Saturday, February 28, 2015

Learning a Little Loss

"You don't know what you've got till it's gone."

Words of wisdom that everyone is fated to pass on. And to ignore.

Loss comes to us in many different ways and in many different forms, some so subtle and unrecognizable that it is only after you carefully and consciously sift through the misty haze of the experience itself, that you realize something is dislocated, missing, lost. 

Leonard Nimoy, known to the world as Spock, passed away last night, aged 83. By all accounts he lived a full life, doing justice to his talent and dignifying his fame with grace and wisdom. Spock is one of the first fictional characters I can remember truly responding to as I was growing up. My affection for him was in part inherited - we were in no way a family of geeks/nerds (yes, the distinction remains unclear to me) but we shared some of the community's interests, including, namely, a lingering affection for the original Star Trek series.

Spock came closest to the realization of a promise that animates so many Eastern spiritual traditions - that detachment can cultivate deep compassion. He seemed to fulfill a Zen/Buddhist ideal of constant and unrelenting self-awareness, while also retaining a profound humaneness. He was wise, but he was kind. He knew everything, including the limits of what he knew. 

Spock must have been a lot of Leonard Nimoy, but Leonard Nimoy was not all Spock. At least, he tried not to be. 

Growing up is so many things, and I've written about it on this blog before. Glibly and falsely, I might add. Growing up is watching the cricket team you cheered for, retire. Growing up is watching your metabolism slow down. Growing up is losing old friends and making new ones. Growing up is picking your battles, maybe. Growing up is a lot of things I haven't learnt about yet. But today, I realize it is also reading a newspaper headline and knowing that you just lost a hero you didn't quite know you had.    
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