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44898Re: [existlist] making a difference?

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  • bartleyoreg@aol.com
    Aug 4, 2008
      the first thing I think of when reading these posts, what does make a difference mean?? I would like to get a little personal when talking about this.? I am a hospice volunteer, the other day when working at a hospice residential home, the mother of a patient came up to me, with tears in her eyes to thank me for being there.? I had done nothing at all with the young man that is dying. Yet this woman was it seems to me so graceful that strangers were doing what they could to help ease the suffering of her son and to listen to her pain that she had to thank me.? This morning a co-worker is in between apartments, she has to stay with her daughter until the new place is ready for her.? She is very unhappy about this for a number of reasons.? I offer her my place for a week, since I will be out of town.? Again she was so graceful.? Again I did nothing.? So are acts of small kindness differences in the world, are they absurd and meaningless?? There are times that existentialism seems to argue that small acts of kindness are absurd if we think there meaningful.?? But then I am only a middle brow in thinking.
      Michael ?


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jewel <s1syfuss_stone@...>
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Mon, 4 Aug 2008 9:06 am
      Subject: [existlist] making a difference?






      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Knott" <knott12@...> wrote:

      Why is it interesting to "make a difference"? I wonder if making one
      make you just more-or-less leave an imprint like a dirty, greasy
      fingerprint on a glass, than something admirable...like something I
      cannot think of or define.

      You see, I think there is, as you say in this missive something and
      mostly everything we cannot understand, and that really the pursuit of
      understanding it, is, currently, absurd. I am not saying one should
      stop, but that certainly one should admit to making a minimalist notch
      in the notion of the idea that they have furthered the pursuit than
      that they have made a monumental notch -- be they Albert Einstein or
      Alfred E. Newman...and some the more realistic claim that they've made
      no notch at all...or can't really define what the notch looks like.

      I am not sure beauty is bound to "making a difference" any more than
      beauty is bound to something being universally 'beautiful'. I put less
      and less hope in what communally seems to be a vision for what should
      be, than a vision for what simply seems right, good, pleasing, faint,
      placid, simple, benign, and 'interesting'.
      **********

      Your perspective is very interesting and traditionally relevant to
      absurd/existentialism/nihilism discussion. And certainly I don't want
      to be told I should make a difference. How do we gauge it? Duration?
      What it encourages or defeats? Are we actually helping with our ideas
      and actions? Can we act or not act with/out impunity? What are clean
      hands?

      In my own way of thinking, I find that to "know" what constitutes
      "difference" is in several ways analogous to the no-hair theorem of
      physicist John Wheeler. We can't determine which specific type of star
      became the black hole. It seems to be there but it looks like nothing.

      Jewel






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