Packed up my pop up shop today and must say I did enjoy sitting in the little beach hut. Don’t think I’ll be doing it next Christmas, maybe get a hut at a Christmas market such as in Bath if my fledgling business is still going.
Anyway, Happy New Year to you who can be bothered to read my meandering missives and it’s been a while since I’ve written. All seems well on the health front although I’ve a check up in a few weeks and I can feel the anxiety rising. To keep myself distracted I’ve been reading some of my new books, especially one by one of my new heroes Mark Greif entitled ‘Against Everything’, a collection of his pretty nifty essays. He’s given me two of my new year resolutions: to develop aesthetically and in perfectionism, I couldn’t begin to paraphrase his thoughts, well maybe I could but I can’t be bothered, so instead will give you a few paragraphs:
“I hope it is obvious why these solutions are needed now––even more than when they first appeared but maybe it needs to be said. Either you know aestheticism and perfectionism as philosophy today, or you’ll get them, disfigured, in weaker attempts at the solutions to the pressures of experience. The dawn of the 21st century illuminates a total aesthetic environment in the rich nations of the world, where you choose your paint colors, and drawer pulls, and extreme makeovers, and facial surgery, in the debased aestheticism called consumerism, to make yourself by buying, when you could make yourself by seeing. The radical perception of aestheticism doesn’t need always-new, store-bought beauties, and doesn’t feel them cloy and fade as soon as they are owned. In the debased perfectionism called self-help, each struggler against the limits of life is already considered wounded by experience, deficient and lost. He is taught to try through acknowledgement of common weakness to reach a base-line level of the “normal,” rather than learning perfectionism’s appreciation for peculiarity and refusal. He is kept ignorant of perfectionism’s hope for a next, unique, or higher self for everyone.
I mistrust any authority that is happy with this world as it is. I understand delight, and being moved by the things of this world. I understand feeling strong in oneself because of one’s capabilities. I know what mania is, the lust for powers not of the ordinary run. I sympathize with gratitude for the presence of other people, and for plenty and splendor. But I cannot understand the failure to be disappointed with our experiences of our collective world, in their difference from our imaginations and desires, which are so strong. I cannot understand the failure to wish that this world was fundamentally more than it is.
Experience tries to evade the disappointment of this world by adding peaks to it. Life becomes a race against time and a contest you try to win. Aestheticism and perfectionism make a modern attempt to transcend this world by a more intense attention to it––every day and in every situation. The concept of modern transcendence admits the hope that this world could be more than this world, though it acknowledges this is the only world there is.” (Mark Greif) from his essay ‘The Concept of Experience’ https://nplusonemag.com/issue-2/essays/the-concept-of-experience/
So, now I’m trying to train myself to look at the world with a more radically aesthetic eye and check things and others’ perfectionism out.
As a positive start to the new year I suggest we give the farage gargoyle what he wants and give him the exclusive ambassadorship of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, I know it would be hard on the 30 or so current inhabitants but they are transient scientists and the like and it would be very entertaining listening in to their responses to the gargoyle banging on about immigrant penguins.
I know it’s an idea that’s been around a while but I’m also going to try and perform at least one act of random kindness each day, my first one today was the suggestion in the last paragraph. Yesterday one of my random acts occurred as I approached the checkout lines in our local Co-operative, I followed a young man as he prepared to open another checkout thinking I’d get ahead of the other queues, I stopped and checked myself before the checkout and looked over at a woman at the end of the longest queue and invited her to go ahead of me. She seemed happy if a little nonplussed.
I also took an elderly woman to the local hospital yesterday. Her name is Nan and she turned a 100 last year. Sadly she is even more frail than last I transported her but we have another car now which is higher than our other car. It was an arduous affair getting Nan into the old car but much easier yesterday. Conversation was limited going to the hospital as she couldn’t hear a thing but the audiologist cleared a couple of tubes and conversation flowed on the return journey. Gave her a pot of my unction for a vicious looking bruise on her hand. When we got into the lift in her sheltered accommodation she said “press button one with an air of purpose”, I smiled, did so and thought that from now on I’ll adopt a more purposeful air in my life.
So I now have the longest list of New Year’s resolutions I’ve ever had and have broken a previous one of not making resolutions. Happy New Year.
Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.