Tuesday, January 8, 2008

another day. . . .

It is as I suspected.

Today is another day. A better day than the one that ended yesterday, but maybe that's just because the day is still mostly ahead of me, and I still see hope and promise in it. Whereas yesterday was a bit of a trial, and - finite ridiculous person that I am - I am not able to see the benefit of trials and other beset-ments. . . .

At the same time, I am dimly aware that it is these very besetting difficulties endured, that has made me who I am. How is it that we are most shaped by difficulties, rather than by whimsies and delights? But perhaps there is someone who can make the case for character-shaping delights?


I thought not.

Hedonists seem always hedonistic as a remainder - namely because it doesn't really "matter" so you might as well enjoy yourself - rather than as a goal. The "teacher" of Ecclesiastes did pursue pleasure at one point in his quest to find meaning, but found none there. Of course, he found none - really - anywhere else, either, in human pursuits anyway. . . .

WARNING: I suspect theological content lurking ahead. . . . a premonition, perhaps, from the Ecclesiastes reference that sprung - unbidden - to mind. But maybe not. We'll have to see, eh?

Now. Where was I? Right: better day. Or another day, anyway.

I'm coming back around to "good"/"bad" orientations in a philosophical and theological sense. Isn't it quite amazing to consider the judgment involved in saying whether a day is either "good" or "bad"?! I, who have neither made nor contributed to making [or receiving] any day at all, presuming to judge in advance? Or even after the fact!

Quite astonishing.

This is not to say, however, that the exercise of "judgment" is "bad". I have little time for people who mouth the "Who am I to judge?" platitude, when talking about lying, cheating, stealing, killing, even plain old simple bad manners - etc.

I'm just saying that it might a good idea to consider my framework as I judge, and to recognize my limitations. I am fully capable of judging - and condemning - rudeness, violence, cruelty, manipulation, all sorts of things, under the appropriate circumstances. But there are perhaps times when that judgment is better suspended, like perhaps when I don't what I think I want right now, or even when I don't get to go to the islands as usual [poor pitiful me], or - more seriously - when suffering; sickness; violence; rejection. Or maybe it's better for me to say that - rather than suspend judgement - I should be open to seeing also what good can come out of even the "bad".

I am NOT in any way here arguing [as apparently Paul's audience did in - ah - the book of Romans, I think it was] that we should go out and do evil so that good will result!

Suffering and the problem of evil is the philosophical fault-line where it seems all thought systems break down. . . .

Consider this: the tree that caused all the trouble in the garden of Eden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Interesting, eh? "Knowing" evil - at this point - I can't imagine not knowing it. . . . And therein is perhaps one way of understanding the "death" promised to any who ate from that tree: namely the death of the not-knowing.

Well! That'll tie my thoughts up in knots for a while! Better get moving, I think. I have a weathervane to order - and finials. Here's the weathervane we've chosen - the banner. I like it!

It's a whimsy.

Not character-shaping.

But perhaps an indication of how that character has been shaped?

[to be continued. . . .one day. . . .maybe. . . .]
P.S. I have nothing against pleasure. In fact, I like it a lot! Further, I think that how we deal with pleasure is one of the "church's" biggest fault-lines where they break down. Chocolat is one of my favorite movies. Not because it's anti-intellectual (as the reviewer seems to think is necessary, in order to enjoy sensual experience) but because it does not deny the wonderful pleasures of food, drink, taste, laughter, music, love, dance. . . . I begin to think that religious "worship" is very puny indeed because they don't "get it" - but that leads to another whole big discussion, fraught with the danger of (you guessed it) empty hedonism. Full circle. We're pretty much right back where we started.

But the danger of hedonism is way too much for me to take on before noon.

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