Doug Bruns

Thursday Grace Notes

In Books, Death, Philosophy, The Examined Life, The infinity of ideas, Thinkers, Wisdom on April 29, 2010 at 1:20 pm

There is a phrase that caught my eye in a book I’m reading: “…the search for lives lived as art.” It comes from the biography of the Renaissance writer, artist, and builder, Leo Battista Alberti, by Anthony Grafton. Grafton is commenting on the observation of a previous Alberti biographer, Jacob Burckhardt. The full passage reads: “Burckhardt saw the full aesthetic development of personality as the Renaissance’s highest creative work; the search for lives lived as art, rather than a precise analysis of texts.” Lives lived as art–I love that.

* * *

-A SHORT HISTORY OF AN IDEA-

Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you. ~ Confucius (551 – 479BC)

Do not do to others that which angers you, when done to you. ~ Isocrates (Greek philosopher, 436 – 338 BC)

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. ~ Jesus Christ (Luke 6:31)

Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. ~ Muhammad (570 – 632)

* * *

At dinner with friends last night, we were talking about the passage of time and that it has been six months since our friends got their new dog. “Six months!” I blurted out. Then, perhaps because of an excess of wine, I remarked: “Six months closer to death.” I was met with blank stares and gaping mouths. Note to self: Just because I think it’s an important concept, does not mean I can stomp all over the conversation. And on that note: “Death is not an event in life.” ~ Wittgenstein

* * *

And lastly, I’ve been going through some old journals and found this passage from December, 1980: “The solution to the problems of modernity are usually thought to be: God, democracy, socialism, sex, art, family, economic growth. But these in fact are the problems, not the solution.” I still wrestle with this problem, “the solution to the problems of modernity,” and am disappointed that in thirty years I’ve made no progress.

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  1. Time passing seems strange. It seems strange that the world has been spinning for so long and that there have been so many repeated mistakes and actions in it. Yet each life is a new experience. For example: I am not satisfied merely hearing about mistakes made. Unfortunately,to truly know them, I feel like I must make them myself.

    It seems, for this reason, that it is hard to make any progress in the world. Everyone must get their own feet wet–despite the readings and advice we seek from those past.

    How silly it is, to live.

    (This is what your above writing led me to think about–just thought I’d share) Thank you for sharing yourself.

  2. Silly to live? Perhaps. Sillier to not live.
    Thanks for your comments.
    D

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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