Friday, July 29, 2011

unpolished unpolished post i

Maybe we should speak more of a strong "love ethic" and less of a strong "work ethic."

Some weeks before my father died he expressed an anxiousness or sadness--I don't know quite the word--that he wasn't--I forget the word he used--useful? When someone consoled that he had done so much already, his response was that this was the past; he wanted to be "doing" at that point. I don't remember the exact discussion--this is the spirit of it though. Similarly, after my father passed, Hannah was crying one night because she missed him. I made some comment to the effect that he was really fun before she knew him; her response was that he was already fun. Hannah had the right idea: she was appreciating him for what he was at that point in time.

What am I driving at? I'm trying to universalize from these exchanges. One thing I'm thinking is that while working hard may at some points be what is called for, it is not the essence of what we are or what we owe each other. I think we should teach the value of work and appreciate the work people do (and let them know it), but we should also teach a reflectiveness about work and its motivations and limits. We should also extend the idea of what constitutes work (probably I need to read in Kierkegaard's Works of Love again). It is also helpful to remember what one my professors, Peter Sorenson said: sometimes we praise certain traits as "good" whereas they are really neutral and can be used for good OR ill; and I feel that work is one of them. Also, when we appreciate people's work, do we appreciate it for what it yields us personally, or for more altruistic, universal reasons reasons?...

um, time to stop talking about work and love and time to go do some chores, hopefully with love :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

one line xvii

Lovely irony, that cheerfully mastering the art of negative capability (see Keats, of course) will make you a most positive person.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

enough suffering

If life were likened unto a marathon, we would not call the stress of running the race a hardship or tragedy; it would be called a feat of skill and endurance; something runners would seek--and in the case of prestigious races--be honored to qualify for. I must hold that life is "the good race."

Now, there are things that happen or could happen in a race that would be classified as suffering, such as if spectators were throwing objects at the runners, or if the runners were feeling angry toward each other . . . Naguib Mahfouz (Egyptian writer and Nobel Prize laureate) spoke once of "artificial tragedies of man's own making, such as ignorance, poverty, exploitation, violence, brutality, etc. . . . tragedies that can be remedied."

In 1985 Gordon B. Hinckley made a statement that holds out to me the possibility of remedying artificial tragedies rather than resigning ourselves that this is the way things are: "We live in a world where peace exists only by reason of a balance of terror. I have often thought that if great numbers of the women of all nations were to unite and lift their voices in the cause of peace, there would develop a worldwide will for peace which could save our civilization and avoid untold suffering, misery, plague, starvation, and the death of millions" (Ensign November 1985).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Three Lines III

You may find after consideration that you will pay a heavy price if you fail to pay the price.
Given the inevitability of stress, choose the stress that will yield the best results.
(See also Pascal's wager.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

three lines ii

Oh, the pretentiousness of intentional unpretentiousness. Oh, those movie titles that feature gerunds or past participles. Oh, those who make a point of critiquing other people's language, as I do here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

one line xvi

I'll be happy when I stop saying "I'll happy when . . ."

Saturday, July 09, 2011

three lines i

To hold an opinion with a keen and intentional awareness that it is counter to popular opinion is to be influenced by popular opinion. To say you don't care what people think is another form of caring about what people think. The key is to be and think without contentious reference to a demonized other.