Clarifying the "Crushes" Post

This post is a bit too harsh in tone, and Josh’s comment is exactly right – true love can be conceived as a perpetual crush, and can be made lasting through such a conception.

I personally have said that it doesn’t matter why one falls in love, what matters is what we do with that.

Still, I think the reason why I was so harsh in the initial post isn’t merely because of the particular situation I was confronted with, a grown man having a crush on a girl way out of his league and not recognizing that he had other priorities in life. The reasons why I was harsh stem from one question:

If we place such an emphasis on the “magic” of that moment, being around those we have a crush on, what happens when that magic disappears?

In my own life, I’ve dealt with numerous women who liked me and fell out of love just as I was giving more (without pathetic pleading on my part, even). The “magic” seems to trump any sense of gratefulness, even though it should lead to more gratefulness. It seems to place a curious weight on physical presence, and can render conversation (I think the Greek for this is a variant of “logos,” actually; where does “dialogue” come from?) useless. I know we’ve all been in conversations with girls that liked us, and we could say “Yeah, aliens are coming up behind you, they’ve dismembered your family just now and wrecked your car,” and they’d be like “OMG that’s so deep.” I’m not saying “reason over passion,” I just don’t want a form of passion involved with a relationship that kills reason. I suspect there is a greater, deeper senusality out there, and that our generation thinks it knows it all because of our experience, but really doesn’t.

I hate to define love in terms of duty and obligation, but remember that spontaneity itself only exists because things happen regularly. And remember how much joy our parents get in giving to us, and in giving to us give to each other, and remember that our Christian God loves to be a parent, rather than consort with human females like Zeus.

Football Outsiders on NFL Retirees

This article discusses the plight of many NFL greats of yesteryear.

I left a comment in the thread below a link to this article, after reading several comments that said other professions don’t have it as well as the NFL, and one comment that suggested the retired players didn’t spend their money wisely at all when they had it. Here is the comment reproduced:

Look, I don’t really care about the comments in this thread that suggest there is no problem because other professions are harsh or that if there is a problem, it’s the players’ doing.

The NFL players that are hurting are hurting very badly, and charity is not a long-term solution. To argue there is no problem isn’t humane; if we were truly humane, we would be looking for the problem. That the problem has to present itself to us is one degree removed from being moral, and trying to deny that anyone should be helped for their pain is two degrees removed.

MDS is right, although free-agency really puts a hamper on what teams should provide for which players that are retired.

The $60 mil a year figure MDS cites in the article can’t possibly be enough to deal with the expense of the treatements sports injuries require, let alone rebuilding lives.

The solution has to be twofold: 1. increase the amount of money for the retired players, and 2. create a mechanism – maybe put retired players in charge of a general fund for their benefit – that would insure equality.

The solution cannot be to trust teams in this regard. Free agency means which team would be accountable to which player? And the issue of equality – and I personally am very conservative – is the fundamental psychological issue regarding citizenship in a democracy. If we don’t conceive of ourselves as equals in some regard, we don’t have a society, let alone a nation. How exactly teams held accountable for retired players’ welfare would ensure equality is beyond me.

Mind & Heart

Usually at times like these, I have a very numb feeling, like the heart has collapsed upon itself and I am unwelcome in my own body.

This time around, something else is happening. I don’t feel bad in any part of my body – in fact, I feel free from concern. It’s my head that’s aching, constantly thinking about her.

Given that my apartment is a filthy mess, that I’m incapable of doing anything for myself, and that the only species I can claim superiority over is that of law students (h/t Amber), I think I need to be worried. I’m a lazy slob probably because I genuinely believe, in my crude way, that mind comes first, and if the mind is telling me something, I might need to reconsider certain things.

Still, a decision made is a decision made. The extent of reconsidering is contingent on another factor, perhaps.

Attempting

I am more diligent in attempting to do work, and some work is getting done, but nowhere near enough.

Should I be grateful that I feel thoughtful right now, that I feel like I’m about to reach some new insights that I hadn’t had before?

On Pound’s "In a Station of the Metro"

In a Station of the Metro
Ezra Pound

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Commentary:

I used to think the speaker of this poem was on a subway car in the Metro, flying by Metro stops and seeing the crowd beside the car. The movement would cause a blur where the clothed parts of their bodies might resemble a dark branch, and their faces, while indistinct, would be a bright and smaller part of that impression, like the petals on the flowers of certain trees.

I think the safer way to interpret this poem, though, is to say our speaker sees a crowd in the Metro station, and not care whether he is moving or at rest. There is a distance between him and the crowd, as the word “apparition” testifies. Apparition, while it has ghostly and spiritual overtones, is more closely connected with the Latin verb which means “to appear.” Our speaker knows the faces in the crowd through their appearance, not their actuality or totality in being.

With that in mind, we know there is some separation between our speaker and the crowd, even if the separation is not that of a motion/rest distinction. The major question can now be addressed: petals on a wet, black bough?

Aeneas needs a golden bough to take to the Underworld, and the golden bough is from a tree that is black as charcoal and lifeless in itself. Further, the bough isn’t totally golden; it has a dark underside to it that is of the tree it came from. Roughly, the metaphor invoked is that of how soul and body might relate: it could be that soul is this divine, precious, amazing thing, grafted onto this lifeless, decaying, common lump of flesh.

Now it is possible for this bough, without gold, to have been considered a noble image of the crowd. For Pound could have written “petals on a bough,” and we might have thought that he was invoking how individual faces, in their uniqueness, constitute the flowering of the human family (all from the tree image). But Pound chooses to give us the adjectives “wet” and “black” to describe the bough.

“Black” evokes death and I will leave it at that. “Wet” is the key to the poem. Water should be that which grants life, but here, it has soaked the tree, presumably making the flowers and the branch sog, weighted down with that which is its lifeblood. If the image of man presented in the bough is that of man as a bodily animal only, and if those in the Metro are a crowd going to work (why else does the Metro exist), then the wetness of the bough is evocative of how we weigh ourselves down by our overemphasis on survival, and how we truly are born free in a noble sense – we are part of Nature’s beauty – but have indeed put ourselves in chains.