used slide rule, a few books, and, folded neatly on the bed platform, a hand-woven orange blanket. Somebody else lived here, the registrar had made a mistake. He shut the door. He opened it again to turn off the lamp. On the desk under the lamp was a note, scribbled on a torn-off scrap of paper: “Shevek, Physics off. morning 241154. Sabul.”

For it is very unfamiliar territory to me and surely to many modern day humans. We struggle in a world that's become a bit too complicated. Information is plentiful, our time is frustratingly finite and, sooner or later, we realize that we are not immortal.

One option is to simply live one's life, by following the rules and attractions of whichever theme park one might happen to be in and not worry about anything else that's outside of that tiny bubble.

But what if your mind is like a child in a toy store, amazed and bedazzled by everything around it? Just look at the complexity of nature, life, technology, science, art, emotion, imagination... It has you constantly chasing more than your mortal self can ever hope to reach in its life time, ending up living in a dormitory with too many beds whose inhabitants you will never know very well.

He put his coat down on a chair, his boots on the floor. He stood awhile and read the titles of the books, standard references in physics and mathematics, green-bound, the Circle of Life stamped on the covers. He hung his coat in the closet and put his boots away. He drew the curtain of the closet carefully. He crossed the room to the door: four paces. He stood there hesitant a minute longer, and then, for the first time in his life, he closed the door of his own room.

I would like to find out how to measure those four paces and, maybe for a while, close the door of my own room.


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