Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday sermon

(Photo of MaLj, by Lena Linn)

In this silent weekend when the SibMus forum (and the publishing site) has been down for a long period, other communication has filled the air, and occupied my mind. I received blog comments by email to a post that has now vanished, and other signs that individual taste and thinking are alive. Hardly surprising, the grandchildren preferred cookies and sandwiches to the pasta & antipasto smorgasbord I served at a birthday party.

After the blizzard, it is still cold, but sunny. I am listening to the music of the dishwasher. The cups and plates of the best set, that must not go in the machine, are already clean and dry. I am reading "Jude the Obscure" by Thomas Hardy, and wondering how much intellectual and artistic efforts are really "hopeless causes" (if I use the phrase correctly)?

11 comments:

Surly Terrier said...

Intellectual and artistic pursuits only become "hopeless causes" when we expect others to take as much interest in them as we, or to agree with us on the worth of our endeavors. In that case, I suppose it is not the pursuit that is the hopeless cause as much as the expectation of approbation.

Andrew Lowe-Watson said...

It may sound banal, but it has taken me 48 years to realise that I don't have to please anybody in the world but myself, unless I want to. All we should try and to is leave other people alone to do their own thing, as long as the doing of it doesn't interfere with anyone's else's ... and that is where it all goes wrong. Take religion, for example (you're welcome to it).

Surly Terrier said...

Andrew, it hasn't taken me quite that long (even though we're the same age), but certainly the way many of us are raised is a hindrance to that realization. My mother's whole philosophy seemed to be focused on "doing what you're supposed to do," even though she could not or would not identify a reliable authority for that idea. The great revelation for me was that it is, indeed, possible to live a moral, ethical, and happy life without putting on the blinders that might lead one to think that live must be lived in a certain way. Why spend one's life being miserable because others don't say, do, or believe things the same way you do?

Michael Morse said...

Comrades,

I understand your views, I hope. I'd just add that a society that squanders the resources of not just its artists but, far more, its art, is in very dire condition, perhaps even past its expiry date.

MWM

Surly Terrier said...

To be honest, Michael, I don't really think there is any such thing as the sort of monolithic or uniform "society" anymore, at least in the United States. Things are much too fragmented for that. The time is past when we should have wrung our hands and worried about "society's loss."

MaLj said...

Rod,

how is the text you quoted from A Country Doctor, about conformity and the opinions and decisions of society fitting (not?) in this discussion? (I started to read the book, and found it somehow interesting.) Are we living in a time "after" the existence of Society, or is the present just like the past - when the values and communities of Society were also mostly fragmented, and upheld only in small subgroups: villages, classes, religious groups, clubs, clans?

Andrew Lowe-Watson said...

Interesting. One of the "Iron Lady" Baroness Wicked Witch of the West Thatcher's most criticised quotes was "there is no such thing as society". In fact she was absolutely right, though she saw it as a positive statement and I do not. Or do I ?

Andrew Lowe-Watson said...

What a lovely picture!

Surly Terrier said...

Having to take the Milk Snatcher's comments out of context, I'm not sure what she means. What was the context?

Andrew Lowe-Watson said...

OK. It was in an interview to a magazine, I think, and the interviewer said something about society being responsible for care of the elderly or the sick, or such like. La Thatcher said ''you know, there really is no such thing as 'society'. There's only people and their families'', or words to that effect. appearing to signal the end of the 'Welfare state'. That phrase stuck in the public's mind, as did her regal ''we have become a grandmother'' . We don't like our leaders to get ideas above their station, so she had to go in the same way that King Charles 1 was executed by the will of Parliament. In her case she was was stabbed deftly in the back by one of her former yes-men , Geoffrey Howe. Positively Shakespearian, it was.

Surly Terrier said...

Hmmm...well, I think she was talking about a different kind of "society" there, so I'm not sure of the reference. Is that the same "society" as Michael's "society"?