Workout Log 17 Aug 2012: the power of negative thinking

The remnants of a Typhoon made the water at Hung Shue Y beach too rough to safely swim in my condition, for the breakers were veiled with spray, and as Shakespeare’s good counselor Gonzalo is told by Boatswain i’ th’old play (The Tempest), what cares these roarers for the name of king? So today’s workout was walking with weights and dancing on the strand to Sweelinck and Morricone’s music for The Mission.

Barbara Ehrenreich, a genuine American socialist and a great lady, doesn’t like “positive thinking” and she’s got a point. Confronting the worst case scenario, as did her friend with cancer, allows us to take joy in remission and small pleasures of life: friends, good food, and, for guys like me, books and ideas. They say that Spinoza (having clarified in his mind what we are as knowers) was if not jocund quite cheerful on the last day of his life. Kant also suffered the pangs of advancing age but did not let it prevent him from enjoying a stein and his pipe with friends.

For as Frederick the Great, a most philosophical Monarch, was reputed to have said on the field at Hohenfriedberger, “Vorwart! Do you vant to liff vorever”.

[Ja mein Königen I would have answered a year ago when “I was in heill and in gladnes”. But now? The meaning of life is the horizon of death as in late Derrida. Looking at a nice set of books for girls from Penguin in Mei Foo including Anne of Green Gables which I am told is a major Girl Book for the more grave and Intelligent sort of Girl, and thinking of how pleasant it shall be, Ins’Allah, to buy books for these new female grandchildren of which I hear far away even as I bought books for my kids in the 1980s.]

My own problems have enormously assisted my “executive function” the part of “me” that sets goals and tries to attain them as opposed to the lower part which goes with the flow. It is as if I am a state at war as is Sarastro’s state in The Magic Flute as interpreted by Branagh, and war is the health of the state.

On the way to work in the City of Sadness.


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