Good things

The green and scents of spring

the water undaunted laughing at all things

damp and dewy the breeze sultry lingers

the fireflies have come back to play

the grass runs like a velvet cape down the hill towards the shore

the sunsets light the flowers faces as they lift them up to say goodnight

harbingers of hope, peace, beauty and all good things

are here once more

*Arvada, CO*

Thoughts on Aristotle’s Golden Mean

Aristotle’s idea of virtue is distilled from moderation, not excess. It’s been ruminating around in my brain for weeks now, and I drew a chart in my kitchen (the kids weren’t sure what to think, ha!). Ideas of how to set a course for living a meaningful and good life is one of the themes that permeates my life. There are many ways to do this, certainly religion offers some answers, humanism others, modeling from the behavior of others can also be effective. I do like Aristotle’s brain child of moderation though. It takes away the idea of right and wrong (I’m not saying that I advocate no right or wrong, because I do think there is inherently right and wrong). Instead, he suggests that there is wisdom in behavior that doesn’t smack of extremism in nature, either with a deficiency or excess.  Take pleasure, for example. There is nothing inherently right or wrong about pleasure. However living a life lacking pleasure, be it from too many rules, or not enjoying life through a kill-joy mentality or prudishness, in Aristotle’s theory, is just as unwise as the excess of pleasure as seen in over-eating, promiscuity, and general overindulgence in pleasure seeking behaviors.  Self esteem, again leaning on the same idea, can be deficient when one thinks too poorly of him or her self, with negative self thoughts and shame. An excess of self esteem would be seen as arrogance, pride, narcism, and vanity.  The golden mean of pleasure would be temperance and moderation. The golden mean of self esteem would be confidence and proper self love. Interesting thoughts, Aristotle!

To live a good life

I recently listened to a podcast on the great books of the world and how reading them can shape you for the better. I admit I have not read (many) of the greats. I read the Illiad, a little Plato and Aristotle and I’ve got an ancient Roman book, and a couple of history books from the Greeks. I find them hard to get through because they come from worlds so entirely different from mine. Also, women typically didn’t have a written voice, so most of them are from a man’s perspective. The nut of the show for me was how Aristotle explores what it means to have a good life (sorry, can’t remember the book). How he defines it. How it is really the same as many of us feel today. He defines a good life as the pursuit of happiness. But firstly, what is good? What is life? Those questions could take some time to explore. And dissecting happiness as well was an interesting topic. Happiness being defined as a deep, fulfilling joy brought about through living ethically, investing in relationships, having enough money to be able to focus on the latter, and the spinoff idea that yes, money helps us focus on those things, but the pursuit of money in and of itself can lead to a loss of happiness. Random thoughts that brought me a lot of pleasure thinking about and also a curiosity to explore the great books of all time!

*Charleston, SC 2019*

Influence

I wonder how the influence

of all the words I’ve read

loops around to the synapses in my mind

and shapes my thoughts and actions

all those writers who spoke into my life

some from thousands of years ago

some from today, literally

but even modern thoughts come often from far away

the buzz of thinking humanity in expression

reaching out to each other

teaching reflection and perspective

in different cultures, far different circumstances

change the way I view the world today

*my bookcase, Denver*

Spring

Even as the world weeps

the tragedies increase

my brothers and sisters in medicine give all they have with nothing left to give

there is the arm of my husband next to me lying on mine in the morning

my children sassy and laughing in the kitchen

the sunshine of spring with the freshness it brings

feels warm on my face and I can’t help but hope

 

*Salem, Oregon March 2020*