27 March 2012

Three Quick Notes

  • Sunday I went running for the first time in years. I did a simple walk-run workout, i.e., I walked for 2 minutes, then ran for 2 minutes, then back to walking, alternating each for a total of 22 minutes. I covered 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers). I found out the way I had been taught to run in college was all wrong, and I'm re-learning how to run, so it will be slow going for a while.
  • I finished Gordon Marino's excellent anthology Basic Writings of Existentialism, and I recommend it. As any really good anthology does, the book has me wanting to read more by some of the authors represented, especially Kierkegaard and Camus. Also, the excerpt from Sartre's essay "Existentialism Is a Humanism" is the best summary of Sartre I've ever read. I wish I read this essay before reading Being and Nothingness.
  • That being said, I can say affirmatively that I am not an atheist, and am only an agnostic in the strictest, most limited definition of the word, namely, that I don't "know" that God exists. I believe God exists, not out of some logical proof, but because I need to believe God exists. It is a matter of faith, and a matter of acknowledging, like Douglas Coupland's narrator in Life After God that:
    "I need God to help me give, because I no longer seem to be capable of giving; to help me be kind, as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love."

13 March 2012

Favorite Quote, XII: "Dismiss Whatever Insults Your Soul"

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

—Walt Whitman