Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Brother's Karamazov

I know that technically I am not blogging any more, but I just finished "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky and there was a quote in the book that I wanted to be able to remember. It is found in part (d) of Chapter 1 in Book 6, and it is as follows:

'For everyone now strives most of all to separate his person, wishing to experience the fullness of life within himself, and yet what comes of all his efforts is not the fullness of life but full suicide, for instead of the fullness of self-definition, they fall into complete isolation. For all men in our age are separated into units, each seeks seclusion in his own hole, each each withdraws from the others, hides himself, and hides what he has, and ends by pushing people away from himself. He accumulates wealth in solitude, thinking: how strong, how secure I am now; and does not see, madman as he is, that the more he accumulates, the more he sinks into suicidal impotence. For he is accustomed to relying only on himself, he has separated his unit from the whole, he has accustomed his soul to not believing in people's help, in people or in mankind, and now only trembles lest his money and his acquired privileges perish. Everywhere now the human mind has begun laughably not to understand that a man's true security lies not in his own solitary effort, but in the general wholeness of humanity. But there must needs come a term to this horrible isolation, and everyone will all at once realize how unnaturally they have separated themselves one from another. Such will be the spirit of the time, and they will be astonished that they sat in darkness for so long, and did not see the light. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens.... But until then we must keep hold of the banner, and every once in a while, if only individually, a man must suddenly set an example, and draw the soul from its isolation for an act of brotherly communion, though it be with the rank of holy fool.'

Through reading the whole book, that passage really stuck with me, and I wanted to have the words for later if need be.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Missing Blog?

So I have not blogged in a long time. I really enjoyed blogging and looking back at the things that I was thinking/reading, etc. in the past. However, I also felt this huge burden to stay consistent, and I did not like that. Since blogging was not necessarily connected to anything integral in my life, I let that be something that falls into the background when things get busy.

Thanks to the 3 of you that check this blog regularly and hope that I have actually posted something.

Right now I am thinking that I will not be blogging in the future. I am growing increasingly skeptical of the "internet world" and I think I want to eliminate the possibility in my life that I would spend more time on the computer than with acutal people. I know that some people do find community through blogging, facebook and other media, so I will not make judgements. I can just say that for myself, I do not think it is the best use of my time. I do not want to be a Luddite, so I will continue to email and learn new things as they come along.

Laura and I are pointing our lives together toward a life of simplicity. For me, a life of simplicity includes getting to know my neighbors better and discovering ways to build authentic relationships, while simulataneously removing things from my life that might hinder this.

Henri Nouwen has a great quote that pretty much sums up what I have been thinking lately. I will put it here as he says it much better than I do:

More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.

- Henri Nouwen

So, if you want to know about my life, you and I will have to connect in old fashioned ways like getting together for lunch or talking on the telephone. We can be friends on facebook, but I will not be updating my facebook page, so we will need to communicate in other ways. I am not sure that this direction will last forever, so I might be back in the blogging world, but for now, I am signing off.