Mother’s Day

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Motherhood: the single most fulfilling and accomplished part of my life. I will make no apologies to feminists for how beholden I am to my children – Thomas & Kalianna – who have made me richer by far. There is no time in my life as precious as those days from early infancy spent with you two. Still today women find themselves, perhaps in some ways more so than before, in that impossible position where they must choose between a career, great love, financial independence and motherhood. Often the factical will not bend to compromise, and it is as dramatic as choosing either/or and not both/and! Hands down I have always, despite painful loss, unhesitatingly chosen these two treasures. As I have said elsewhere: my children are feisty, strong-willed, and spirited, but they are also distinctively amazing young adults who each in their own way have evolved into caring, passionately driven by fortitude to fulfill their aretic virtues. I am blessed. But there are others who have been wonderful, committed, loving and supportive mothers and things have nonetheless gone tragically wrong. Gibran’s words speak mightily to all parents: our children are not our children! We are beings-alongside our children and in early life care-givers but never are we, nor should we aspire to be, care-takers. Alas they must forge their way through life on their own ultimate initiative and all we can do is pray that they will not run afar from their own happiness (eudaimonia).

She Died Today

She died today but no one noticed

Her airy personality like a drone hovered

They came and took her body

Bagged her, and threw her onto her transporter

But she remained the same

 

She died today but no one noticed

Words like bricks bruised precious egos

And ravenous retorts dug her grave

But before her final departure waved a virtual adieu

 

She died today but no one noticed

Listen…those who despair…

A Little Privacy, Please?!

quote-all-conditioning-aims-at-that-making-people-like-their-inescapable-social-destiny-aldous-huxley-312195Some people like to tag every moment of their lives – eating, running, sleeping, goofing off, cooking, watching…something… or walking ….through the house…now it’s on the street…nope, catchup….we’re in the yard now….hahahahaha, gotcha, we’re in the forest…beach, now…hurry up, we’re already on the train!!! I’ll confess to being secretly curious over how they pull this off…who is ever there to suspend all those moments and capture them!!?? I always get this sense that God is omnipresent to them, snapping pics as they go as if to document a precious life that may appear as the Second Coming! 🙂 But not everyone is as public about their private lives. Here’s the testimonial of a young woman  who expresses her sense of discomfort over pictures shared on the internet (see here: http://www.gurl.com/2013/05/10/take-down-facebook-pictures-online/). In her own words:

The big thing was that I just felt that they didn’t show “me” the way I worked to convey myself to people. They were old pictures and I was a very different person and I didn’t like these lingering photos making me feel kind of uncomfortable. I just didn’t want them living online.

Now, this is a friend of mine I hadn’t talked to in a couple of years. These pictures were maybe like five or six years old. And yet, I wrote this whole long message about how I would really appreciate if she took down those pictures of me, even though they were untagged. It made me uncomfortable knowing that they existed and I didn’t have final “approval” over them, mainly because they were from so long ago.

My friend was totally sweet about it and took them down. However, it’s probably worth nothing that this is not the first time that I have done this. That’s what is making me worry that I have a tendency to overreact to these pictures that probably to other people don’t seem like a big deal at all. How much control can I have over other people when it comes to their pictures… that happen to have me in them?

It’s unnerving to me that she should be made to feel excessive, over-the-top, hyper-sensitive…take your pick. I have experienced this first hand myself, and truth be told I was not quite as lucky as this young woman. I recall the first time that my very polite request was met with hostility – I believe she said something like: you shouldn’t be in the damn picture if you don’t want people to see it! Interesting assumption! If you’re in a pic expect that it will be uploaded for the world to see. ASTONISHING! She did take it down; but since then I had become more cautious about people snapping pics with their iPhones. Again isn’t this getting things the wrong way around? Should one be mindful of how others invasively snap and post pictures of them; or should one be permitted the luxury to walk this earth without running the risk of being exposed?

Another point that I relate to is how one’s public persona is an outward expression of self. Seen in this light I think it not too outrageous that how and with whom one is depicted can be an issue. And this is not to say that a picture reveals sensitive information, or is somehow untoward, but that it simply does not speak to one’s sense of self, and thereby makes one feel invaded, violated, trampled upon, alienated. Is it too much to ask that a picture that is from days past be removed because it is now the source of embarrassment? Again, there is no outwardly obvious infraction. It is a personalized invested sense of self of which I speak. I can’t know what people have in their minds that are determined to remain silent and yet gleefully in control of your face-online; I can’t know if there are secret agendas, ego-plays, double and triple narratival scenes, regret, impotence, or even an inverted sense of care. All I know, all any of us ever know, is what is made plain to see. And isn’t that the point: where there is no engagement and clarity of spirit, we are all only the sum of our internet parts! 😦

*Though the Huxley quote may seem extreme in this context, it may prove to be hypo-sensitive to the underlying gravity of this scenario.*

The Fragility of Writing

writing-transformation-vulnerability-amyjalapenoOften it is presumed that a writer writes aloof and quite certain that she is invulnerable to evaluative pronouncements, however deeply embedded in her verse. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is in experiencing in oneself that an issue is an issue that it ever enters the playing field of investigative inquiry. Indeed, one might quite literally say that oblivion characterizes the state of mind for whom the unconcealed remains …well…concealed. Unearthing that which awaits retrieval presupposes engagement, and hence a state of being vulnerable to the elicit modes of being of which it is constitutive. Writers expose themselves to their readers. It is not just their arguments evaluated for soundness, their linguistic formulations that are dissected for their form and clarity, nor still assumptions and presuppositions that are identified. For though all of this may prove to be disheartening and potentially ego-deflating, it only really speaks to one’s cognitive comportment to one’s ideas; whereas, this experience of writing (and not all writing is created equal) rehearses the comportment of being in the world with others. So though I may offend, unnerve and plain right annoy my readers (none of which in itself is necessarily unwarranted or undesirable), I am never quite so fragile as when I expose myself in my writings. I guess I might characterize myself as self-reflective, confident, yet, fragile, and certainly prone to self-mockery and enjoy the hilarity that can often times be uncovered even in the most despairing experiences. This is what you – my Readers – may sometimes see in my posts.

Eternal Love

“He who does not know how to encircle a girl so that she loses sight of everything he does not want her to see, he who does not know how to poetize himself into a girl so that it is from her that everything proceeds as he wants it-he is and remains a bungler.” Kierkegaard

So where would Kierkegaard’s aesthetic lover find himself…even more interesting, where would one find Regine Olsen who spent her whole life loving Kierkegaard.

Source: Eternal Love

Hear my prayers

5d4b78351977de6c459efb11f1897d46Please Lord, she says, hear my prayers. Perhaps they sound like the ramblings of a derange girl, but to say so is not to know my soul. Must the spoils of life succumb to the possible? Is it not in the spirit of the Almighty that the impossible is made possible? Is it not in prayer that we seek to escape the trite, the given in the order of things? When I seek your counsel, I do not seek redemption; I do not seek acceptance; I seek the impossible. Faith, my faith, speaks to the Omnipotent with the power to narrate his Being and mine for all possible worlds. Faith is creative imagination taking root in life.

Get Outta Your Mundane

The calamity of life is boredom. Kierkegaard said so. His linguistic elocutions had better gait, of course, but his point was the same. As he too warns,  idleness is not boredom. Inertia is different. It is kinda like passive aggression, it never quite poses for itself. Newton’s Law of Inertia basically speaks to the “inability of a physical body to change from a state of rest or of uniform motion, unless it is acted upon by an external force”. But it was Dostoevsky that understood the existential crisis brought on by this state. Inertia figures in Dostoevsky’s work Krotkaja (“The Gentle One” or sometimes translated “The Meek One”) where the running theme tragically narrated concerns a context, indeed that human-made context, of human understanding which is a coolly, mechanistic world determinate of laws of causation. Here then, inertia is not properly understood as actual inactivity, but activity determinant of a causal network of relations which are taken to define human activity. Much in the same way that objects are subject to laws of nature that determine motion, humankind self-identifies – well not consciously, people!!!!! – as a well greased machine, well at least when performative capacity is optimal. The suggestion is that the laws of nature in the physical world operate in precisely the same way with regards to humanity. Though the threat of determinism is imminent, suppose that this could be surpassed, it leaves free will at the mercy of a modus operandi that seeks out those governing laws of human nature according to which, or for which, any judgement should properly comply. Of course, the point would be that agency is tied up with goals, and the means by which these are fulfilled reflect the modus operandi.

The lucky ones – or maybe not so damn lucky!!! – discover this inertia that has seeped in and corroded all that is human, and despairing look to break out of their mundane. Don’t be fooled, the mundane is actively ( 😉 ) at work in the mosthuman-inertia sprightly, successful, and assertive lives! Was not the lives of the Greeks – Aristotle (though I will argue in my upcoming book that there is room here to manoeuvre) and notably the Stoics – aimed at virtue-building in accordance with nature, whereby one could learn to address all of those contaminates of the proper ordering of human activity, and live an active, prosperous, fulfilling life? The natural forces do not bend under the human will, mind you, rather it is the human will that learns to adapt and bend to the governing Will of the universe. As a result one would not futilely suffer over the events of one’s life but rather learn to live in accordance with them. As Epictetus famously says: Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.

At what cost Dostoevsky? At what COST! The shrilling706x410q70ee9d94f4485e80f5f054a92f746730a5-470x260 sounds vibrate in my mind and arrest my feet. I stand motionless, I am inertia! A double paradox presents. Once there, there seems no where to go, and hence the overwhelming, indeed fossilizing, experienced as angst. Recovery finds its way in the 2nd paradoxical state as vexed resistance: resistance to change.

Zen is not an option. Serenity, αταραξία, is a self-annihilating state. But subliminal peace is too potent to resist and so back to the running wheel disguised as a road spanning over the vast and unyielding beauty of nature. Resist and condemn yourself. Yield and loose yourself. Troubled are the waters not for the Phelpses (Micheal Phelps was a US Olympic decorated swimmer) of the world, but the circus clown! 🙂