Monday, June 19

jack & jill

Reading a piece from book on the Doa De Jing, I came to a bit about 'Appreciating the Particular' . It's quoted from the American philospher William James in a piece titled: What Makes Life Significant?


Every Jack sees in his own particular Jill charms and perfections to the enchantment of which we stolid onlookers are stone-cold.

And which has the superior view of the absolute truth, he or we? Which has the more vital insight into the nature of Jill's existence, as a fact? Is he in excess, being in this matter a maniac? or are we in defect, being victims of a pathological anæsthesia as regards Jill's magical importance?

Surely the latter; surely to Jack are the profounder truths revealed; surely poor Jill's palpitating little life-throbs are among the wonders of creation, are worthy of this sympathetic interest; and it is to our shame that the rest of us cannot feel like Jack. For Jack realizes Jill concretely, and we do not. He struggles toward a union with her inner life, divining her feelings, anticipating her desires, understanding her limits as manfully as he can, and yet inadequately, too; for he is also afflicted with some blindness, even here.

Whilst we, dead clods that we are, do not even seek after these things, but are contented that that portion of eternal fact named Jill should be for us as if it were not. Jill, who knows her inner life, knows that Jack's way of taking it— so importantly—is the true and serious way; and she responds to the truth in him by taking him truly and seriously, too.

May the ancient blindness never wrap its clouds about either of them again! Where would any of us be, were there no one willing to know us as we really are or ready to repay us for our insight by making recognizant return? We ought, all of us, to realize each other in this intense, pathetic, and important way.
If you say that this is absurd, and that we cannot be in love with everyone at once, I merely point out to you that, as a matter of fact, certain persons do exist with an enormous capacity for friendship and for taking delight in other people's lives; and 'that such persons know more of truth than if their hearts were not so big.

It was a weekend of friends and the appreciation of friends and what-makes-a-friend questions (it was also a weekend, coincidentally, of questioning the question that plagues me endlessly at the moment - why oh why do I fall inlove with everyone I kiss?)

Anyway.

I liked this piece. Read up some more here .

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