Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rain, ethics and zen


It's a rainy day in Baltimore. I love rainy days. I love the way they can calm you down, slow you down.

Just for the fun of it, let me link to another Gaydore response on a blog I keep an eye on. It has so many of my fixations in one place, and is entirely kosher.

Speaking of fixations, you will notice that I keep coming back to the same things. One of those these things is George Orwell's essay on Ghandi, specifically this quote:

"The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals."

You know, I've probably quoted it before. I think I mentioned that I am in a Voluntary Simplicity group, and the thoughts of people there bring me back to the dilemma implicit in the quote: when do you let go, take a step back, detach, and when do you hang on for dear life? What matters in your life? What drives you*? What makes you happy**? What is worth spending your time on?
I know; my heart is in the right place. What matters is my spouse, family, friends (not necessarily in that order). Also: using my brain and being creative. Being socially useful. So how do I live by that? Where do I find the time.

Orwell is an interesting figure. He is so unlike the other writers I admire - homophobic, fanatic. Also: fiercely political, ethical, active. I respect him more than perhaps any writer for writing things that were right, rather than well-written. I respect him for having the courage of his opinions. I respect him for fighting on the best side of the Spanish Civil War (which didn't really have a good side). Reading his work has changed a good many of my attitudes, my ideas, my concept of what matters.

I still like pretty shoes though.

*Desire, enthusiasm, sheer silliness
**The Goldberg Variations, loved ones, good food, dramatic coats, quiet time, a good discussion, a good book or play, autumn leaves, the sound of rain on the window, Snapecast,...

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