Tuesday, August 31, 2010

in lieu of sadness

One of the hardest decisions I make every day is whether or not to be sad. Because there are wars and we're dying in them. Because we all prefer our own way and there are not enough ways for all of us. Because there are things I simply can not do and maybe even more that I will not do. Because sickness is cruel and accidents happen and I always feel a little stupider than I was the day before which is only slightly ameliorated by the fact that everyone else seems to be keeping pace.
Which is sad. But for some reason and by some means, I usually stave off the sadness.

Because there are planetary nebulae and darling hedgehogs. Because eventually it will be autumn so there will be magentas and Brunswick stew, whiffs of beautiful decay and barks of backyard football. Because rain both comes and goes and is welcome in both the coming and the going. Because of food. Because of books.

And books can be sad, horribly, sobsomely sad but they also smell like autumn.

Besides, in lieu of sadness, madness is a viable option. So daily I can always decide to lose my mind. Or at least let it wander for a while.

And besides that-- sad's good too. Like decay. Like winter. Like ignorance.


  1. no, nope, nein--re: ignorance. I tried, for your sake I did really try, to imagine a situation in which ignorance is good. I suppose, in light of your post, ignorance to mean an unawareness of evil, or sickness, or cruelty, or disapointment. But the weird thing about ignorance is that not only does it limit the experience of evil, it limits the experience of bliss.

    what does Nietzsche say, about having enough chaos in us to create a star? evil & good walk out of the garden together...

    They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow
    Through Eden took their solitary way (PL, 647-8)

    also reminds me of:

    The mind is its own place, and in itself
    Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n. (PL)

  2. I appreciate that you tried. I wavered on the ignorance fragment. Added it. Minused it. But at the end, I put it in and left it wincingly. However, I do not mean to imply "unawareness"--oblivion is an irritating ignorance. I was referring back to the bit about feeling stupider and the solace to be had in that sort of ignorance is that at some level, we all share in it. It is a mark of

    There is also something to be said, I think, for ignorance in innocence. Your Nietzsche sentiment and PL quotes remind me of Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and Songs of Inn. and Exp. Such that evil and good are not only concomitant but also complimentary.

    If that is true, then in effect, "evil" (though I can't endorse the word) is necessary AND "good." Likewise, there are elements of innocence that are beneficiary just as there are elements of experience that are beneficiary. And conversely, elements of both that are deleterious.

    So I use ignorance in that wise. As unavoidable and full of its opposite.

    I also think the fact that I cannot endorse the word evil is telling in the discrepancy between our appreciations of ignorance. But it's an age old argument and one I have yet to win.

  3. ^^ There's no winning there, sir. Only continuing, reinventing, beginning an age old argument again, and again, and again.. However both of your appreciations of ignorance are telling. Your explanation of your usage of 'ignorance' was extremely helpful and revealing and therefore immovable. I have to say it make senses.

    I could say a lot but simply put your last line is excellent. No matter what (we feel, say, want, have...) sad is good too. As is decay, winter, ignorance. It is what it is. There is no 'problem' in that.

    As with most worldly things, when the sadness (or whatever else) overcomes and overwhelms, when the balances are tipped just a little too much on any given side, when you are no longer able to so easily step apart from the sadness, then that is when dilemmas begin to occur, obstacles to overcome, whether to even go through the daily decision-making of whether to be sad or not.

    Anyways. I like this 'in lieu of' approach.