I sometimes find that depression sneaks up on me. I have lots of strategies for working around it (diet, exercise, pills, positive psychology etc) but sometimes it wins. Today was one of those days.
I caught myself being grumpy when reaching for my ‘after-dinner’ orange that I have everyday that we have oranges in the house. I looked at the orange and thought how nice it looked. I remembered living in a remote community in the Northern Territory of Australia and we had no access to fresh fruit at the time. That was when I realised that oranges are my favourite fruit. We had to order food about six weeks in advance and the grocery order came by barge from Northern Queensland (quite a distance away).
I held the orange in my hand, smelled it, felt the texture and felt very grateful for it. I then proceeded to eat it while savouring the taste! It didn’t cure my depression but it was a circuit breaker letting some light in!
I was cooking dinner this evening – Tuna Mornay – an old favourite. Now, over time I have been careful about particular food items and sensitivities. The mornay starts with cooking the onion in butter. Next is to add flour to make a roux (butter and flour mixed together to make a paste). I used gluten-free flour. All good so far.
Next item to add was the milk – soy milk of course. Then I added the tuna, cheese, spices, corn and peas.
An then I laughed at myself. Why did I bother with the gluten-free flour and the soy milk when I had already included a whole onion?
Then I got philosophical. We take so much care in looking after very specific aspects of our lives while we cannot see the bit that really needs attention (the equivalent of the onion) in our lives.
I guess this is how most of us manage day-to-day life. We are not always attentive to the bigger picture – especially if our thoughts are busy with a million distractions. We keep hearing about the importance of being mindful of the present moment but it often alludes me still.
C’mon. Who are you kidding? “Young” is a lexical error, desperate denial, and a sign of ageism.
Say these two lovers are eighty-two.
They may have many qualities of youth
they may be elastic, enthusiastic
they may be childlike, childish, curious, wildish
trusty, busty, lusty, gusty
brainy, zany, frantic, romantic
yearning, burning, learning, earning
they may be healthy and flexible and fit
they may be monarchs of the internet
they may be smart, they may be fun
they may leave you for dead when they go for a run
bouncy, flouncy, insecure
they may have charisma, they may have allure
they may be beautiful beyond all norms
gorgeous and cuddly and bubbly with dreams
they may be cute
but here’s the truth
one thing they do not have
it’s gone, it’s done, it’s been replaced
and that is youth.
Billboard in Seoul that is intended (I presume) to combat ageism……
I loved the Story of the Week so thought I would share it with you. The author is unknown.
One day Arnav and his friend Bhima were having a friendly chat while walking just outside the marketplace in Dhubri. A beggar asked for some help from Arnav, who told him to ask him tomorrow. The beggar went away. Looking around Bhima saw a big drum at a stall just inside the market took the big drum and started walking through the market beating the drum furiously. Arnav was surprised, ran after his friend and asked why he was doing this.
Bhima said, “I want to declare that our revered Arnav has won the battle against time! You told that beggar to come tomorrow. How do you know that you will be there tomorrow? How do you know that beggar would still be alive tomorrow? Even if, you both are alive, you might not be in a position to give anything. Or, the beggar might not even need anything tomorrow. How did you know that you could both even meet tomorrow? You are the first person in this world that has overcome time. I want to tell people of Dhubri about this.”
Arnav got the message from Bhima, recalling that actions can only occur in the present moment. Arnav called that beggar right away and gave him the necessary help.
While recently reading Women in Love by DH Lawrence I was reminded of a quote by French philosopher Michel de Montaigne:
“I am not prepared to bash my brains for anything, not even for learning’s sake however precious it may be. From books all I seek is to give myself pleasure by an honourable pastime… If I come across difficult passages in my reading I never bite my nails over them: after making a charge or two I let them be… If one book wearies me I take up another.”
But I had a problem as a literary essay by Norman Loftis claims it to be a masterpiece and DH Lawrence’s best book. I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover and had no such difficulty with it so it must be me, right?
Anyway, I was determined to make it to the end and I also re-read the essay to see if it made more sense and perhaps I could understand what he was getting at – the need for men and women to find a new way of loving and living that was more equal and freer. It was written over 100 years ago at a time when women were seeking emancipation and turning away from subservience.
Anyway, I found it to be pretty tough going. Have you read it and, if so, what did you think of it?
This time last week we arrived in Perth after our week’s holiday in Darwin. We had a really good and relaxing time. Great to see my son and grandsons as well. The weather was fabulous – around 30-35 degrees. It was so good to be warm! Below are some photos from Darwin Museum and Art Gallery, The Botanic Gardens and Darwin Wharf. We also went to Bachelor (about 105km south of Darwin). In the 1950’s it was the town-site for mine workers at the nearby uranium mine called Rum Jungle.
The crocodile in the above photo was called Sweetheart!
We are back home again now and being optimistic that Spring is on its way.
My six-week philosophy course finished in August. I am missing the interesting weekly discussions we had. In the interim I have signed up for a ten week (1 hr per week) course titled Presence of Mind with the School of Practical Philosophy. The course is online and made up with people from different states of Australia and three people overseas. Fascinating!
Life experience has taught me that nothing of value comes easily. So I agree with Nietzsche on that one. He is a complex philosopher with many strands to his philosophy. In our U3A groups yesterday the majority felt their opinion of him has improved after considering Alain de Botton’s description of him and his life work. I wasn’t so sure!
The three things that stood out for me were:
His thorough advice on how to write a novel (over the top!)
His views on Christianity – he was strong (ruthless) in his opposition – I wondered how his views would be received today
His ‘Slave Morality’ and ‘Master Morality’
On the third point we read an article written for Psychology Today that considered those views from the point of view of US politics (Democrats and Republicans) but I could see how they could reflect most left and right views of politics today. Here is a LINK for that article. It made for good and lively discussion.
Friedrich Nietzsche was born in October 1844 in Rocken, located near Leipzig in Germany. He is the subject for next week’s two discussion groups in my local U3A Group. In preparing my research I came across the following advice from Nietzsche on how to write a novel! Was he serious? I will fill you in on our discussions after the classes next Wednesday!
This is how hard one should try to write a novel: The recipe for becoming a good novelist … is easy to give, but to carry it out presupposes qualities one is accustomed to overlook when one says ‘I do not have enough talent.’ One has only to make a hundred or so sketches for novels, none longer than two pages but of such distinctness that every word in them is necessary; one should write down anecdotes every day until one has learnt how to give them the most pregnant and effective form; one should be tireless in collecting and describing human types and characters; one should above all relate things to others and listen to others relate, keeping one’s eyes and ears open for the effect produced on those present, one should travel like a landscape painter or costume designer … one should, finally, reflect on the motives of human actions, disdain no signpost for instruction about them and be a collector of these things by day and night. One should continue in this many-sided exercise for some ten years; what is then created in the workshop … will be fit to go out into the world.
de Botton, Alain. The Consolations of Philosophy (pp. 216-217). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
Arthur Schopenhauer was born in 1788 in Danzig, Germany. He was the topic of two philosophy discussion groups that met today. We have been reading a book called The Consolations of Philosophy, written by Alain de Botton and published by Penguin.
Group members were on the whole of the view that he was a miserable man who had nothing to offer for us in consolation of any kind. A few of us (me included) disagreed. It is difficult to get to the core of the man in a two hour session. His thesis, The World as Will and Representation was hailed as a masterpiece (not at first but later in his lifetime).
He certainly paints a dark view of life full of pessimism however I felt a sense of fellowship with him. I have known some dark times in my life and it is as though he could put my experience into words. He also emphasised the strength of our will to live in that the survival of our species depends upon it.
I can’t do justice to the complexity of the man but I do know that he certainly got our group members fired up about some of the things he said and his attitude toward women (not good)!
One of the female members of the group suggested he may have had more success with women if he had a better hair cut.