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Sunday, August 17, 2014

sad funny man


Like you, I have been checking out Robin Williams clips on Youtube. Watching his breadth of material, especially live, reminds us of the depth of his talent. He is a household name. And all of us wish he had had a better end.

I came across this in one of my favorite books by Josef Pieper entitled A Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart.

... a person, who in the final analysis is in despair, can appear to be a thorough-going optimist in the penultimate concerns of existence, such as the naturally cultural, to others and to himself, so long as he is able to seal off radically the innermost chamber of despair, so that no cry of pain can erupt outward ( and it speaks volumes that the contemporary man of the world has made a real art of this).

I am not smugly sitting in judgement of Robin Williams. I know he suffered more than I will ever know. Pieper's line, "no cry of pain erupt(ing)" reveals something of the physical/emotional/mental agony a despairing person feels. I am merely suggesting that this is occurring more than we realize in the people around us, perhaps even in ourselves.

Leo Tolstoy is probably my favorite author for many reasons. One of the things he highlights in his books is the living on the surface and according to very nuanced but real social rules required by the Russian upper class. This unnatural way of behaving is pitted against some very natural people who either don't know the rules or know the rules and follow them, but loathingly. Anyway, I bring this up because I see the same thing every day in the world around us. We are not dealing with a war at our doorstep or an outbreak in Ebola ( and lets all stop a moment to pray for these people!), but we are dealing with something just as deadly: the lack of a whole, unified existence.

Ok, so that is sad. What to do? Well, if you haven't read the above mentioned book, start there! I am reminded of the inner order we are created to have by reading things like this. Its not a self-help book. Rather, it is an intellectual study of how man is created within himself. And then, as a good friend put it, "spend time in prayer each day, getting to know God and yourself."

I hope you have a thoroughly happy day, my friends!