Posted by: HAT | April 2, 2009

Thought in the Shower

Stream of consciousness?

Stream of consciousness

The shower is a good place to think.

For me, at least.

This morning, realized this: yes, I think Ernst Bloch is correct (well, I recognize this a lot) about the utopian — or more properly, quasi-utopian — content of many wishes and dreams, as well as festivals and fantasias. And then there is the impulse to improvement. Qohelet says all improvement and accomplishment come from envy (well, “all toil and all skill in work” — Ecc. 4:4), but I question this; some seems to come from a wish to make things better, a non-envious drive to improve.

From there: often, some small adjustment can make a big improvement. Especially true for things like tone, mood, attitude. This insight already inscribed in proverbs like “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” and “A soft answer turneth away wrath . . .” and “Look on the bright side,” but not less accurate for that. But also true for concrete task-oriented small things, like the difference between offering a ride or not, or holding open a door or not — performing the small courtesy, or ignoring it; thinking of the small kindness, or forgetting it; doing the chore, or letting it slide.

The Buddha said “A jug fills drop by drop,” [Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha (London: Shambhala, 1993) p. 34] Small things, whether folly or wisdom, mischief or kindness, add up. Moses depicts the difference between life and death as not too hard, too distant, but “very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” (see Dtr. 30:11-14)

Maybe not the utopia, but the better world, not so far off, just hanging on this or that small, consequential, choice.

[About the image: Author tanakawho, used (I hope) under terms of Creative Commons Lic. 2.0]


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