Thursday, February 14, 2008

happiness and paradox - viva minus 7

I woke up in the middle of the night, all in a sweat that I hadn't talked in my dissertation about paradox with respect to the entertaining of two apparently irreconcilable positions.

Wouldn't you think that that would come to mind at some point? And wouldn't you think that that would surely come to the mind of someone [me!] who had actually spent some considerable time thinking about that very subject at the very beginning of this whole journey?!

Well - apparently not. Because it didn't. It just didn't. Not till now.

I wonder if anyone will bring it up at the viva? It seems a glaring omission to me, at this point. But hold on here! Wait a minute. . . . no one else has talked about paradox in this context, so maybe it's a bit more understandable. Maybe I just missed another potentially cool point I could have made, or maybe I dodged a bullet that would have derailed the dissertation. I don't know. . . .

Anyway, it really seems to me that the [especially Christian] embracing of paradox (theoretically, at least) could add another tool by which to attempt to navigate the terrain between the "good" and the "right". We do not have to choose one or the other where they [appear to] conflict. But neither do we need to do violence to the opposition presented in order to try and live - somehow - with both.

The other fill-in-the-blank 'gift' I got today was an article a girlfriend emailed me about happiness. It's an article by one Sharon Begley, entitled "Happiness: Enough Already." Quoting one Eric Wilson (who has apparently written a book entitled Against Happiness) she says
. . . "the blues can be a catalyst for a special kind of genius, a genius for exploring dark boundaries between opposites." The ever-restless, the chronically discontent, are dissatisfied with the status quo, be it in art or literature or politics.
It reminds me of my disagreement with a favorite writer of mine who quoted [with approval] a guy who tried to equate morality with science. In my comment disagreeing, I mentioned that that attempted equation would be to deflate immorality to a physical malady - presumably treatable with a pill. Here, we have a similar situation already going on, where everything not happy is pathological, and which ought to be treated with medication, or therapy, or both. ["ought" is italicized there, because I wanted to point out how often we ignore moral statements, which are so often headed by that little word. . . . ]

Anyway - enough for this morning. Off I go to chart the "dark boundaries between opposites" - not that I aspire to "special kind of genius" status - but I have been wrestling the blues!

No comments: