East of Eden
Lent- Day 30: For whom the bell tolls.
So I am totally being lazy in the Soren Kierkegaard class I'm taking. Assigned to read Plato's "Euthyphro", I haven't been able to read more than a few pages before having my brain scream "Nope" and start daydreaming of how cute K would look in a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.
After this occured about five times, I took a break to read an article about Margaret Mead and James Baldwin's 1971 discussion of race, guilt and forgiveness at Brainpickings.
Also, I am well-aware of the extreme nerdiness going on in just the first three sentences of this post, so for those who got brain fogged when I discussed aporia last week, feel free to skip this. I'm sure some celeb will tweet a fool before Lent ends and I'll blog about that.
The Brainpickings piece includes a number of excerpts from that discussion, which was later transcribed into a book called "A Rap on Race". At one point, while talking about guilt versus responsibility, Baldwin says, "For whom the bell tolls... It means everybody’s suffering is mine."
"For whom the bell tolls", besides being the title of one of Ernest Hemingway's greatest novels, is a line from a John Donne poem. If you're not up on your seventeenth century literature, let me help you out:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
There's a really interesting backstory to this work that you can read about here if you're so interested.
So we're all connected, not tenny little islands afloat. When one person dies, there are innumerable ripples reaching out in this big sea of life.
And when one of us flourishes, we feel that, too.
My friend April texted me with the awesome news that her hubby Gary accepted a prestigious position overseas. They're excited with all the possibilities that living abroad will bring.
I immediately texted the news to K. He mentioned to me at least three times just how incredible it was to him. Keep in mind, April is my friend (since Victory Christian Academy, ha), and he has never met either of them. Yet, he texted:
"I don't really know him but I'm proud. Pushes me to lace up my boots and get back to work. Inspiration."
Ripples and ringing bells, felt and heard by all.