Monday, September 28, 2009

Overwhelming Opportunity 9/28/09

If happiness is to be found anywhere surely it will be in pursuing one's highest goals and grandest ideas.

DB - The Vagabond
Come right in, sit right down.
Two of the biggest and nastiest enemies of happiness are the mundane and the inane. I knew a woman who kept a note pad on her desk and on the top of every page was the title "Dumb things I gotta do." Beethoven wrote a series of pieces called "Bagatelles." A bagatelle is defined as "something of little value or importance; a trifle." I once heard one of my colleagues announce "Someone has strewn my path with bagatelles. And here's one of them." Then he read a commercial.

You gotta do the commercials if you want to keep the radio station on the air. You gotta do the dishes and the laundry, you gotta clean the house, you gotta feed the cat, you gotta walk the dog, you gotta change the baby. The difficulty comes when things like those become all and only what life is about. We can get so involved in the chores of daily life that we forget what an extraordinary creature the human being really is.

We are capable of high goals and grand ideas. The obligation, the tax we owe ourselves, is in pursuing them and making them realities. The meeting of those obligations, the fulfilling of ourselves, is where we really live. The Autumn Question
is "If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be and why?" (See below.) That's an important thing to think about.

At this point in my life writing is the most important thing to me. It has something to do with goals and ideas. I try to make writing my real life and let the mundane, the "dumb things I gotta do" be an interruption in my main activity and not the other way around. So I start the day by writing or thinking about what I'm going to write that day.

Inanity, on the other hand, is a plunge beneath the mundane. One step below the inane is madness. It is a letting go by the mind of any substantial thinking. The answer to the why of an inane remark is "Oh, I don't know, No reason." We are all responsible for inanities on rare occasions, but some people seem to live there. And when inanity becomes vitalized by associations and a pinch of false righteousness you have your classic lynch mob; opinions lose their logic and actions their cause. The results can only be pandemonium and dystopia, a total lack of great goals and grand ideas, a complete loss of happiness.

The answer is to be vigorously opposed to any inanity, to refuse to allow ourselves to be dumbed down by anyone, anything or any ideology not matter how attractive it may seem, to watch our thinking and make sure every statement or activity, our own or another's, has truth and substance to it.

There. Now pardon me I have to do the dishes.



Smile, you're on candid blogger.



This is not a contest.

If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be and why?

You have all Fall to answer if you wish,

Reply here or at
1 reply so far

Thank you



Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Live for now, dream for tomorrow.

Beth said...

The mundane doesn't bother me. The day-to-day duties of life can keep us grounded, and make the fun stuff more precious. Like you, the inane is more bothersome and much less tolerable. Hugs, Beth

Gerry said...

I think that was the story of my life to escape activities that required me to dumb down. If I got trapped in the mundane as used to happen in school all the time then I would try figure out how to plow beneath the surface somehow In college it was with reactions that reflected what I really thought. I decided that giving the teachers what they wanted was going to further trap me into a morass of the mundane that I could not fight nearly so well from having accepted too much of it without a fight. I was shocked where my rebellion took me, what people thought it meant, a trip into the insane side of life the inane had become so much what life was supposed to be about, the complete truth now the insane, the not talked about, the dangerous reality it was not 'safe' or profitable to acknowledge. I could not believe how much reality had been lost to shadows forcing secrets and lies so the conformist would be safe. I have lived ever since where the pursuit of the most complete reality would take me, where the most truth was allowed and it was not really surprising that it was among the have nots because truth is so often thrown aside in pursuit of wealth and fame at any cost. A place that is too comfortable, feels too luxurious is all too soon I suspect going to turn into a prison, the kind I can least abide, so I have learned to love the simple life, needs and wants held to a minimum since belongings can imprison one so easily, too. Gerry

Anne said...

Candid blogger........OK, I'm smiling! Mundane? I can do mundane. It's on this side of normal. Anne

DB said...

Gerry, this is a very eloquent essay about so many things that have been and are a part of my own life. Back in the 50's when I first recognized myself as being what was called a nonconformist, it was neat, cool, until I was challenged by the mundane. (The inane simply do not notice eccentricities.) I had to explain and justify myself. I had to understand and articulate to an ignorant world why I believed and behaved in the way I did. I became what was known as a Beatnik. My sister once said I was probably one of the first. I didn't put any labels on myself, except that the words of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlingetti and others were blowing Spring breezes through my brain.

All my life I've suffered from mental, emotional and philosophical claustrophobia. I cannot live in the prison of what society calls "right" a push pin, post it society that spends no time on ethical issues.

I see the insanity around me and it depresses me because they are fellow human beings who have given up the right to think for themselves and they walk among us. Also scary is that people get an education and still don't learn or maintain the process of thinking. Is there such a thing as educated stupidity? I'm afraid there is.

I agree with you about the simple life. I would like to go back to work if I could , and rearrange a few things, but the accent is on "few." I know what I would do if I suddenly became wealthy, but mansion and yacht are not in that equation.

Gerry, thank you for this essay in my journal, It touches me right where I live.