a thought

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:41 pm
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
Here is the passage from C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain that I found most striking and thought particularly apropos for today's world:

Perhaps my harping on the word "kindness" has already aroused a protest in some readers' minds. Are we not really an increasingly cruel age? Perhaps we are: but I think we have become so in the attempt to reduce all virtues to kindness. For Plato rightly taught that virtue is one. You cannot be kind unless you have all the other virtues.

If, being cowardly, conceited and slothful, you have never yet done a fellow creature great mischief, that is only because your neighbour's welfare has not yet happened to conflict with your safety, self-approval, or ease. Every vice leads to cruelty. Even a good emotion, pity, if not controlled by charity and justice, leads through anger to cruelty.

Most atrocities are stimulated by accounts of the enemy's atrocities; and pity for the oppressed classes, when separated from the moral law as a whole, leads by a very natural process to the unremitting brutalities of a reign of terror.


[Chapter 4, 'Human Wickedness,' paragraphing mine]

...

I suspect my exposure to Tumblr's vicious witch-hunting callout culture affected my response to this passage, though it is of course applicable to many other walks of life.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
I got up at 4:00am EST on Thursday, so as to shower, eat breakfast, finish packing, and set up my apartment before heading outside shortly before 5:00am to wait for my cab. In the event, the cab was about ten minutes late, but I still got to the airport and through security in plenty of time. The flight from Ithaca to Detroit went smoothly, and I made my transfer with several minutes to spare even though they were slow to unpack the plane-side checked bags. (These are bags that would be carry-on items in larger planes, but small jets have small overhead compartments so they basically wrap a tag around your suitcase handle, stash it in the cargo compartment with the actual checked bags, and then hand it back to you at the end of the flight.)

cut for length )

As for my reading: I got through the entirety of C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, which was one of my "I am not entirely sure where I picked this book up, but I should probably read it before donating it" books, and another several sections of Religion in the Japanese Experience: Sources and Interpretations, a textbook composed of various themed excerpts from other works and brief explications thereof.

Lewis is, as always, infuriating because I disagree vehemently with a number of his assumptions, with most of his theology, and with a bunch of his implicit politics... and yet he keeps coming to conclusions about human experience and what a good life should look like that are unnervingly close to my own in some respects. So it's a constant swing between, "yes, exactly, that was beautifully put!" and "but HOW can a reasonably intelligent and well-meaning person be so WRONG?!?!" Some other day I should probably quote one of the passages I thought was most apt, and also take a stab at analyzing one point where I think he went most terribly awry.

(Also science has marched on and Lewis's chapter on animal pain and consciousness is consequently even more awful and wrong-headed than when he wrote it, though I think I would have considered it awful and wrong-headed even decades ago because he's arguing from a foundation of theological assumptions which I utterly fail to share. But that is something where I could point to actual science to prove that he is talking through his hat, whereas the other point is more of a philosophical/ethical thing, and thus less subject to hard proof... though one could probably cite various studies on criminal justice and prison reform which I believe tend more toward my side of the argument than toward his. Hmm. *makes note to look into that* But anyway, I'd want to do more research and marshal my arguments in logical order before venturing into that particular alligator swamp.)

And that is what I have been up to for the past three days. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Wow, I kind of forgot to make one of these posts for a while, didn't I? I knocked my sleep schedule out of whack midway through and got stuck in a rut where I am a little too brain-fried to be productive and instead spend hours surfing the internet and not getting to bed early enough to fix the sleep debt problem. But I think I may finally have started wrenching myself back into a more useful schedule as of last night. *crosses fingers*

Anyway, stuff!

1. Took my weekly vegetable photos and posted them. Also applied some MiracleGro.

2. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

3. Finished reading Marie Brennan's Within the Sanctuary of Wings (which I enjoyed a lot -- I really do think the Memoirs of Lady Trent series gets better as it goes on, and I'm sad to see it finished) and returned it to the library.

more items under the cut )

15. Finally pinned down a meeting time with the DRE to talk about Youth Group activities this summer and in the 2017-18 year. Unfortunately, because we kept getting distracted and I will be gone for a while, the meeting isn't until July 2, but hey, at least we now have a time and date.

16. Took my trash bin to the curb for pickup.

17. Took recycling bins to the curb for pickup.

And that is that.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Cooked the second of my three Blue Apron meals. Details in this post. Took all resulting compost (and compost from previous days) to the communal bin.

2. Boiled two eggs.

3. Deposited a check.

4. Paid my dental bill from my May 15th appointment, which had finally come in the mail.

5. Posted another tiny installment in my Narnia/HP crossover: The Test of Gold, in which Edmund and Ginny take an unusual boat trip.

6. Baked brownies.

7. Walked to Stewart Park on Sunday morning for my church's annual picnic, which is preceded by a brief service composed of a few songs, a volunteer appreciation segment, and a youth bridging ceremony (ie, welcoming middle-schoolers into high school, and graduating seniors into adult life). The day was sunny and bright with a mild breeze, the songs were fun, the bridging speeches were moving, and the food was delicious. :)

I get to Stewart Park via the Renwick Wildwood Bird Sanctuary (which is both more direct and VASTLY more pleasant than the other potential routes), and this year the cottonwoods are all shedding their seeds so thickly that parts of the path looked like they were covered in snow or swathed in a million spiderwebs.

Also three mosquitoes attempted to bite me, but I squished them all and only one got far enough into the biting process to leave an itchy welt.

8. TOOK A NAP.

9. Changed linens.

10. Outlined a fic I may or may not ever get around to writing, but the idea wouldn't stop bugging me until I fed it a little structure, so.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Started making paper fruit for a new counter display at the rental office -- by which I mean I chose line art from online, copypasted it into Word documents (and resized and tweaked until I had about six iterations per page), and printed it out on colored paper. Miss Cactus already started cutting some of them out and adding detail with thin-point Sharpie pens. I am not sure whether I will arrive on Tuesday to a finished display, or whether I will get to do some cutting and coloring myself during any slow periods.

2. Acquired a new houseplant. See, a tenant couldn't bring the plant with them to their new apartment, but felt bad throwing a living thing away, so they brought it to the office and asked if we wanted it. I said yes. I then transplanted it from the dinky plastic store pot into the slightly larger ceramic pot the tenant had been using purely as decoration because apparently transplanting is hard. *sigh* Anyway, hopefully I will manage not to kill it.

3. Put three nails into one side of my oldest bookcase, to hold parts of my paperclip collection. (Context: I string paperclips in chains of ten onto keyrings, 25 chains per ring, and then hang them up for display. All the paperclips must be 'found' items -- I can't purposely buy them -- which is why it has taken me literally twenty years to collect a thousand paperclips. Well. A thousand and three, as of Saturday.)

more items under the cut )

18. Called Vicky and caught up for an hour or so. :)

19. Chopped onions, summer squash, and a large bell pepper and made a batch of veggie sidedish. Tomorrow I intend to bake some chicken.

All in all, I think it was a fairly productive weekend.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Baked brownies for church coffee hour. Took them in to church.

2. Coffee hour clean-up. Over the past few years, I seem to have become the 'old hand' at this particular task -- probably because every time my hospitality team is up, I volunteer for it all four Sundays -- and I end up sort of haphazardly training a bunch of more sporadic volunteers how to run the sterilizer and where to roll up the vinyl tablecloths and stuff. I like feeling useful. :)

3. Washed two-thirds of my curtains, as well as my comforter and winter coat. I still have one load of curtains left, which I will hopefully get done tomorrow along with my regular biweekly laundry.

more items under the cut )

13. Attended my church's annual meeting, where we:

A) voted on the 2017-18 budget

B) elected people to the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee

C) voted on various proposed changes to our bylaws (which are, frankly, screwy -- they were written less as general guidelines and more as ultra-nitpicky sets of rules that weren't even internally consistent -- and which we have been rationalizing in bits and pieces for several years now)

D) voted on whether to adopt a covenant

E) voted on whether to issue a congregational statement of support for a New York state single-payer health care system proposal currently up for consideration in the state senate.

The budget passed (an attempted amendment to it did not), the bylaw changes passed (one attempted amendment was rejected as something that needs more study in the fall; another passed because it caught an error that had been overlooked in the editing process), the covenant was adopted (albeit with reservations on various parts), and despite a completely valid technical objection (namely, that we don't HAVE a procedure for issuing congregational statements about political issues and therefore shouldn't issue any such statements until we create one) the health care statement also passed.

I then stuck around to help clean up (there was a dinner attached to the meeting, you see) since nobody seemed to have organized an official clean-up crew and, well, that's something I know how to do! So I did it. *wry*

more items under the cut )

21. Snipped Hovera (a squash seedling) at its base so that Azer (its container-mate) could live and flourish.

...

I have also been kind of busy at work, since this is the time of year when students are leaving town (and thus vacating their apartments), and that generates a bunch of paperwork and ancillary organizational stuff -- particularly since it's also the due date for a whole bunch of quarterly rent payments for 2017-18 leases. We are also switching to a new key-logging system, which creates a minor extra layer of confusion when you have to figure out whether a summer subtenant should pick up their keys under the 2016-17 system (manual) or the 2017-18 system (digital).
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Baked brownies for church.

2. Boiled eight eggs.

3. Facilitated youth group, which basically meant running plans past another member who was (as with last week) the only person who turned up. I then caught up with the DRE to ask if she'd received my email, and we have tentatively agreed to meet in person either this week or next week to discuss the 2017-18 year.

more items under the cut )

14. Finished and posted a [community profile] genprompt_bingo ficlet, in response to a request on my latest mini-ficlet prompt meme. \o/

15. Emailed my WIP Big Bang artist to ask if they want character descriptions. (My story is all about OCs. Descriptions are kind of relevant.)

Incidentally! WIP Big Bang art claims are open! If you are an artist or know an artist who might be interested, please go take a look. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Put away the remaining laundry.

2. Backed up my hard drive.

3. Made an appointment to give blood this coming Thursday.

more items under the cut )

17. Submitted my WIP Big Bang snippets.

18. Checked 2D movie times for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which I would like to see tomorrow. (I'd wanted to see it Thursday or Friday, but see above in re: the universe squashing me flat.) I think 1:15 or 3:10pm sound most promising.

19. And this is true for all the days in question: I plonked at a few bits of fiction to no particular effect. *sigh* I will keep trying tomorrow.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Attended church, which was a special service with sermon and music by Samite Mulondo, the founder of Musicians for World Harmony.

2. Coffee hour cleanup.

3. Made my weekly Facebook update post.

4. Changed linens. Given the weather, I decided NOT to do the winter-to-summer swap. (I want spring back!)

more items under the cut )

18. I seem to have forgotten to mention this in my last few 'stuff done' posts, perhaps because it hasn't been on any of my to-do lists? Well, anyway, I have been reading (in bits and pieces, between other things) the Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I ended up starting with book two, The Tropic of Serpents, because I had to order book one via interlibrary loan and I am impatient. I then moved right on to book three, The Voyage of the Basilisk, which I just finished tonight.

They are fun books! I wouldn't call them deep literature, but they are a pleasure to read -- both in terms of the characters and plots, in terms of the worldbuilding (which is genuine world-building rather than region-building, and thought-out to a degree more writers should aspire to), and in terms of the actual writing, which manages to be smoothly invisible in service of the story despite having a distinctive first-person narrative voice. That is a neat trick, and I wish I could pinpoint how Brennan pulls it off.

Anyway, I have jumped back to start book one, A Natural History of Dragons, and I expect I'll make some reasonable progress on that during slow periods at work tomorrow. :)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Called Cat Saturday night to catch up, since I was too buried in work to arrange a call over the past few months.

2. Boiled a dozen eggs.

3. Went to church Sunday morning to hear Rev. Weis preach. Then attended the special congregational meeting, in which we voted (98.6%!!!) to call her as our new settled minister. She accepted! \o/

more items under the cut )

20. Cleaned AC and otherwise prepped for installation on Friday.

21. Organized another coffee table box (this one containing hundreds of photographs and some photo albums) into a nice basket. I still really need to get the rest of my Germany trip photos from the 90s into the albums and label all of them, and then do something to organize all the others -- because they are completely disorganized. But that is a project for another day. (Uh. Days, probably. Whatever.)

22. Called parents to organize a few more details of their visit Friday and Saturday, which is a thing that is happening. :)

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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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