Summing up

Last time I wrote, I was thinking about how in ancient times, the "true" message of a story was hidden from the masses in a wrapping of tales and figures of speech. I also tried to interpret the meaning of the macaroon. But meaning is elusive, and not all stories have meaning, or are meant to.
And while some may scoff at the story with no meaning, I think it holds its place, because without the wonder of whimsy, I think that people too quickly start to take themselves too seriously.
This week, I met a friend's childhood friend who was the most serious pilot I have ever come across. He has no time for the frivolous, because he spends his free time riding horses, he explained as he impatiently tapped his phone. This character was a real life stoic - as much as Seneca was (Seneca would complain at his plight and curried favour while amassing a fortune, not very stoic of him); he was stoic in appearance. The pilot differed only in his dismissal of philosophy in favour of religion. Religion is blamed for so much of the extremism in this world, but I would just like to say such extremism was just as prevalent in the ancient world, with all its paganism, idolatry and ...philosophy, e.g. stoicism. Extremism, in my opinion, looks the same no matter what people call it.
But extremists are usually formalists, which means that they will go out of their way to care for the external forms of their ideas. Essence, by contrast, is unconcerned with presentation, it is what it is.
So, if one is trying to live the best they can, one ought to be wary of what seems as opposed to what is.
Let us take the term humanitarian war as an example. Can a war be humanitarian? In this issue of n+1, one of the writers asks, "In general, you reject humanitarian war—but have you ever met one you didn’t initially like?" It is fascinating that the law that led to such wars emerged in the 19th century, not a century after the French Revolution did away with the code of honour that the knights of yesteryear observed. This code was also prevalent in China, until the Qing Dynasty. It would appear that we are more humanitarian today, thanks to international humanitarian law - but is this the case?
The task of learning is the art of asking questions: requiring us to seek meaning in the stories we are told; the meaning in the stories of our lives. I believe that it is possible to find meaning, and disagree with the Heraclitian and postmodern view that meaning drowns in a sea of infinite subjectivities.
I don't think that there is one way to come to meaning, but it seems that a good dose of humility and wish to find truth seems to help. It also seems that having a poetic soul is another aid.
But we are not all looking for the same meaning. If we look around, we can see people becoming bitter from economic woes, or those who blame others for their lack of success, or expect to be given more from life. I think that there are tough times, but prefer to focus on the silver lining.
What is your story, and what meaning do you seek? To sum up, do you still hope for the very best?

Elements: frames, ric rac, cabochons, macaroons, star paper: pugly pixel;
buttons: minitoko

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