Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Go With the Seasons of Life

'To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.'
--George Santayana. As we noted earlier
here, the philosopher is perhaps best known for his maxim "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it," which has itself been repeated ad nauseum. As this bio notes, "he thought of philosophy as literature," and of course in the hands of such a supple and original thinker as he, it indeed is.


At 1:24 PM, Blogger Kim said...

I will speak to this in a "literal/figurative" sense. I used to live in Florida. While not spring, it was nonstop sunner.

One of the things I discovered about myself while living there was how much I missed the seasonal changes. My brother experience the same phenomenon when he moved back to Ohio. He said the first thing he did was hop out of his vehicle and roll in the grass.

There is something inspirational about perpetual change. Something that reaches into the very soul and rouses a need to lead, follow, or get out of the way. I prefer to follow along with the rhythms of the changing seasons.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

As you could no doubt guess by my having posted this, I'd certainly agree, Kim. And I'm also glad that our first commenter has picked up on the fact that this quote has alternate meanings. It also applies to getting older, and enjoying the many benefits that come with that, rather than forever pining for youth, which of course has its attractions, but also way more drawbacks than we often remember.

At 5:28 AM, Blogger Elisabeth said...

I'm grateful to now know the source of George Santayana's quote about the importance of learning from history. I've heard it often but never knew from where.

As for the changing seasons, I agree, we need them. It's one of the awful legacies of climate change I fear, at least here in Melbourne, Australia where our seasons seem never so extreme these days except for during the weird freak episodes that also seem to be on the rise.

And how too does the quote link with the eternal quest for youth and the notion that prevails that we are all ten years younger than we would have been fifty years ago: forty is the new fifty, fifty the new sixty etc.

At 6:11 AM, Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

What I remember is Hegel's Paradox which says, "Man learns from history that man learns nothing from history."

At 6:40 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Elisabeth, funny that you mention 10 years younger, because I think I've read that the average middle-aged person feel about a decade younger than their age. Funny how that works. And Jim, that Hegel saying is new to me, but of course a week of reading the newspapers would certainly seem to bear him out, wouldn't it? Thanks for stopping by within minutes of each other, dearest intercontinental pen pals.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Kim said...

I suppose the only query left is "how exactly" does a specific age feel? Do we have parameters of how we should perceive ourselves per decade?

I personally, feel "43". I have no other basis for determining how 43 should feel than how I feel, which is good. I'm not interested in attaching labels to how I should feel at a specific age. This age feels grand. I'm really hoping that 44 does, too.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Good for you, Kim. And you're right that that whole how old do you feel territory gets awfully hazy.


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