Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yesterday I experienced moments of joy. Maybe I need to pay better attention because it was such a surprise, it made me wonder how often I actually experience joy. I was at the grocery store with my son and it felt so good to be able to truly pay attention to him and that moment. As I was paying for the groceries I noticed a father with his toddler daughter. He was taller than average and very well dressed and she barely made it to his knees. He  was busy looking for something on the top shelf while she was picking out cereal on the bottom shelf.

she fascinated me. She was so careful in picking up the box of cereal and holding up to her daddy for approval. Then she would turn around and put it back on the shelf. I watched the way she walked with the box so carefully and the way she turned and called his name. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.I couldn't understand why my reaction was so strong to this little girl but now I think that just by being a witness to a precious child I got a glimpse of God's beauty. I wonder, is it possible to be present for these moments of beauty to the full extent? Is it possible to completely realize the goodness of another person and simultaneously feel gratitude that such beauty exist? the closest example I can come up with would be an encounter with God in my personal life. As wonder-ful as a private experience is, I think it might be even better to experience God's beauty in others. It has a renewing effect on my soul.

91 comments:

Duckys here said...

You have to be so very still. And your body may need to be still, also.

nicrap said...

"Among you i became so perfectly rational, learned so thoroughly to distinguish myself from what surrounds me that i am now isolated in the beautiful world, cast out of the garden of nature, where i grew and bloomed, and am drying up under the midday sun."

nicrap said...

I once more started to give the book and the author, but O! that's so boring. ;)

Thersites said...

O man is a god when he dreams, a beggar when he thinks, and when enthusiam is gone, he stands like a wayward son whom the father has driven out of the house and regards the meager pennies that pity gave him for the journey.

:P

nicrap said...

lol. Spoilsport. :)

Thersites said...

Blame Google.. although I did have an inkling before I did, rave as you once did about reading "Hyperion".

Thersites said...

...and if I could have found a clip of Allan Sherman's "Joe Friday" routine about "jumping for Joy"... I would have...

...not to leave our blog hostess' post unresponded to. ;)

Sorry, Jen. :)

Jen Nifer said...

Yes, Duck. With my kids, and like this moment in the market, I wonder, are we FULLY taking in the goodness in our lives? What does "fully" mean? I don't know. I just know that we as a people tend to love mulling over the bad things and it seems like we are good at fully absorbing them.
I don't know how else to explain it, but beautiful, simple moments sometimes overwhelm me. I've only got one friend who seems to understand this....

Jen Nifer said...

I think one day I will be one of those "simple" old ladies who wanders around smiling, and singing, the ones that people feel sorry for.
Maybe they are fully soaking in the beauty...

Jen Nifer said...

once more started to give the book and the author, but O! that's so boring. ;)

--------

tit, tit, tit....

;-)

you ARE persistent! lol (I think Emerson had a different type in mind...)

nicrap said...

heh. I raved but not so much about reading it as about getting my own copy of it. :) Speaking of which, i just ordered my own copy of Rameau's Nephew. Looking forward to it. :)

Jen Nifer said...

..not to leave our blog hostess' post unresponded to. ;)

Sorry, Jen. :)

------

It's okay, FJ. I would like to know, what gives you joy? (Have I asked you that before?)

nicrap said...
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nicrap said...

you ARE persistent! lol (I think Emerson had a different type in mind...

Is consistent the same as persistent? You tell me. ;)

nicrap said...

I think one day I will be one of those "simple" old ladies who wanders around smiling, and singing, the ones that people feel sorry for.

Reminds me of a former blogger friend of ours, Sue Hanes. I always admired her somehow. Wonder how she is...

Jen Nifer said...

I will add...two nights ago I saw a story on the local news about a 25 yr old woman who killed her fiancee's 2 year old daughter. It was an act of evil.

i cried so hard that I had to stop thinking about it. I couldn't find any comfort. It has bothered me so much, that I'm going to choose to not dwell on it, because it leads nowhere, like asking, "why, God?"

I'm not filled with hatred for the woman. I don't know what I feel towards her. I am filled with love for the little girl. She deserved to be protected.

Things like this either push me forward or a few steps back, depending on your perspective.

Honestly, this is more important than career choices, relationships, money...this is the deepest root of everything. we worry about what's up top, what people can see, but we are rotting at the roots.

unfortunately....i flatten out in the face of these thoughts. i just want to throw all this shit to the wind.

Jen Nifer said...

I don't know how she is. I used to be mean to her. I was such an asshole.

Jen Nifer said...

and look, how I'm wallowing in the "bad". :p

nicrap said...

You are a good person, jen. Never stop doing good! :)

"Pavel Konstantinovitch," he pleaded, "don't go to sleep or be lulled into complacency! While you're still young, strong and healthy, never stop doing good! happiness doesn't exist, we don't need any such thing. If life has any meaning or purpose, you won't find it in happiness, but in something more rational, in something greater. Doing good!"

-FJ said...

what gives you joy?

Insight. Every time I catch a glimpse of it.

My own and in others.

nicrap said...

Very unsatisfactory, right? Well, not my fault. ;)

"Afterwards all three of them sat in armchairs in different parts of the room and said nothing. Ivan Ivanych's story satisfied neither Burkin nor Alyokhin. It was boring listening to that story about some poor devil of a clerk who ate gooseberries, while those generals and ladies, who seem to have come to life in the gathering gloom, peered out of their gilt frames."

-FJ said...

:P

-FJ said...

Sorry, nicrap, but I've lost my frame of reference v. Rameau's Nephew... is your new compulsion from one of our discussions of Chekov's "The Lady With the Little Dog" or perhaps Tchykovsky's opera, "Eugene Onegin"?

The title is familiar...

-FJ said...

...but the sturgeon was off.

-FJ said...

Okay ...just call me a Muselmann, for I no longer plant, nor do I harvest, gooseberries.

But please, don't call this poor zek a cynic, for I've passed through the "zero-point" of once owning a will of my own. :(

nicrap said...

lol. There is no frame of reference per se. I had been meaning to buy one for a long time. I did yesterday. It's a fascinating text, have you read it?

But please, don't call this poor zek a cynic, for I've passed through the "zero-point" of once owning a will of my own.

If i have understood your meaning correctly, a rather accurate descritpion of a cynic.

Jen Nifer said...

Amen to that.

Thersites said...

Ah, but the cynic bends the rules in support of the established regime... the zek is its' victim. So the worst you could accuse me of, is kynicism... its more honest, but 'powerless' outlaw twin. :p

Thersites said...

In other words, Chris Christie is a "cynic" when he closes lanes on the GW Bridge to punish his political opponents, but those stuck on the bridge should not be called "cynics" if they now complain about corrupt Governor's. "Kynics" is the better term. ;p

nicrap said...

The son of Zeus and powerless? You got to be kidding. ;)

Thersites said...

I comport with and support Alexander's laws and conventions, unlike Diogenes.

Now would you please rub my belly, and make my hunger disappear? Or at least remove your shadow from between my own corporeal being, and that of my Father, Zeus Tallaios!

Thersites said...

Thersites, present at Troy, serves at his master's pleasure.

"No word is there so fraught with fear to speak,

Nor sorrow, nor calamity god-sent,

But mortal man might bear the weight thereof."


My head is yours for the taking, dread Achilles!

Thersites said...

Diogenes HAS a will. Poor Thersites, has none.

nicrap said...

lol. Why i said, "A rather accurate descritption of a cynic."

...don't call this poor zek a cynic

:)

Thersites said...

...I suspect that Thersites and Archilochus of Paros would have had much in common... although Archilochus would "pine" for the "good old days", and Thersites revel in their passing!

Thersites said...

..which would you call the "cynic"?

Thersites said...

:P

Thersites said...

I'm not a Panda, either! ;)

Thersites said...

Thersites does not suffer from true love ways.

nicrap said...

I don't know enough about Archilochus except that he was a lyric poet. [I can google, of course; but i avoid googling as much as possible these days.] As to Thersites ... yes, i will call him a cynic: The true king, the "hidden king" who, if he appears to be a "buffoon", a "rascal", it is because of the world ... of what it has become. The world will have to change if Thersites is to appear is all his glory.

Thersites said...

Thersites is not a hypocrite, either... he serves w/o a volition of his own.

Thersites said...

...as for Archilochus... how soon we forget. :(

Thersites said...

"Nothing can be surprising any more or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight, and . . . fear has come upon mankind. After this, men can believe anything, expect anything. Don't any of you be surprised in future if land beasts change places with dolphins and go to live in their salty pastures, and get to like the sounding waves of the sea more than the land, while the dolphins prefer the mountains."

--Archilochus of Paros

Thersites said...

Kick Thersites and he will do your bidding. He is a dog, and not a cat.

nicrap said...

Vivat Mascarillus, fourbum imperator. :)

Thersites said...

Ah, the link! Now I remember! Thanks!

Thersites said...
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Thersites said...

Now go put your own eyes out, Oedipus! ;P

nicrap said...
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Thersites said...

...and I am but a poor misguided Gentile. The King of MisRule! :)

Thersites said...

:P

nicrap said...

And you forgot as well. :)

Thersites said...

...and I was wrong. There is a third option...

cut-off your own balls, but keep your own thoughts.

Thersites said...

...because the chances of the fourth option, cutting off your father's balls, are much less likely to occur.

nicrap said...

Ah, that was a good discussion. I like the look of that blog. :)

Thersites said...

I like the look of that blog...

Now I'll HAVE to change it! ;P

...cuz if you kill the father...

The Father can efficiently prohibit desire only because he is dead, and, I would add, because he himself doesn't know it - namely, that he is dead. Such is the myth that Freud proposes to the modern man as the man for whom God is dead - namely, who believes that he knows that God is dead.

Why does Freud elaborate this paradox? In order to explain how, in the case of father's death, desire will be more threatening and, consequently, the interdiction more necessary and more harsh. After God is dead, nothing is anymore permitted.

Thersites said...

Is it time for Robespierre to enact his revolutionary "terror", yet?

...or should he dream up something entirely new first and avoid trying to institutionalize an "older" dream?

Thersites said...

Question for planters of "Gooseberries"...

"God forgive me (Ivan Ivanich), a wicked sinner," he murmured, as he drew the clothes over his head.

Why, do you suppose, he said this?

Thersites said...

Cynicism?

nicrap said...

I don't know, fj. I think i understand what you are trying to say. And yet, if you look at Thersites or Rameau's nephew [both cynics, IMHO], the thing that will strike you is that they are such a strange mixture of "loftiness, beseness, good sense, and unreason," while offering at the same time a very serious critique of the society in general, not just by their words but by their very existence and the manner in which they live.

If virtue had led the way to fortune, I would either have been virtuous or pretended to be so like others; I was expected to play the fool, and a fool I turned myself into. [Rameau's Nephew.]

nicrap said...

p.s. I had not yet seen your last two comments when i posted the above. I was responding to the comments before that. :)

nicrap said...

Cynicism?

No. But precisely an inversion of the ancient cynic ideas and values ... why one can still smell a stench.

A smell of burning tobacco came from his pipe which lay on the table, and Bourkin could not sleep for a long time and was worried because he could not make out where the unpleasant smell came from.

nicrap said...

Btw, the translation is very bad. You should try the Penguin edition ... very good translation by Ronald Wilks.

nicrap said...

Perhaps you wuld like to compare:

Ivan Ivanych undressed without a word and got into bed. Then he muttered, "Lord have mercy on us sinners!" and pulled the blankets over his head. His pipe which was lying on a table, smelt strongly of stale tobacco and Burkin was so puzzled as to where the terrible smell was coming from that it was a long time before he fell asleep.

All night long the train beat against the windows.

Thersites said...

I'm sure that there is quite a deal of cynicism in Thersites that I'm trying not to admit to, but I still believe that his "position" immunizes him quite a bit from the charge, as he's seldom in a position to "do" anything other than what he does. He doesn't "like it", he doesn't "believe" in it, and he doesn't "obey" just to benefit himself, as all the other what I would term "cynical" "duty/ honour-bound" members of the Greek encampment do.

And yes, the "values" which lead to a cynical reaction are different today than they were then, hence the stench.

As for Ivan, I suspect that despite not having dreams and aspirations of "gooseberry bushes" like his brother achieved in the end, he's at least as happy... w/o having lived in misery 3/4 of his life.

I think that the Ivan's idea fits' with more closely with Zizek's concept of "utopia", as Ivan seems to live it, whilst other merely dream...

nicrap said...

Well, i don't know how far that is true of Thersites. After all, he does stand up to Agamemnon and says "what everyone else is thinking." It's the inhenerent contradicion in his position that is so immensely fascinating. This is what Muller says of him:

Then asked the pupils [of Hoemr]: What is it with this Thersites,
Master? You give him the right words then with your own
Words you put him in the wrong...

nicrap said...

As to Ivan, i concur. In his own words:

"That night i realised that i too was happy and contented," Ivan Ivanych went on, getting to his feet. "I too had lectured people over dinner - or out hunting - on how to live, on what to believe, on how to handle the common people...."

And then: "...Oh if only i were young again!"

Thersites said...

on gooseberries.

And again, I think that this "paradox" of Thersites is "true" no matter how you define your ideology... there will always be a some people (or a "class" of people) who become "trapped" in your dream, and who want nothing to do with it... for it may not "benefit" their "strengths".

Thersites said...

...hence Ivan's bedtime admonition to himself in forcefully inflicting "his" own dream upon his companions... to "not rest and do good" instead of retreating into the belly of the whale... in anticipation of a new world for "being-in".

Thersites said...

Ivan, in many ways, exemplifies Dasein...

nicrap said...
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nicrap said...

But the "stench" is real, my friend. And then, there is also the question of one's relation with oneself and with truth. Nevertheless, a nice discussion. Thanks! Time i should turn in. nyt! :)

Thersites said...

Nite!

Thersites said...

ps - The Mrs. and I saw "Crimes of the Heart" last night at the Everyman Theatre in Baltimore. It would have been unremarkable if not for the fact that the play was originally based upon Chekhov's "The Three Sisters".

Thersites said...

Ultimately, perhaps this conversation can be reduced to a distinction between cynicism and irony(???)... one being an "official/noble lie" stated as truth (and known it known by the teller to be a lie) and the other is a truth stated in contravention to the "official/noble lie".(?)

nicrap said...

...Which being which? Is cynicism the former or the latter?

-FJ said...

Joy...

The experience of climbing into the moment and fusing with it (ala Dasein)... stopping time.

-FJ said...

cynicism the former or the latter

...I was musing the former.

-FJ said...

Ecstasy...protracted joy.

nicrap said...

The way i see it, the question is this: What can the mode of life be such that it practices truth telling? It is this correlation between mode of life and truth that is at the heart of Cynicism. The cynic is someone who, in his very acts, his body, the way he dresses, and the way he conducts himself and lives, makes truth visible. He is the martyr, the witness of the truth: marturon tes aletheias.

nicrap said...

See what Gregory of Nazinzus says of a certain Maximus, a Chritian of Egyptian origin: After praising him publicly as a philosophical hero, a true cynic he says, "I liken you to a dog (the comparison with the dog obviously refers to that part of true Cynicism for which Gregory praises Maximus) not because you are impudent, but because of your frankness (parrhesia); not because you are greedy, but because you live openly; not because you bark, but because you mount guard over souls for their salvation." A bit further on he adds: "You are the best and most perfect philosopher, the martyr, the witness of the truth."

nicrap said...

p.s. What we have here is of course that famous cynic theme of the true life [a life that is capable of accessing the truth, of telling the truth] as an other life [.] By adopting the most traditional, conventionally accepted and general principles of current philosophy, by making the philosopher’s very existence their point of application, site of manifestation, and form of trutht elling, the Cynic life puts the true currency with its true value into circulation. The Cynic game shows that this life, which truly applies the principles of the true life, is other than the life led by men in general and by phil- osophers in particular.

Moreover, for the cynic, this idea of an other life is a kind of preparation that must ultimately lead to the change of the world. An other life for an other world [un autre monde.]

Thersites said...

Socratic irony...
Diogenes cynicism...
stoics...
hedonist...
epicureans...

all practiced a differently perceived "aspect" of truth...

Thersites said...

some believed best suited for "this" world, some for "another".

Thersites said...

:P

Stanley Kowalski said...

Anyone around here got a bottle opener?

Stanley Kowalski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Titan said...

Beat it, homophobe! :P

nicrap said...

You sure you need a bottle-opener? ;)

Jen Nifer said...

Y'all stop being nasty or I'll send you home! :p

-FJ said...

btw - I've completely lost the bubble on cynicism, now...