What’s Goin’ On?

Walt Whitman was born on this date in 1819.

Donna May, Story TenderWalt Whitman was BTD in 1819:

Posted by Donna May, Story Tender

After Walt Whitman there’s not much left to say. I remember reading Song of Myself in college and thinking there was nothing else. Filled to bursting with those words. Saying them over and over in my mind, memorizing without intending to. The words…the words…the words…became live inside of me, took form, became the thing they represented.

And today, the country in torment, exploding with the crazy that is our lives, our minds crazed with doubts and fears and anger and sadness and pain…today is for whatever it takes to get us through.

Today I’m listening to Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On” and reading me some Whitman, Song of Myself, “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” 

Sometimes you have to return to the old familiars when you don’t know what else to do. Sometimes you have to take comfort in old wounds, in old grief. Sometimes you just run out of words. Sometimes despair doesn’t have a name.

Happy Birthday

Thanks again to our pal Donna May for posting a birthday note. Donna says that Robbie Burns was born on this day in 1759.

I’m always surprised by the people who know this singular quote from Robbie Burns. Some might even know the origin, which is the poem “To a Louse,” written by an anonymous narrator who is sitting behind a fancied swell in a church pew. What does not surprise me is that those who know the quote consider that it is meant for someone else.

We are the one in the church pew viewing the lovely yet pompous woman kneeling in a false prayer in front of us. We see the louse crawling up her shoulder. We rarely turn to see ourselves, as the poem says, as others see us.

Happy Birthday

Mi madre and Fritz were born on the same date, October 15. Though not the same year—Nietzsche sprang onto this earth in 1844.

Posted by Philosophy Matters

And so, just a very small sampling from the most quotable of philosophers:

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”

“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.”

“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.”

“We have art in order not to die of the truth.”

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”

And then, from me very own mum, Frances Varney Hansen:

“At this stage of the game…”

“Ach mit you!”

“Two heads are better than one, even if one is a cabbage head.”

“He’s wearing the high hat…”

“The problem with letting go and letting God is that, I always want to help.”