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Re: [existlist] making a difference?

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  • Exist List Moderator
    ... I dislike the whole Make a Difference sloganeering approach to life. It s right up there with WWJD and Thousand Points of Light as sources for
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 4, 2008
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      On Aug 04, 2008, at 11:06, Jewel wrote:

      > 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?


      I dislike the whole "Make a Difference" sloganeering approach to life.
      It's right up there with "WWJD" and "Thousand Points of Light" as
      sources for meaning.

      I've been told I must enjoy what I do, in terms of "making a
      difference" in the lives of students, parents, and educators. I
      suppose there's some merit to what I do, but in all seriousness I
      study what interests me and simply hope it interests a few other
      people. I don't try to make people love what I study and I don't
      honestly believe it matters in a universal sense -- it matters to me,
      and me alone.

      Sure, it's interesting to ponder my external influence on lives. But,
      it is not my primary drive. Much like House or Sherlock Holmes, it is
      the puzzle I love. If others benefit from my curious nature, so be it.

      - C. S. Wyatt
      I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
      that I shall be.
      http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
      http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
    • louise
      ... 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
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 10, 2008
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        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, bartleyoreg@... wrote:
        >
        > 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 ?

        Michael,
        Some days have passed since you first sent this post, which has such
        a quiet honesty amid the intellectual ferment and careful
        deliberations which often prevail at the list, and set a not entirely
        gentle tone, that I should like to thank you for the expressiveness.
        This morning I was reading in Plato's dialogues, and came across a
        passage in the "Theaetetus", explaining to me what seemed like the
        same insights offered by Nietzsche, but in a more quietly
        contemplative mode, that I could more readily 'hear', concerning how
        some ways of thinking are better, not more true. Absurdity I suspect
        emerges from the condition of our bodies, our health in the broadest
        sense, which the mind then interprets in a creative or abstract
        fashion, encouraging or surrendering the will, to go on with courage,
        or to succumb, in various ways. I think the acts of small kindness
        you describe are absolutely meaningful, because subjective, and
        unforced.
        Louise
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