Words

Life

I wasn’t going to, but…

by Andrea Elizabeth

Apathy is the best defense against emotional pain. I have sworn off baseball since the Rangers’ two tries at the World Series a few years ago. The second one being lost on the last pitch sealed it. I didn’t pay attention to baseball at all this year until it looked like Kansas City would beat the ones who routed the Rangers on their first bid. Revenge! I let myself hope in the last few innings, but I couldn’t watch. I barely looked up at the score every 5 minutes or so to see if it would happen. Revenge is the only thing that can make you feel better than apathy does.

Then I learned about Bumgarner, San Francisco’s pitcher. 25 years old, only 2 days rest, was responsible for their other 3 wins, and he didn’t look tired. I started to let myself get impressed with him. He didn’t seem as evil as the Fear the Beard pitchers and players from their humiliation of the Rangers. He wasn’t trying to intimidate. He was relaxed and fast with no extra showiness.

Still, I hoped. Not enough to pray, however. I didn’t want to drag God into it. Elder Paisios said don’t ask God for a miracle unless it’s really important. Sports aren’t quite as important as Americans think they are. I saw lots of people praying in the stands and in the dugout. I hoped they were praying enough to get the job done, however.

And then, a miracle. One out left in the game, and the outfielder misses, and then misses again, and then misses again. The Royal kept running all the way to third. God does care! It was obviously a divine opportunity. But they didn’t believe enough. When the next guy got out, I didn’t think God was a tease. I thought, what if that guy had tried for home while he had the chance? Would people have been so mad if he’d gotten out trying and ended the game? I think he/or the base coaches\ were given a miracle but weren’t committed to synergistically doing their part. It’s spoiled to think you’ll get another one just handed to you with Bumgarner pitching.

And then he spoke. With a southern accent. It was sweeter than revenge or apathy, and I forgave him/them.

Crops Rotated

by Andrea Elizabeth

The last part of that section is very pessimistic! Down on marriage, friendship, and social position. This is written by A, the aesthete, so grains of salt must accompany, but still there rings some truth. Between the lines I hear someone conscious of being trapped. If one views marriage, for example, as being forever chained to someone else’s moods and persnicketyness, then that should be avoided. When people say marriage is becoming one, I don’t think it should be one or the other dominant personality. Oneness is a goal reached by two perfect people. One’s prevailing selfishness drags them both down into a false, unequally yoked unity. All that achieves is disconnecting one from the One.

Selfie

by Andrea Elizabeth

I would rather have watched Selfie last night than the Halloween decoration show that pre-empted it. The World Series played background instead. Besides being witty and well-acted, I am watching Selfie to see narcissism criticized, and to see what their alternative is. So far it’s reverse narcissism where you get caught up in other people’s dysfunction instead of just your own. The receptionist is aware of everyone else’s life, but when the last episode focused on her, I was a little disappointed to find in her disillusioned state, she ends up enjoying dancing by herself. And she has an expensive wig collection.

The Henry Higgins character is a stoicly selfless, but his ex-girlfriend reveals that he has trouble emotionally connecting to people.

Eliza herself is also emotionally detached from people. The difference is that she wants statistical affirmation from the number of responses, positive or negative, on social media.

While Eliza is making some strides towards acknowledging people as more than response units to her attractiveness, Henry is learning to sympathize with why she is that way and is more and more affected by her attractiveness, unfortunately. His stoicism is crumbling.

So it seems that their answer to narcissism is to take turns being narcissistic. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

In one scene Eliza is standing over a trash can eating her lunch, and after being moved by why she does that, he goes and stands with her. I find that a caving into her dysfunction. I would rather they took baby steps to move her towards sitting at a table. It was nice he came over to her, but maybe he could have pulled up a chair to the trashcan? I think it is too soon to start a romance under such dysfunction so I hope they slow down their movement in that direction. See Girl Interrupted for why.

preliminary reflection on A Rotation of Crops

by Andrea Elizabeth

the next section in Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard.

Boredom is the root of all evil, he says. And there is a certain logic to thinking God made Adam because he was bored, Eve because Adam was bored, and then they sinned because they were both bored.

He says boredom is not, contrary to opinion, due to idleness, as business can also be boring. I guess people aren’t as bothered by it then.

He says the answer to boredom is the art of forgetting and recollecting simultaneously. To me this means detachment, which is not hope, which he says is a dubious gift. Detachment says I can do either. That I have freedom.

But what about the Alamo? What would happen if we forgot it? Perhaps remembering without forgetting motivates us to war. Forgetting turns us into pacifists? Doing both makes us consider more wisely and act out of freedom rather than compulsion? We are ambivalent, which reminds me of a joke:

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I’m a schizophrenic

And so am I.

what else is there?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Kierkegaard’s admiration of Scribe, who is a real playwright after all, is so cute. I’m not sure if he believes in this “in love” business. His description of it sounds like deluded, obsessive infatuation. On the woman’s part it is enabled by illusion, on the man’s by mystique. The woman can be easily drawn in by replicating her illusions, and the man upholds this illusion by not revealing his true nature.

When this is successful in the play, Kierkegaard’s conclusion is that since none of it is based on reality, that they are left with nothing, even though the right people got together. I see it more as providence protecting people from themselves. He works with what he has. Therefore it is good that people get together, even if for the wrong reasons. But what about when and if they find out? Should they despair? There must be a higher reality that can be sought after within the framework.

On the occasion of my daughter’s 20th birthday

by Andrea Elizabeth

My other daughter and I took her to see Guardians of the Galaxy which they had seen before but I hadn’t. I spent most of the time being caught up in the emotional story, a bit put off by most the visuals, very impressed with the honesty in the dialogue, and comparing how the new generation relates to storytelling vs. mine.

I already discussed most of it with her, so anything I say now seems a bit reworn. Reworn is probably what they tried pretty hard to create. I’ve heard Star Wars was the first movie to make spaceships look used. The space scenes were hypersaturated almost like those fantasy paintings of big red moons and shiny lakes with rainbows and unicorns. But Groot was a very pleasant respite from all the hyperness. In many ways. He was a nod to Treebeard and the sacred tree in Avatar. Well done. They kind of messed that up in the credits, but you have to love this generation anyway.

That’s all.

Part way through “The First Love”

by Andrea Elizabeth

A Comedy in One Act by Scribe in Either/Or by Søren Kierkegaard. What a unique writer he is. Dostoevsky is the closest to him, in my opinion. He has freedom to not connect dots in the usual way which is to make everything come full circle with a tidy bow. But it’s not the modern alternative of meaningless chaos either. And it’s not contradiction for contradiction sake like abstract art can also be. It’s not conflict, but freedom. Freedom not to do the expected.

How funny that you can’t have “an occasion in general”. I wonder if reality is a synonym for his occasion. And the occasion can be thought to symbolize something like one’s one true love, but then later this can be denied. So did that make the first impression wrong? I think he is being apophatic. The lover may convince himself that he never loved, he may forget that he ever loved, he may indeed love the next so much more that the first no longer compares, but none of this denies the first love. But if it is denied and/or not committed to marriage, then it is set free, so then freedom becomes the first love. Free to love or not, and to remember and thus make it eternal.

Then the story about his review of The First Love follows the same pattern of loving the play because he was in love and then having the love acted on then not acted on and later denied and then remembered by constant exposure to the symbolic play and then not finishing the review and then only having it published against his will because he spilt ink on someone else’s writings and so owed it to him or else he would have been liable for someone else’s life’s work. So he was pretty much forced into consummating his writing at the pain of life or death. Perhaps his first love would have worked out if she had had no other alternative. Did Regina have too much support so that she didn’t need him enough? She wasn’t devastated enough by his withdrawal?

But she was suicidal. Why did this not matter enough? There is a theme mentioned a couple of times so far in this book about the inner pain of the heart needing to find its echo in one’s support system. Kierkegaard suffered from abiding melancholy. Maybe he had to recreate that in Regina, or maybe they already shared it. To be happily married would not have provided a suitable echo for his inner disposition. A failed engagement did. And his disposition was to find the echo in words and not in relationship.

“The Unhappiest One”

by Andrea Elizabeth

I suppose, is to lighten the mood. Margarete at the end of “Silouettes” is so poignant in her sweet sorrow. At least she has recollection, if not Elvira’s hope. The unhappiest one talks himself out of everything. He is not engaged in the present, the future, or the past. But neither is he apathetic. He keeps missing the boat.

Next in Either/Or,  “A Comedy in One Act”. Yay. Goodbye, tragedy.

Silouettes

by Andrea Elizabeth

In the “Silhouettes” chapter of Either/Or Kierkegaard searches out women’s sorrow like a knight errant. The sorrow most manifested in a scorned woman. In my usual ambivalence, I both wonder if it’s his business and find it priestly. But if a woman has been scorned and is not able to reattach to someone else, who else can help her? Other women may sympathize, but we need someone of the same gender as the offender to understand in their stead.

What if Kierkegaard interviewed Regina after he broke off his engagement to her and understood her better than the others around her, even his replacement? He would probably call it ironic.

In the continuous cycle of thoughts – I’m up to the end of Elvira’s section on page 204 – I like the more positive ones. The negative ones are self-defensive. The positive ones are vulnerable love. But should one keep onesself vulnerable to an untrustworthy person? The Catholics would say yes, but will allow for annulments. Supposedly this is still more conservative than the Orthodox because I guess the offender couldn’t ever be off the hook. Just the faithful victim?

That places unfaithfulness as the unforgivable sin. The unfaithful one would not be granted a second – first real – marriage in the church and would thus be denied communion if he sought it elsewhere. There is no repentance for that because it would require another divorce. The Orthodox don’t think permanent lines in the sand can be drawn like that. People can grow a conscience and make better decisions with maturity.

I would rather Elvira forgive Giovanni and pray for his salvation. Then she can be at peace.

by Andrea Elizabeth

“There is nothing worse than a monk who does not consistently do his spiritual tasks. The people in the world love present life, and by partaking in its pleasures, they deceive themselves and enjoy it. The ones who deny worldly life and its pleasures for the sake of spiritual life, experience true joy and divine pleasures which cannot be compared to anything.

However, those monks, who left the world for the sake of spiritual life – for which they give their monastic vows – and neglect their spiritual tasks, are the most miserable people. For they do not enjoy any worldly pleasures, and even if they desire them, it hurts their consciousness as they go against their promises. If by any chance, their disposition is inclined towards worldly pleasures and finally they indulge in them, they cannot even feel the fake happiness like the rest of the people, as their conscience does not permit them to do so. Since they d not do their spiritual work, they cannot experience spiritual satisfaction either. As a result, they live a terrible life, unable to feel either the joy of worldly pleasures like the people of the world, or experience spiritual fulfillment like the spiritual monks.” Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, pg. 140.

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