Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year's Greeting

After a holiday hiatus, I have to get back in the blogging game.  And there's no better way to do so than to rely heavily on one of my favorite Op Ed columnists - David Brooks.  In his latest piece he reviews a book called "All Things Shining".  He highlights several parts of the book, but let me cut to the chase.  Brooks paraphrases authors Hubert Dreyfus of Berkeley and Sean Dorrance Kelly of Harvard when he says this:
The most real things in life well up and take us over. They call this experience “whooshing up.” We get whooshed up at a sports arena, at a political rally or even at magical moments while woodworking or walking through nature.
He then goes on to dismiss some of the conclusions these two philosophers come to, but zeroes in on something that grabbed my attention:
We have official stories we tell about our culture: each individual is the captain of his own ship; we are all children of God. But in practice, willy-nilly, the way we actually live is at odds with the official story. Our most vibrant institutions are collective, not individual or religious. They are there to create that group whoosh: the sports stadium, the concert hall, the political rally, the theater, the museum and the gourmet restaurant. Even church is often more about the ecstatic whoosh than the theology.
The activities often dismissed as mere diversions are actually central. Real life is more about serial whooshes than coherent meaning.
(emphasis my own)
Then Brooks concludes:
We can either rebel against this superficial drift, or like Dreyfus and Kelly, go with the flow, acknowledging that the autonomous life is impossible, not seeking totalistic theologies, but instead becoming sensitive participants in the collective whooshings that life offers.
Is it true that real life is more about whooshes than coherent meaning?  Can your life be defined that way?  Is mine? 

As much as I think these writers are on to something, I'd like to see myself swimming against the tide.  If there's ever a time for rebellion I would suggest it should be against the trivial, insignificant, but often popular events our society engages in.

So here's to a fulfilled life - even when the glass is empty.  Here's to looking at life from a different perspective.  Here's to a coherent, meaningful, and Story-driven 2011.

Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

I love that you are blogging... THANK YOU!

Jeremy said...

Bas si vrijedan! Thanks for staying posted during the dry spell, Laci.