Thursday, October 04, 2007

Manifesto At 35, v1.0: Part 1

Edward Murrow says: "You believe WHAT? That's stupid!"Note: As I grow older, it becomes more apparent to me that the way I think and the way I see things are, how shall I say it, out of step with the modern, respectable zeitgeist. About six months ago, when I was still actually 35, I began jotting down sentences in a "This I Believe" sort of way with the intention of creating -- and clarifying in my own mind -- a summary of my gradually maturing (or is that ossifying?) worldview. I envisioned three parts: an affirmative "I Do" section, a negative "I Do Not" section, and a third appendix of supporting "I Wish I'd Said This" nuggets of wisdom from the poets, musicians, writers, renegades, and scoundrels that I no doubt misguidedly hold in high regard. Below is the first part (or as much of it as I've gotten so far).

Note 2: This could be one of those potentially interesting blogger memes -- maybe one of my many, many readers will do something similar on his or her blog. Or maybe not. Whatever.

1. I Do

  1. I believe there is such a thing as the human condition, and I believe it is fundamentally tragicomic. Sometimes the tragic part is dominant, sometimes the comic part is. But both parts are always present.

  2. I believe our very existence is a mystery beyond our ability to solve. I further believe this is a good thing.

  3. I believe there is a God. More precisely, I believe in the Catholic Profession of Faith, although I struggle mightily with putting this belief into actual practice.

  4. I believe truth, like beauty, is where you find it and that in the absence of either life is bleak and in the absence of both life is impossible.

  5. I believe, with Hemingway, that every story stretched out far enough ends in death. With one very important exception. (See #3, above.)

  6. I do not believe progress is or should be an absolute, nor should it be spelt with a capital P.

  7. I believe politics is the domain of the very worst part of humanity.

  8. I believe art and literature, properly construed (see #9, below), are the domain of the best.

  9. I believe, with Chesterton, that morality, like art, involves knowing where to draw the line.

  10. I believe every human heart is broken, sometimes sooner rather than later. The bulk of our lives is given over to how we deal with this fact.

  11. I believe there is a thin line between celebrating the here and now and engaging in self-destruction. Some of us cross and re-cross that line at different times in our lives.

  12. If it is a typically French attitude to believe that a beautiful woman is a work of art, then je m'appelle David.

  13. I believe, with Bukowski, in the importance of having the time to do absolutely nothing as well as the will to do it.

  14. I believe contradictions and paradoxes are part and parcel of our everyday reality.

  15. I believe there are two things that mark a particular city as civilized: the presence of street musicians and the legal ability to peacefully and publically engage in the vice of alcohol as a matter of course. Most American cities have neither of these things. Only one that I know of has both.
Scorn, confusion, apathy, etc. welcome in the comments.