Saturday, July 26, 2014

Thoughts on guilt

After posting, I realized this is post number 1200.  Not bad.  Some of these are brilliant, some inane. The brilliant ones I probably didn't write.

I had a flash this morning that a lot of our guilt is self-inflicted and a result of self-absorption.  I am experiencing caregiver guilt, and although I can tell myself it is irrational, that doesn't solve a problem.  We can tell ourselves truths but it takes our emotions (and the bodily responses that go along with emotions) a long time to catch up with the truths.  Guilt of this type comes from a belief that we can of ourselves relieve suffering and stop or slow down the dying process, which is not in our hands.  It reminds us how limited we are, which is a good thing to be reminded of.  In Beth Moore's study in James she writes, "we are supposed to need God."  There is a lot to think about in those six words.  Part of my problem, as with most of us, is innate belief I can handle it and that I am supposed to handle it.  I cannot and am not, on either score.

Being in the middle of a doctoral dissertation doesn't help much.

Reading, before going to bed at night, Anna Karenina.  What a book.  Like most 19th century novels, it goes off on unexplainable tangents about politics or social conditions, which of course slows down the story and no novelist would do today.  And although the movies always focus on the beautiful, tormented Anna, half of the book is about Kitty and Levin.  Levin gets almost as much page time as Anna.  I think Tolstoy is Levin, so self-doubting, so unsure, so mercurial in a caring way.  There are some amazing passages about life tucked into this really long story.  Perhaps I will go through and write them all down eventually.  Now, in terms of Anna, I haven't come to a conclusion.  "The heart loves who it loves" is the world's excuse (one from Woody Allen, a little pervert).  Anna would say the same.  I think Tolstoy eventually wants to say that the real, higher form of love does not act like Anna's does, which is pretty self-serving and obsessed.  But she is a woman at a time when women had fewer options.  She felt unloved; Vronsky makes her feel loved.  That is all that matters, right?  Lots to think about here, which is why it's a classic.  Unlike 50 Shades of Gray.

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