(or, I [heart] the New Shelton wet/dry*)
[N.B.: Some of the links in this post—really just the main one above and the, let's see, second one below [about war]—are NSFW for some reason.†]
Ideas related only by their all having to do with the world we live in:
People are assholes; get over it. We laugh sardonically now at the idea of "the war to end all wars," but it is it really so absurd or impossible? The reason we say uh‡ is that we're letting people know we're still talking to keep people from stepping in, and the reason we use that particular sound is that it, ə (that's a schwa, an upside-down e, in case it came out as Wing Ding bullshit), is a neutral sound, "the vowel sound produced when the mouth is not in gear."
This one gets its own paragraph. I think it was Peter Gomes who gave the speech that changed the way I thought about things by suggesting that joy ≠ happiness, that in your moment of greatest grief you still might have a fundamental sense of joy. You could argue that this is just an arbitrary semantic gesture—I assert that joy means this!—but the concept is fascinating one way or the other and contains at least some self-evident (but easily ignored) truth. And, sure, yeah, it's maybe a religious truth, depending on what you mean by religious. (Gomes, as you'll know if you followed the link, is Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard. Holy moly!) You might say that the opposite of joy is not sadness but depression—turns out Søren Kierkegaard might say despair.§ "Happiness," he apparently wrote, "is the greatest hiding place for despair." Brilliant.
[Fromm, in a somewhat similar vein, submits that there are two ways to define neurosis, one having to do with being "well adjusted" and the other with being more in tune with your nature and human nature; he prefers the latter and suggests that a deeply fucked-up person might thrive in a deeply fucked-up society, whereas a healthy mind would quickly grow ill in a toxic environment—imagine a sadistic psychopath and an empathetic humanist both given jobs as guards in a concentration camp. Which one would sleep better at night? Which one would be likelier to go crazy?]
Is there supposed to be some sort of conclusion here?
* A weekly blog whose sudden disappearance a little while back was very sad, and whose return was a great relief. Keep it going, whoever you are!
† Actually this is part of what's fun about the New Shelton. A mathematical formula: N + naked women > N (where N = anything).
‡ Please note, too: uh = er, the latter being the British version, which, of course, is pronounced—how, more or less?—uh.
§ I only wrote his first name so I could use the Ø.