Tag: good

Unselfing, Marys and Marthas: Winter of Discontent, or Mind of Winter?

 

“One must have a mind of winter… And have been cold a long time… not to think / Of any misery in the sound of the wind,” the January wind. So says Wallace Stevens in his poem, The Snow Man. Misery and discontent aren’t identical, but a series of small miseries — unrelated to wintry weather — means February snuck up on me this year, almost as if January never happened, so misery must do for my “winter of discontent”. To “the listener, who listens in the snow,” hearing the sound of the wind, the poem promises if he becomes “nothing himself” he’ll “behold[] / Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.” People “cold a long time” can go numb, of course, and numbness is a kind of “nothing” obliterating misery. But numbness seems insufficient for a “mind of winter”.

For our own survival, we see winter’s cold as hostile. Our success as biological beings depends on our sensing discomfort, in order to mitigate risk before it’s too late. Concern for our own comfort is a form of self-regard that isn’t optional, if we care to live. Nonetheless, necessary self-regard is still self-regard. A mind of winter leaves self-regard behind. And so, it sees wintry beauty — the snowy, frozen world lit with “the distant glitter / Of the January sun” — simply because it is there to see, irrespective of what it might mean to the self. Winter in itself isn’t hostile, just indifferent: self-regard makes the indifference seem hostile. A mind of winter is “unselfed”.

In a World with No Evil, You Can Do No Wrong

 

“Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own — it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.” – Jay Austin

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan were killed by ISIS militants in Tajikstan on July 28 or 29. They did nothing bad. They were tourists, and had been cycling throughout the world for about a year. They were also idealists, a pair of progressives who truly believed that evil does not exist.

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L’art pour l’art est un vain mot. L’art pour le vrai, l’art pour le beau et le bon, voilà la religion que je cherche…—Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin (Pen name: George Sand) in a letter to Alexandre Saint-Jean, (19 April 1872) Art for the sake of art itself is an idle sentence. Art for the sake of truth, […]

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkM71JPHfjk Sometimes we run across a little slice of art that bridges cultures while at the same time defining culture.  Music has that power.  Sounds can be defined drearily by the engineer as waves and pulses (see ‘yanni vs. laurel’).  But no scientist can explain what’s going on in the heart by great music.  How the […]

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The thoughts expressed herein are my personal reflections and are not intended to reflect the position of the founders, editors, or other moderators, although goodness knows they should agree with me cuz I’m always right. One of the great but often unnoticed accomplishments of Western Civilization has been the establishment of communities designed to search […]

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Of all the cultural myths that have sundered the world since the fall of man, none has been more ubiquitous and pernicious as utopianism. From the Tower of Babel to Soviet Russia; from the French Revolution to the 72 virgins of Islam, mankind is forever on the hunt for peace on the cheap; the day […]

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