Delight Springs

Thursday, August 3, 2017


I've volunteered to try and come up with something philosophical and different to say about one of the buzzier words in current circulation, "resilience." It's a splendid concept, and one I've treasured since long before it became a pop culture buzzword and cliche.

During my walk this morning, leaning into the rising sun while the morning air was still fragrant and cool, it occurred to me that it's really just another word for what "dawn" means to me: a new day, a fresh start, another chance to do something good, another round of experience to notch on my stick. For me, and I suspect for most dawn risers addicted to morning air, "resilient" means nothing if it doesn't mean awake, rested, and ready. It means a daily return to life.

Great, but here - on a loop William James endlessly repeats to me -  is every honest philosopher's challenge:  "the return to life can't come about by talking. It is an act..."

And so, in order to say something worthy about resilience I'm going to have to do something resilient. Why don't I do this? Why don't I resume regular reporting to this journal of no very wide circulation, this repository of dawn reflections, and see if something more than mere talk materializes?

I'm betting it will. But if it doesn't, I'm sure I'll be resilient.

I wonder if the School of Life is onto something, with its take on the subject?

“One of the characteristic flaws of our minds is to exaggerate how fragile we might be; to assume that life would be impossible far earlier than it, in fact, would be. We imagine that we could not live without a certain kind of income or status or health; that it would be a disaster not to have a certain kind of relationship, house or job. This natural tendency of the mind is constantly stoked by life in commercial society, which adds to our sense of the number of things that should be considered Necessities rather than Luxuries. This kind of society goes to extraordinary lengths to get us to feel that we really do need to go skiing once a year, to have heated car seats, to fly in Business, to own the same kind of watch as a famous conductor and a jumbo-sized fridge, and to lay claim to lots of friends, perfectly muscular health and a loving, kind, sex-filled relationship…”
A materially-simpler life is a more resilient one, is the message here. Not just any old act will do. The return to life can't come about by shopping. I'll buy that.

Image result for new yorker grim reaper cartoon

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