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It Is Enough

Toni Morrison, the Nobel Laureate, wrote, “At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint it or even remember it.  It is enough.”

My gut says Ms. Morrison is right, especially because she is writing particularly about beauty. And beauty is a good thing.  But is it ever okay to forget life’s suffering?

I confess that there is a greed in me that is desperate to remember everything, beautiful or not. After all, I believe that everything in life can serve as either an example or a caution and therefore it is all useful, if not now, then soon.

If we forget, how then can we learn?  This is especially true about life’s terrible moments, for experience is often the most effective teacher.

In a quandary, I keep thinking about Ms. Morrison words, and I come to understand something essential:  Moments lived and then forgotten by our consciousness are never lost to us forever. They become a part of who we are, like the air and water that we consume in some way become a part of who we are and can never be separated from us again.

Although a moment can neither permanently empower nor permanently defeat us,  as parts of our essence, all moments become part of our history and building blocks for our future. All moments are useful.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about time is that it accommodates all moments, whether any one of us humans remember them or not.

Understand Yourself Better….and Other People Too!

Do you want to enjoy learning about human nature? Do you like it when the things you learn prove useful in your day-to-day life?

Would it benefit you to:

1) Increase your sense of personal wellbeing?

2) Be a better friend, family member, and citizen?

Are you willing to understand how you can really improve your circumstances instead of wasting time sifting through ineffective advice from questionable sources?

If the answer is yes, then head to Prof. Tamar Gendler’s online Open Yale Course: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-181). It’s free and requires no registration. All video lectures are a click away on youtube or iTunes, and all course materials (including transcripts of the lectures) are easily accessible.

The twenty-six, 45 minute lectures examine human nature through a tantalizing blend of traditional Western philosophy and modern empirical psychology.

The Yale website appropriately states that “[the course is structured around three intertwined sets of topic: Happiness and Flourishing; Morality and Justice; and Political Legitimacy and Social Structures.” But this makes it sound dryly academic, and it is not.

This course’s content is clear and engaging; and Dr, Gendler’s delivery is as refreshing as it is delightful.  The suggested texts can be a bit onerous for those not accustomed to academic reading, but please know that it is not essential to read them to understand the lectures.

But don’t take my word for it!  See for yourself!  http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-181/lecture-1