68. why the moon?
Reconciling with all that we cannot understand
I frequently question my mission with this newsletter.
”Why am I doing this?”. Oftentimes I’ll get a great, satisfying answer. But more times than I’d like to admit I’m stuck with the question and the following silence.
And it happens with more life projects, not just this newsletter.
”Why did I embark on this journey?” is a fair question to check one’s motivations. Regarding this newsletter, I can describe what I do here: I generally write about subjects that genuinely interest me. And I do it fast! Because otherwise, I might just… forget.
The thinking brain is a powerful yet merciless machine. Isn’t it?
Full of tools and refined systems we cannot understand.
In other words: the brain cannot understand the brain.
And that is, well, interesting.
Whenever I try to reframe (reassure myself in a moment of weakness and insecurity) what my mission with this newsletter is, I think about the brain failing to understand how the brain works.
Although her incapability to understand herself doesn’t interfere with her precise mechanisms, she keeps going, harder and harder, trying to decipher the inner workings of herself. I’m still talking about the brain.
She doesn’t need to understand to function.
Questioning stuff is one of the poisonous delights of being alive. I’ve been dragging an infinite cue of them over the years. It’s a practice I’ve turned into an essential part of my work and craft. Pressing the pause button and saying “hey, wait a minute: what is a door?” before letting the waiter know what I’d like to have for lunch.
One of the many anecdotes my father loves to share with everyone about Baby-Ale is that I would ask “Why - everything?”. The hit that has stuck: Why the Moon?
What I really wanted to ask was: Why does the Moon exist? But I lacked the vocabulary and grammatical skills to be that clear when I was two years old.
My father comprehended exactly what I meant. He got the question. However, when he tells the story -which is often, he’s a dad- he laughs and focuses on the Baby-Ale character. Giving the spotlight to how funny it was for a toddler to draft a question like that.
Unlike him, I focus on the Father character, throughout the years I’ve been hearing this story.
The interesting thing about this story isn’t that a two-year-old girl didn’t know how to formulate a question properly but the discomfort it conjured in the very-adult Father.
I asked my father what his original reply was. He shook his head, smiling, making his hands dance. “Well… what could I tell you, how could I explain the existence of the moon to a two-year-old! You were a toddler.”
My thirst for a deeper dig was never satisfied.
But again, it’s hard to report to your aging father that you see him, behind the laughs and the continuing wine ordering, you really see through him.
You see he’s the one who panics when confronted with a question so simple, so honest, so basic, so unfathomable.
The thing is… he didn’t know what to say, not to me, not to himself. Because up to this day, he still doesn’t know why the moon exists. And neither do I.
I can still feel two-year-old Ale, in the backseat of the car, leaning to the front “Papi, por qué la luna?”.
My life has been a succession of similar queries, followed by lousy annotations and poor guesses. And here I find the “why” to the existence of this newsletter.
At some point, I’d like to have a compilation of answers for my future children.
If they ever ask me “Why the Moon?”, I’d like to give them an honest answer.
”I have no idea, and this opens bigger questions like, why the Earth, why us, why the night, and why the body. But here’s this book of nonsense essays I wrote for you, so you can have fun, learn a thing or two. But know the brain will never fully understand the brain and that’s okay, the brain will keep on doing its thing and so should you.”
bye bye bye,
by all means, have a quick look at this before you leave
From Poetry Scam ❤️
okay! okay! okay!
with love and see you next week.