Thursday, January 9, 2014




"Thus it s proper to say that every duty is essentially duty to God but if no more can be said than this then it is also said that I actually have no duty to God. [...] For example, it is a duty to love one's neighbor. It is duty by being traced back to God, but in the duty I enter into relation not to God, but to the neighbor I love. If [...] I then say it is my duty to love God, I am actually pronouncing only a tautology, inasmuch as "God" in a totally abstract sense is here understood as the divine - that is, the universal, that is , the duty." Kierkegaard,  Fear and Trembling, p. 68


"Apart from good life-conduct, anything which the human being supposes that he can do to become well-pleasing to God is mere religious delusion and counterfeit service to God" Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, Kant, 6:171


The photo and the quotes have no connection, that I know of. (Actually, that's not entirely true. The connection is that I participate in a process that brings me great joy - photography. In doing so, I come closer to the true me, the most basic parts of myself that were there in the beginning. This creates a sense of wonder and truthfulness. It's an inside job, and it grows when tended to. In tending to this part of myself, I think I am coming closer, or glimpsing an aspect of God. In doing so, I am able to love others because I am able to see the beauty in them that I see in this process and in myself. So, what some may see as a selfish or self-centered activity, I see as a way to inch toward God and experience wonder and truth. In doing this I am better able to give of myself.)



28 comments:

nicrap said...

I don't know how someone in the West, especially a Christian, would view this, but wine and mysticism have had a long association in the East ... the images are particularly strong within sufism, whence they have spilled into our culture, especially our poetry. Ask any average Indian what the poet means by sāqī — the wine-giver — or by the tavern, and he should be able to tell you that he means God.

To this tradition then belong the four lines that i am quoting below; the sentiment expressed is very close to the one expressed by your post, viz., that no matter what you do, if you do it with love for God, you would still be serving Him.

madhiraalay jaane ko ghar se chalta hai peenewaala
"kis path se jaaoon?" asmanjas mein hai vah bholabhaala
alag alag path batlaate sabpar main yeh batlaata hoon
"raah pakad tu ek chala chal pa jaayega madhushaala."


Seeking wine, the drinker leaves home for the tavern.
Perplexed, he asks, "Which path will take me there?"
People show him different ways, but this is what I have to say,
"Pick a path and keep walking. You will find the tavern."

P.S. The line are from Bacchan's Madhushala. The transaltion is by Marjouri Boulton.

nicrap said...

Ha ha. This reminds me of a line from Chekhov's The Lady With the Little Dog. The character Gurov is gripped by a strong desire to tell someone about his love affair — but who can he tell? Finally, not being able to hold back anymore, he tells an acquaintence from his club.

"If you only knew what an enchanting woman i met in Yalta!" he says.

The man drives off in his sledge but then turns around and says: "You were right the other day — the sturgeon was off."

"The sturgeon was off!" We are indeed all alone in this world. You can pry open your heart, and place it before someone, and all he would ever say would be something equally trite. Just like me above.

p.s. Now you will say i am being hysterical. ;)

Jen Nifer said...



Seeking wine, the drinker leaves home for the tavern.
Perplexed, he asks, "Which path will take me there?"
People show him different ways, but this is what I have to say,
"Pick a path and keep walking. You will find the tavern.
-----

I like this a lot!

Thersites said...


Each day, O companion, spills more wine from my life.
Each day, O fortunate one, this goblet, my body, is burnt.
Each day, O lovely woman, this wine-maiden, my youth, distances itself from me.
Each day, O beauty, this tavern, my Life, is drying up

Thersites said...

a wonderful poem!

Thersites said...

...offered by an hysteric.

...or his analyst?

;)

nicrap said...

lol. He stayed away for a few days, and i was beginning to miss him. Welcome back, my friend. :)

nicrap said...

Here is a link to the song. The first four lines [the same i have quoted here] are sung by the poet himself. The rest by another singer. [The image on the screen is his and not of the poet.]

p.s. I am posting this so you can have some idea how lyrical they are.

Thersites said...

They are refreshingly beautiful!

Thanks for the context! :)

Jen Nifer said...

It is a wonderful poem, nicrap. Thanks for sharing.

I don't know what other Christians think of mystical poetry, but I like it. Whatever art helps guide me in the right direction is what appeals to me.

Duckys here said...

The Lady With the Little Dog

----
A Russian film was available from Facets. Don't know if it's still in print but the film is quite good.

Thersites said...

Speaking of Russia, I watched "Goodbye Lenin" on Youtube the other day. Apparently some people aren't capable of moving beyond the collapse of the USSR... ;)

nicrap said...
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nicrap said...
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nicrap said...
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nicrap said...
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nicrap said...

Apparently some people aren't capable of moving beyond the collapse of the USSR...


Most treacherous is not the robbery of hard-earned wages,
Most horrible is not the torture by the police,
Most dangerous is not treason, or the fist of greed.
To be caught while asleep is surely bad,
surely bad is to be buried in silence,
But it is not the most dangerous.
Most dangerous is to be filled with dead peace,
Not to feel agony, simply bear it all,
Leaving home for work, and from work returning home,
Most dangerous is
the death of our dreams.


[Paash. "Most Dangerous."]

nicrap said...

Sorry, fellas. Blogger liked my comment so much that it posted it several times. ;)

nicrap said...
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nicrap said...

Most dangerous is
the death of our dreams.

Though, some would say that those dreams were really illusions. But that — the death of our illusions, i mean — could be an even greater catastrophe, to my mind. And then, where is the line that distinguishes dreams from illusions? What decides? History? But to that one could counter with a line from Ulysses: "was that only possible which came to pass?" Realism is all right when it is not a refuge for scoundrels, which it often is.

p.s. i was merely thinking loud, fellas. :)

Jen Nifer said...

Duck, is it an old movie?

I've got for documentaries queued up on Netflix. All Oscar nominees.

Jen Nifer said...

Nicrap, how is it a refuge for scoundrels? In that they are too cynical to see the value of dreams?

I think that dreams become illusions when the dreamer gives up.

Jen Nifer said...

thesquarefilm.com

Wow. Watch this movie. I don't know what else to say right now...

nicrap said...

Is fj cynical? lol. Just kidding. :)

No, i mean people who use it to justify their own prejudices, their own ignorance, who have no interest in seeing the dream succeed, even though it is a good dream, a noble dream; rather, they take a certain pleasure in the fact that it is indeed dead but try to hide it by assuming an air of being rooted in reality, in commonsense; finally, people who are too well fed, too happy, too secure, in their homes, in their offices, to know anything about life on the other side. The dream means nothing to them. All is well as far as they are concerned.

Have you read Chekhov’s Gooseberries? If not, you should give it a try sometime. :)

nicrap said...

I think that dreams become illusions when the dreamer gives up.

What if somebody dreams of becoming the king of England? Would you still say that his dreadm is not an illusion but will become one only when he gives up?

nicrap said...

...btw, philosophically, cynicism is a very nuanced position both in its ancient [Julian, To the Uneducated Cynic] as well as modern form [Diderot, Rameau's Nephew] ... i am not sure if these people are capable of such nuances.

Jen Nifer said...

Thanks for clarifying, nicrap.

You are comparing apples to oranges. A lucid person's dreams compared to a delusional person's dreams (king of Engand).

Where do we draw the line between lucid and delusional?? Ugh...

nicrap said...

lol. If only we could, if life could fit into such neat categories...! :)