Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Of Marx and Deity

At brunch I sat glumly, my mind a swirl around Marxist alienation and well aware that this was not acceptable fare for Christmas morning. (Don't have experiences that are different from everyone else's, and especially don't understand those experiences differently than everyone else. Whatever else you may then be, at least you won't be alone. This passes for humor, darkly.) At least when Dad asked what I was thinking about, he rescued me by then supposing that yesterday's drive was tiring. It wasn't, but at least then we were then talking about driving rather than alienation, though in some ways I suppose it amounts to the same thing.

After things were put away I sat to read for a bit and flipped my book to the marked page, my eyes falling first on a sentence three-quarters of the way down the right hand leaf:

Similarly, limited points of view emphasize the isolation of individual consciousness.

It's hardly acceptable to speak of Marx and deity in the same sentences, but of deity I must speak, because a single sentence at once distilled and crystallized my unutterably inchoate thoughts, and for this I blame deity.

(Parenthetical #1: Yes, lately I'm a theist. Deity could always retreat just beyond our reach and grasp; it would stand to reason, after all, and is the sort of absurdity that, given everything else, would only make sense.) (Parenthetical #2: We are alone, but also each alone with the Alone. That news is all comfort, and none at all.)  

So I leave these thoughts with you, dear Internet, because they're hardly the thing to send to anyone on Christmas, to start, and I don't know who would talk with me about Marx and deity, besides.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

a note from here:

still seeking the holy.
beauty alone isn't enough.

That's something I wrote to myself a day or two ago; now I'm trying to remember what it means, amidst the stresses of packing and starting life over. Again.

Friday, September 23, 2011

On the hardest thing

Never forget that life can only be nobly inspired and rightly lived if you take it bravely and gallantly, as a splendid adventure in which you are setting out into an unknown country, to meet many a joy, to find many a comrade, to win and lose many a battle.
- Annie Besant

Here's a youtube video.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

[For those who don't know, I have a summer job in Ohio doing architect stuff.]

So, four days into a new job - the job itself is familiar, though some parts are new. The great source of intrigue is the people. Observing them, and observing myself, and the interactions. Mostly I hang back and watch. Everything about me is in plain sight - for those who know what they're looking for. I've had a few interactions and conversations whose nature rather surprised me, and I sure didn't start them.

I guess that's a comment and an observation. I'm still learning to understand it. Connection has been a central topic for me over the last months, so it's fascinating and beautiful to move from relative isolation, in terms of relationships with other adults, to relative population.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I keep looking for this quote and returning to it. It's in C.S. Lewis - Surprised by Joy.

It's about the distinction between enjoyment and contemplation. It's on 217-218. Maybe now I'll be able to find it again more easily. I got lucky finding it this time.

‘ I read in Alexander’s Space Time and Deity his theory of “Enjoyment” and “Contemplation.” These are technical terms in Alexander’s philosophy; “Enjoyment” has nothing to do with pleasure, nor “Contemplation” with the contemplative life. When you see a table you “enjoy” the act of seeing and “contemplate’ the table… In bereavement you contemplate the beloved and the beloved’s death and, in Alexander’s sense, “enjoy” the loneliness and grief; but a psychologist, if he were considering you as a case of melancholia, would be contemplating your grief and enjoying philosophy. ‘

…It seemed to me self-evident that one essential property of love, hate, fear, hope, or desire was attention to their object. To cease thinking about or attending to the woman is, so far, to cease loving; to cease thinking about or attending to the dreaded thing is, so far, to cease being afraid… In other words the enjoyment and the contemplation of our inner activities are incompatible. You cannot hope and also think about hoping at the same moment; for in hope we look to hope’s object and we interrupt this by (so to speak) turning round to look at the hope itself. Of course the two activities can and do alternate with great rapidity; but they are distinct and incompatible. ‘

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Five years.

It's been just over five years since my world turned upside down. For me it's hard and a little embarrassing to go back and read what I wrote of that experience. Whether the writing is obtuse or clear, it is hard to see how much it lays bare. Of that particular shift itself: I have thought of other ways of expressing it, from time to time. Expectation no longer forming my reality. Thus, loss of everything I was attached to, everything I held to. Except, at the time, God - but that slipped away, too. But loss, loneliness, and only ever always falling. I'm five years more accustomed to the sense of it.

It's coming up on five years since I declared love to be my highest priority:

The argument is this: love comes first. I don't mean sissy love from afar without getting our hands dirty. I mean gritty, real, messy, beautiful, difficult love. (I could more easily show you than tell you, but this is a blog; please forgive my words for falling short.) Doing what Christ did in coming to earth. Sitting down and caring for people with no agenda whatsoever. To be one of those people whose qualities I mentioned in an earlier post:

... approachable, accepting, slow to anger, slow to judge, quick to pardon, seeking to understand, seeking to love, seeking to do right. They create a space where the tide of fear is held back, where no secret is too dark, no failure too deep, where any uncertainty is permitted. Where our humanity can be laid bare without shame or judgment.

Five years later, looking at my own writing: it's strong, vulnerable, and true. Five years. My aim was unerring. I still seek to be that love, and could say it no better now. Love is hard. Love is easy.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New year, same old...

Well, I'm still attached to the idea of my people continuing to be alive. Too many close calls this year; even one is one too many.

Listening to Adyashanti while taping and mudding drywall - an activity which, by the way, is quite relaxing. At least for me. He remains good stuff, for me - I know I've heard all these recordings before, and I still find new things in them, or - they find me where I am. Pick your subject-object relationship.

The idea that one oughtn't be attached - just another idea to be attached to.