A NY Times Opinion piece (click HERE) by philosopher Brian Jay Stanley re-discovers the necessity for a Copernican revolution of the self which demands the re-relativizing of one’s place in the universe… You know, the same old thing.
I enjoy pieces like this, that start out with a witty pull toward desperation, and finish with a balanced wisdom of the ages. He’s put upon by life, annoyed at his insignificance in the scheme of things. I’m tempted to say he “somehow” finds peace, or poetically trips onto pretty words of truth. His awareness is much more studied, though. After looking at his website, I find Stanley’s wisdom is earned through toil and hard looking, deep reflection and sometimes scary reverie. He brings to mind David Foster Wallace, which brings up lots of sadness for me, and some of the cutting performer/comics like Lenny Bruce or Louis C.K., George Carlin and the best stand-up yet, F. Nietzsche.
If you’re not going to read the whole piece, at least dig the penultimate paragraph:
Society is adroit at disillusioning newcomers, and many self-assured children grow up to be bitter adults. But bitterness, instead of a form of disillusionment, is really the refusal to give up your childhood illusions of importance. Ignored instead of welcomed by the world, you fault the world as blind and evil in order not to fault yourself as naïve. Bitterness is a child’s coddling narcissism within the context of an adult’s harsh life. Instead, I know that the world only tramples me as a street crowd does an earthworm — not out of malice or stupidity, but because no one sees it. Thus my pain is not to feel wrongly slighted, but to feel rightly slighted.
So today if I can muster the joy, I’ll have gratitude as my attitude. Today, I’ll try not to be so bitter. Today, my narcissism will be that of an adult, not a baby’s. Today, I’ll remember to (as someone stenciled on the wall by the Silver Lake Reservoir) “Laugh at this experience.” Today I’m going to be the audience, and enjoy the show.