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Late Night Thoughts: Humanity, Tragedy, Poetry, and the Origins of Life (July 28, 2018)

(About a 3 minute read)

Was it in high school when I began to see humanity as both tragic and comic?

Yes, I think it was first in mid-adolescence that I noticed humans could be both tragic and comic at the same time.  Do others first notice it around that time too?

Ever since then, it seems the sense of it has been strongest when I have been least judgemental — I don’t know why.

Now a man or woman who believes themselves safe and secure from having an injustice done to them simply because they are without any fault or flaw that might justify an injustice being done to them — their nativity is hilarious to me.  It can also make me fear for them.  But is that an example of a tragicomic situation?

I think it is.

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I once posted on a popular forum both what “tragedy” meant to the ancients, and why Americans typically do not grasp or understand the concept of tragedy in the way the ancients did.  Not only did my audience — very large American — fail to understand what I was talking about, but I myself failed to realize that, of course, they were quite likely to fail.  I mean, I thought the concept — once explained — was something anyone could “get”.

You who for a moment doubt the power of a culture to blind people to some aspects of reality is just as effective as its power to reveal other aspects, should try explaining tragedy to an American audience in a manner in which they can at least see it as possibly real.

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You could not easily have found a poetry blog a bit over ten years ago, when I began blogging.  Of course, nowadays you cannot avoid them, should you even want to.

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Two laws of poetry?

Most people began composing poetry before they begin reading other people’s poetry.

As a rule of thumb, the younger you are, the more profundity you will find in sad and grotesque things.

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At the end of a long life, are you more likely to find profoundity in a sunrise or a skull? Perhaps in both?

I would suggest that an answer to the question of whether you will find the positive or the negative more profound depends in part on how much “finding profoundity” relies on us (rather than on its actual existence), and on our willingness to assert our values against an indifferent nature.

To find more profoundity in either a sunrise or a skull would suggest to me that one is looking to find more in one or the other.  But as for me, I’d want either to find both equally profound, or failing that, to enjoy a good sunrise.

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It seems so easy for most of us to confuse a truly nice person with a person who is not truly nice, but is merely too scared to be unpleasant.

Is that somehow evidence that many of us do not know any genuinely nice people?

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Now and then someone will argue that life cannot have arisen by from non-life, usually on the false grounds that to do so would mean life had arisen from chance alone.

In fact, if it did indeed arise from non-life, then it was by — not only random chance — but according to the laws of chemistry, and ultimately physics, that it arose.  My friend, Eric, studied just that sort of thing for his doctorate in the physics of biology.

What Eric and his colleagues found was that non-living molecules have several ways in which they organize themselves in primitive configurations that could nevertheless be precursors to the ways living things organize molecules.

Life arising from non-life seems to be suggested by such findings.

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Which is more important to you — the fact you are alive, or the fact you will someday die?

Which is more important to you — to love or to be loved?

I want to conduct a poll to see if there’s any correlation between how people answer one of those questions and how they answer the other.  For instance, do people who think life is more important than death also think loving is more important than being loved?

6 thoughts on “Late Night Thoughts: Humanity, Tragedy, Poetry, and the Origins of Life (July 28, 2018)”

  1. looks around Hey, no comments. No answers. To your poll, I mean. Good. I can respond to your poll without measuring the appropriateness of the response against other folk’s answers. So… good for me, but not for you because the response may be inappropriate. Anyway, the fact that I will die arises from the fact that I am alive. The two things go together like peanut butter and jelly. Same with ‘love’ or ‘be loved.’ Peanut butter and jelly. Ok, now you know not to ask me questions before I have had lunch! Also, Garnet is still waiting for you to drop by…

    Like

    1. Ah hah! A fence sitter who wants it both ways — just like me!

      By the way, I’ve got it on my list today to stop by your blog. Was going to do that yesterday, but fell tired — I’d been going without sleep and had to catch up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Life is the other side of the coin as death, current realities make them both a part of the other. Not so with to love or be loved, I think it is more profoundly important to love, that involves at least a modicum or even illusion of action on my part. To be loved is a miracle over which I have no ultimate control, it may not happen in any predictable or sustained fashion, if it does it is an extraordinarily profound gift. But I can try to excercise (ala Viktor Frankl) a will to meaning by trying to choose to love, even if there is little to no reciprocation. Nutter fence-sitter? 🤷🏻‍♀️ Maybe. 🤔

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