Friday, August 06, 2004

Well yes, you can be too cynical. Until I was a parent, I didn’t understand people who thought the world net good, or even balanced—one hard kick took twenty true kindnesses to balance, it seemed to me, and the world seemed so much more full of selfishness and the various inflicted miseries of flesh (images of famine, war, disease) and spirit (assorted cruelties, vast and petty). But as a parent, I understand something. It is so good to be a parent, and parents give so much good to their children, every day, even the ones (all of us, to varying degrees) who don’t do the best they can; and the world is as full of love as it is of children. Every child grown represents an enormous amount of selflessness and good will enacted and that is in its own way a tangible thing.

What I like best about Milton, btw, that structuring whereby evil is not the opposite of good, but a debased good—that good precedes evil, and is not negated by it. “Ethics precedes being” (Levinas) and, I believe, will endure us.

Not that I expect history to transcend itself, nor do I think you can be too cynical when it comes to politics, power, and money. Life as we know it will go on (I'm looking specifically at the six paragraphs, beginning with the one which begins "I have my own reasons" and ending with the one beginning "I may just be letting my paranoia." I remember a few things from my science classes, and one was that a sound theory must be able to accurately predict the future and, judging from the jobless news and the NYSE's dramatic response this morning, well, . . . am I too cynical to think?).

Ok, ok, no more.

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